The fifth annual charity tennis festival this week was first class, thanks to First National Bank and Pam Shriver. The festival began with a smashing black tie gala at the B&O Railroad Monday evening for tennis lovers, corporate sponsors, representatives from Cystic Fibrosis, Children's Hospital & Center for Reconstructive Surgery, and the Greater Baltimore Tennis Patrons Association.
The B&O Museum is an interesting place to have a party and as we walked among the trains we bumped into Baltimore's priest extraordinaire, Father Joseph Sellinger, president of Loyola College, who was beaming as he talked about the school's basketball team this year.
Other early arrivals were Marty and Howard Head, of Head ski and tennis racket fame; Bill and Ann Snyder, Crown Central Petroleum exec; Andrea Leand, who is launching a tennis comeback this year; Peggy and George Acton, Winner Distributor; State Sen.-elect Janice Piccinini; Tom and Patsy Swindell; Bowen and Martha Weisheit; Hersh and Freda Pachino, Orchard Inn owners; Howard Zeiden; Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Deering; Mr. and Mrs. Lee Boatwright; Larry and Joan Cohen; Clark Martin, and his date, Kathleen Ward, who's a tennis teaching pro at Severn Valley Racquet Club, and Alan and Leslie Rifkin.
Charles Levine did a marvelous job catering the dinner and told me that he's still in business and quite busy, and I should not pay any attention to the rumors that he's going back to work at the Pimlico restaurant.
Shriver was certainly the hostess with the mostess and handled the greetings and introductions with a lot of poise. I couldn't believe my eyes, but Mayor Kurt Schmoke managed to stop by to say how proud he is of what Pam is doing for the children of the area.
Sitting at Shriver's table was an attractive couple, Robert and Gail Chrzan, he's president of Children's Hospital; Al Levy, who taught Shriver at McDonogh, and Pam's escort, Gerry Brewster, who was just elected as one of Baltimore County's new House of Delegates members.
Much to my delight we sat with Jennifer Capriati, who looked adorable in her red taffeta dress and red high heels, size 10 1/2 ; her father, Stefano; Joni and Jim Palmer; Joni's 16-year-old son, B.J. Pearlstone; Bartie and Charles Cole, he's president of First National Bank, and Mike Sullivan, president of Merry-Go-Round Enterprises, who told me that MGRE has 680 stores nationwide.
It was refreshing to watch Jennifer sign autographs and chatter away just like the 14-year-old, 8th grader that she is. She loved it when Shriver gave her and Monica Seles a mall madness game and a set of walkie talkies, in case they got lost at the mall, because these two youngsters love shopping and often get lost.
Jennifer told us that her days consist of hours of tennis, running, and of course, homework. The fax machine is used to transmit assignments and completed work back and forth to her school in Floria.
Stefano Capriati said his 11-year-old son, Steven, is just as talented on the courts as Jennifer, but is not ready to make the commitment it takes to be a pro. You should have seen 16-year-old B.J.'s expression when Jennifer asked him what college he attended.
Shriver came up with a couple of more ways to raise a few bucks for her charities. She and Chris Ely auctioned off rackets from the two young stars, and two great watercolors which were done for the program by local artist Laurie Hatter, who was at the party with her husband, Bob, director of communications for USF&G.
Shriver's grandmother, Marion Ketcham, bought one of the rackets which she'll probably use in one of her weekly matches. Pam bought the Seles watercolor, so look for that to appear at her tennis club, the Orchard.
Mr. and Mrs. Bart Harvey bought Jennifer's watercolor, which attracted some fierce bidding. When young B.J. tried to entice his stepdad, Palmer, to go higher on the Capriati picture, Jim asked him if he would he take out the trash if he bought it. By the time B.J. said sure, the picture was gone.
The grand finale was an appearance by Wayne Cotter, a California comedian who's appeared on the Carson and Letterman shows. He was funny and could have been funnier had he not gotten annoyed by people on the outskirts of the roundhouse area who were talking. In fairness to the rude guests, they couldn't hear a word he was saying.