Party Hopper

July 27, 1992|By JoAnna Daemmrich | JoAnna Daemmrich,Staff Writer

A story in yesterday's editions of The Sun incorrectly identified the catering hall where Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski had a fund-raiser Sunday. The fund-raiser was at Michael's Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie.

+ The Sun regrets the errors.

Before she was a social worker, before she was a feminist, before she was a national political leader, Barbara A. Mikulski was one of Buddy Deane's sock-hop girls.

As a teen-ager growing up in Highlandtown, she loved to drown her hair in hair spray and head to the nearest high school gym to show off the moves she learned on Baltimore's version of "American Bandstand." Yesterday, the 56-year-old U.S. senator laced up her saddle shoes and again pulled out all the stops.


"I've never been a wallflower," Ms. Mikulski quipped, strutting up to strangers hovering around the dance floor with her hand outstretched.

With a crowd of 500 supporters cheering her on, the Democrat, one of only two women in the U.S. Senate, showed one politician after another how to bop, boogie, swoop and sway. Men in starched shirts and dark suits blushed and grinned as she jitterbugged with them.

The highlight of the fund-raiser, an old-fashioned sock hop billed as "Be-Bop with Barb," was her dance with Senate Majority Leader George J. Mitchell.

Mr. Mitchell shed his suit jacket, but looked a little stiff as Ms. Mikulski swung about in her usual flamboyant way. "She's good. She's very good," the Maine Democrat said afterward.

While Ms. Mikulski campaigned to the sounds of music at Martin's Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie, her GOP challenger was a no-show at a crab feast in South Baltimore.

On the polished dance floor in Glen Burnie, Ms. Mikulski, 4 feet 11 inches tall, drew some chuckles when she jitterbugged with Maryland Rep. Tom McMillen, the 6-foot-11-inch former University of Maryland basketball star.

Mr. McMillen, the 4th District Democrat, said later that he didn't dance much in high school, unlike Ms. Mikulski, who went to every mixer at the all-girls Institute of Notre Dame.

"No, I wasn't much of a dancer," Mr. McMillen said. "I was a typical jock, you know."

Red and white balloons bobbed above the stage, where The Hubcaps, a popular oldies band, played hits by The Coasters, Bo Diddley, Three Dog Night and others. Ms. Mikulski told the crowd that she was in her element.

"I was one of the original Buddy Deaners," she said. "I wore hair spray even before they made a movie about it. I love to dance."

She giggled about her teen years, dancing at sock hops organized by Buddy Deane, but she grew serious when she encouraged the crowd to elect her to a second term and put presidential candidate Bill Clinton in the White House.

Ms. Mikulski joked that she's courting voters for her second term with a thematic approach. "Yesterday, I was in Frederick and we did burgers and baseball for Barb," she said. "We're going to go bowling for Barb. I might even do billiards for Barb."

But she said she's determined to ignore one fad. "We're not ggoing to go bungee [jumping] for Barb!"

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