A Birthday Boy In The Big Chair

April 01, 1994|By JoAnna Daemmrich | JoAnna Daemmrich,Sun Staff Writer

For one brief shining moment yesterday, 10-year-old Leonard Terry got to be mayor of Baltimore.

In the ceremonial room of City Hall, framed by gilded mirrors and heavy red drapes, he settled deep into the mayor's leather armchair and grinned at the television cameras.

It was his birthday wish.

"How are you doing? I got your list," Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke said.

Leonard, a fifth-grader at Sussex Elementary School in Essex and the son of a city employee, listed a meeting with the mayor as his first wish for his 10th birthday on Dec. 23. He also wanted a new computer game, a sports jacket, a bigger bed and a football.

His mother, Lyque Terry, an office assistant at the Bureau of Purchases, crossed her fingers and sent a copy to the mayor.

Leonard had told her that he dreamed of growing up to be mayor of a big city like Baltimore. Mayor Schmoke, Leonard said, is his hero -- a high school football star, Ivy League graduate, Rhodes scholar and the city's most powerful official.

Dressed in a teal silk shirt and colorful tie, Leonard basked in his moment of fame.

"Why did you want to meet the mayor?" Mr. Schmoke asked as cameras clicked and television crews surrounded the little boy.

"Because he helps clean up the city," Leonard replied.

"Did you get all the gifts?" Mr. Schmoke asked.

"No," Leonard said, "Not the football."

"Well, I'll have to give you one of mine," the mayor said and motioned to an aide.

By the time he left, Leonard had collected a bag full of pencils, bookmarks and other goodies bearing Baltimore's logo -- and a football. Mayor Schmoke tossed it to him with a flourish.

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