Gov. Parris N. Glendening threw open the doors of the governor's residence yesterday. More than a thousand people poured through.
On his third day as the state's 59th governor, Governor Glendening, his wife, Frances Anne, and Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend spent more than three hours greeting their 1,205 visitors, many of them grinning children, who lined up in the sunshine outside Government House in Annapolis.
"To me, it's more than just rhetoric," Mr. Glendening said of his inaugural theme of including all citizens in government. "We're reaching out to people all over the state."
He said yesterday's reception was part of his attempt to re-establish tradition and emphasize history. His inaugural ball Wednesday in Upper Marlboro was the state's first in 12 years.
"We held the first inaugural parade in 30 years," the governor said. "There's a tradition of open houses at the governor's residence. We want to continue those traditions. . . . It gives people the opportunity to feel good about the state, and to be part of the state."
An ebullient Mrs. Glendening declared after 3 hours, 15 minutes of hand shaking: "It was absolutely delightful. People were just so pleased to be able to see this beautiful house. After all, it is their house."
Mr. Glendening restored its traditional name, Government House, which former Gov. William Donald Schaefer had renamed the Governor's Mansion.
The Glendenings plan to remain at their home in University Park at least until their 15-year-son, Raymond, graduates from high school.
People began lining up outside the 38-room, brick mansion more than an hour before the doors opened at 1 p.m. From 1 p.m. until 4:15 p.m., they stepped into the foyer where first Governor Glendening, then Mrs. Glendening and finally Mrs. Townsend greeted them warmly.
The Maust family drove from Grantsville in Garrett County to meet the Glendenings and spend the weekend in Annapolis. Christine and Duane Maust brought their three sons: Justin, 7 months; Andrew, 9, and Matthew, 11.
Garrett County -- and 20 of the state's 23 other subdivisions -- didn't cast a majority of their votes for the Democratic candidate. But that did not deter the Mausts, who voted for Republican Ellen R. Sauerbrey, from wanting to shake the governor's hand.
"Our kids are at the age where something like this really makes an impression on them," said Mr. Maust, 37, a supervisor for a coal company. Matthew Maust said: "I thought the governor had nice, soft, warm hands."
Heidi and Bruce Katz of Annapolis brought their 7-year-old daughter, Rachel, who had written a letter to then-candidate Glendening casting her "kid's vote" for him.
Mr. Glendening, the part-time college professor as well as Prince George's County executive, wrote back saying, among other things, that Rachel had "fine cursive writing."
They met visitors as enthusiastically at 4 p.m. as they did at 1 p.m. And then left for Cumberland in Allegany County, where Mrs. Glendening grew up, for the Snow Ball, a fund-raiser for a local hospital.
After standing all afternoon, would they have the energy for dining and dancing?
"Oh yeah, absolutely," Mrs. Glendening said. "We're just getting started."