when i was in my late teens i was the hostess at a jazz club in annapolis. the king of france tavern in the maryland inn. i met some legendary artists, milt jackson, moze allison, earl hines, teddy wilson, ellis marsalis... and i was friendly with some washington dc musicians who performed with them. like bassist paul langosch who later joined tony bennett's band.
fifteen years later i was at bill clinton's first inaugural ball; tony bennet was the master of ceremonies. i was there with my friend mark stietz and it turned out we both knew paul, though neither of us had seen him recently. a weird small world thing. they'd been close friends since high school together near washington.
mark, who was the director of opposition research at the democratic national committee, had given me a last minute ticket to the vip ball. i just happened to be in washington overnight and had nothing appropriate to wear, but i wasn't going to miss it so i ended up being the only woman attending the historic black tie ball in a black velvet minidress!
actually, there were 7 inaugural balls that night. the clintons made the rounds of them, dancing on the stage at each. mark was making his own rounds of the parties. the vip ball sounds glamorous, but the event everyone really wanted to get into was the mtv ball. while the vip ball was attended by politicians and venerable democratic party supporters like harry belafonte..., the mtv scene had hip young celebrities.
mark was off to mtv, but we decided to to go down to the stage and get paul's attention first. and paul looked really happy to see his high school friend waving at him from the edge of the stage! then, really surprised- he did a double take, noticing the old jazz club girl from annapolis, somehow here at the ball with his bud! ha ha! he shook his head and laughed, of course without missing a beat.
the clintons arrived and the brand new president played saxophone with the band while we and the crowd danced. everyone was euphoric after 12 years of reagan and bush. 8 great years for america lay ahead.
for anyone curious about paul langosch there's interesting info here.