Well, that’s what it felt like, anyway! Me? To the ball? Wearing a gown and makeup? It was an amazing night. No, we didn’t hobnob with anyone important, but just about everyone I know from the disability community, the community tha gives me strength and empowerment, was there. I guess that does make them all seem important!
We arrived at the National Press Club somewhat fashionably late, after being forewarned that Metro would be overcrowded and parking would be impossible. Neither was true. We found a parking space right away, and the inbound train was not crowded at all. I think it helped that the Inaugural concert had been earlier that afternoon, and most everyone was coming back out of the city, instead of in. So we lucked out.
The Press club is a fantastic and historic place. I was awed by the heavy wood walls and doors everywhere that gave the place a stately air, and the photos! Everywhere were photos of Presidents, and world leaders, and well, just saying I was there was awesome.
When we arrived, Congressman Hoyer was speaking:
Followed by Senator Harkin:
Both men were sponsors of the Americans with Disabilities Act and worked tirelessly to ensure its passage in 1990, and continue to be strong legislative allies.
While there we were fortunate to meet up with many friends from the past and present. Our good friend Diana (for whom our daughter is named) was there, along with Dawn from work and a bunch of other work friends. I also ran into tons of people that I hadn’t seen in many years, but alas, I wasn’t too quick with my camera. I even shook hands with Geri Jewell, who I used to look forward to watching on The Facts of Life during my teen years. Back then, there weren’t really any disabled people that I could see as role models on television. I think I was probably 13 or 14 the first time I saw her on television and I thought, wow, I really can do anything. Hokey? Maybe. But until you’ve lived in a world where absolutely no one represents someone that looks like yourself in popular culture, you have no idea what I mean.
While at the ball, John and I had our photo taken with the men of the hour! Well, it was fun, and no, we haven’t fooled anyone yet with this photo. No, they’re not cardboard cutouts either. More like cyber-cutouts. We stood in front of a green screen and voila they magically appeared behind us. Guess that’s how folks in such high demand can be absolutely everywhere at once!
We also got to visit with my good friend Carrie and her daughter, Asiza!
Carrie came in from Colorado because her nephews are marching with their high school in the Inaugural parade tomorrow. That must be such an exciting time for her and her sister!
Toward the end of the evening, a rumor spread fast that Bill and Hillary were on their way to the ball, so everyone gathered in the ballroom and the dance floor was cleared in anticipation. We waited. And waited. Finally the suggestion was made that we should just keep dancing. I don’t know if the Clintons ever showed up, though, because we had to leave before turning into pumpkins on account of the subway system closing at midnight. But, before we left for the evening, we were entertained by an amazing dancer and his flying crutches. You gotta see this guy:
And finally, here’s a closeup of my dress, because a couple of people were asking me about it.
It was a simple navy blue chiffon sheath sleeveless, with beads and sequins on the bodice and matching long sleeve jacket. Luckily I had it on hand already for my niece’s wedding that I didn’t get to attend in November. So, at least I got to wear it once. And my husband? He was so dashing in his tux — the first time he’s worn one since the day we got married. For that alone? It was so worth it to be there.
And tomorrow? Tomorrow is a New Day. I simply. Cannot. Wait.