Those who know Maryland's official hostess Hilda Mae Snoops say that she has never liked surprises. And that's why they were a little edgy Tuesday evening when several hundred of her friends gathered outside the mansion.
Ms. Snoops was in the receiving line at the door of the mansion with Dr. Jim D'Orta, who agreed to be the decoy honoree. When her children, Dorothy, Craig and Larry, walked in carrying signs that said, "This is Your Special Night, Hilda Mae," she finally realized that it was her party.
The whole thing was Governor Schaefer's idea and he enlisted the help of Dr. D'Orta, Lou Grasmick and Sandra Rose. Guests traveled from all over the state in all modes of transportation -- Marty and Thalia Resnick, Martin's West, arrived in a new white stretch limo, while Jim McKay and his wife, Margaret McManus, arrived in a dark blue Lincoln town car.
Other mansion regulars in attendance were Nancy Grasmick, state superintendent of schools; Chestertown Mayor Elmer Horsey and his wife, Joan; Shirley and Brice Phillips, Phillips' restaurant owners; Blase and Dawn Cooke, Harkins Builders; race track czar Joe De Francis; Bill Stair and his daughter, Nancy; Jean and Charles Thomas, McNamara Steel; Lynda O'Dea, O'Dea & Becker public relations; Bill Neal, well-known physical therapist; Matt DeVito, Rouse Co. CEO; state secretary of personnel Hilda Ford; Sen. Nancy Murphy; and Barry Scher, Giant Food.
And although it wasn't her birthday, she loved some of the presents. Especially when Catherine Crowley, director of the Maryland Hospital Association, told the honoree, who is a former nurse, that she had been installed in the all-time nurses hall of fame. Other surprises included the governor making her an admiral of the Chesapeake and giving her red roses and a magnificent one-of-a-kind Waterford vase.
Around town: Our prayers are with Michael Mutscheller and his parents, Jim (former Baltimore Colts star) and Pert. At press time, Michael was still at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, but is expected to recover from a serious automobile accident . . . Paul Tsongas, commenting after being introduced by Ted Venetoulis at a fund-raiser last week, "It's so strange to go from being mental, mental, mental while campaigning to being a mental nothing. I guess that definitely qualifies me to be president." And "The most fun I had during the campaign was trying to make the Secret Service men smile." . . .
For the first time in the history of the Beth El Congregation, two brothers David and Charles Yumkas, who both served as president of the synagogue, were presented with the Beth El Distinguished Service Award . . . There's still time to get a ticket for the ninth annual Grant-A-Wish Foundation Benefit at Martin's West on Thursday. Grant-A-Wish helps to make the wishes of terminally ill children come true. Call Brian Morrison at (410) 242-1549 for tickets, which are $75 each . . .
Baltimore-based broadcast personality Donna Hamilton was in the midst of the big guys at the recent Ohio State Awards dinner. Her 1991 documentary on the struggle for peace in Israel and the Middle East, "The Peacemakers," won an award, along with Ken Burns' documentary, "The Civil War," and ABC's Prime Time and CBS News' 48 Hours.
For some time, Baltimore jazz aficionados have been frustrated by the lack of legitimate jazz music in Baltimore. Spurred by this frustration, Gloria Katzenberg, Parvin Sharpless and Stanley Panitz formed the Chamber Jazz Society with one goal in mind -- to bring a series of first-rate jazz concerts to Baltimore. On May 6, Richard Sudhalter and his Vintage Jazz Ensemble will perform at Park School at 8:15 p.m.
Sudhalter is a top jazz trumpet player, cornetist and band leader. According to Sharpless, who is also the headmaster of Park School, the evening will focus on the music of jazz greats Jelly Roll Morton, Bix Beiderbecke, Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Louie Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie. Tickets are $18. Call (410) 825-2351 for reservations.