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April is about to leave us. It won't bow out, however, in any more charming fashion than it began - with an unusual gathering as refreshing as a spring breeze.

The invitation ``to welcome Gladys Hall Coates of Chapel Hill' came from Mary and Jack Elam. The afternoon gathering at their home on South Park Drive started with light refreshment and friendly exchanges, followed by a talk by Gladys Coates, then drinks and supper. It was a stimulating and pleasant afternoon.In the hour Gladys Coates was in the spotlight, she discussed the work she shared with her late husband, Albert Coates. He had a dream, and his wife dreamed it with him: to found the Institute of Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

In the beginning, Albert Coates put much of his faculty salary into his dream. Later, help came from others - among them the Greensboro Cones, particularly Ben and Ceasar.

Mary, an interior designer, and her lawyer husband, a former mayor and a Cone Mills official, have long been Coates friends and admirers. Jack, a former student of Albert, told anecdotes which brought smiles to the faces of several other former students, particularly Jack's classmate Steve Millikin and Steve's wife, Sally.

Gladys is an active Randolph-Macon College graduate, as are Mary Taylor and Sally Cone, who attended with their husbands, Robert and Alan.

Flo and Bill Snider participated, and Bill asked about Albert's rooming in New York with novelist Thomas Wolfe and the late Bill Polk. (Polk was one of Bill Snider's editorial colleagues at the old Greensboro Daily News.) Albert did room with them briefly, but soon moved, contending that they talked a lot and he needed quieter quarters for study.

Two Coates friends, Melinda and Vincent Paul, graduates of Carolina med school, knowing Gladys' interest in the Madonna, presented her with a pair of prints they picked up in New Orleans.

Dining and dancing Carrousel Cotillion welcomed several new members at its formal spring dinner dance recently at Greensboro Country Club.

The new couples are David and Jeanne Anderson, Larry and Cynthi Coble, Jack and Betty Hile, John and Marcia Hile, Jim and Joanie Legette, Jim and Mary Alice Lemmons, George and Dixie Penn, and three couples unable to make the dance: Paul and Alice Plybon, Vernon and Sally Mull, and Frank and Cathy Roland.

They missed a good one. There was the music of Smitty Flynn, appealing decorations using carrousel horses and balloons, and a fine meal.

Guests were greeted by the president and her husband, Juanita and Bill Linton, and the vice president and his wife, Will and Betty Hobbs. Carole Monroe, dance chairman, got assistance from her husband, Ed; Kay and Dick Eichhorn; Beverly Streuli; Judy Murray; and Juanita.

Among the special guests were N.C. Attorney General Lacy Thornburg and his wife, Dottie, of Raleigh, guests of Kitty and George Robison; Hazel and Landon Thompson, guests of Mary Jane and John Peterson; and Billy and Gert Shope and Jean Kennett and Carl Loftin, guests of Leci and Ben Croker.

A sweet thank-you The home of Elaine and Bucky McCoy was the setting for a dessert party arranged by the Greensboro unit of the American Cancer Society for its volunteers. The dessert party is the society's traditional way of thanking those who donate their time.

When I visited the dining room, my friend Julia Elrod was pouring coffee at a table lusciously laden with flowers and food. Peter Vanstory, Mary and Jerry Bolling, Elizabeth Stamper, Ginger Walton, and crusade leaders Joe and Tish Murray were among the guests.

When I mentioned Roanoke Rapids, where I did most of my growing up, to Lucille and Bert Piggott, they were all ears. They have a son, a radiologist, living there.

There was also sweet contact, as it were, with Lisa Napoli, Camille and Murphy Townsend, Becky Rucker, Bill and Kitty McAmis, Barbara Rusk, Carol Cone, and Betty Jane and Carlton Harris.


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