This story originally appeared in The Inquirer on July 21, 1988.

ATLANTA — They put me in the same hotel here as the Pennsylvania delegation, and I guess there are some advantages to that.

But none of them comes to mind when you open your door after a rough night, groggy and maybe a little dizzy, and the first assignment for your eyes is to focus on Philadelphia City Council President Joe Coleman.

Different local companies sponsor the meals every morning and I think Coleman was on his way downstairs for the People's Natural Gas Breakfast.

The hotel is 14 stories tall, 521 rooms, and they put King Coleman three doors away from me.

You walk around the lobby of the Stouffer Waverly Hotel and everywhere you turn, around every pillar, in every corner, there's Mayor Goode, or Bobby Brady, or Sam Evans.

And you can't escape. You're actually living with these people for a solid week. Then you realize they came here to offer their input at the Democratic National Convention, and it's like you didn't wake up, you're just having a bad dream.

The advantage of being so close to them, of course, is nobody can get away with too much here because they know they're being watched.

But that hasn't kept people from running up some pretty good tabs at the hotel bar, which looks like a City Council meeting every night except nobody has yelled or thrown punches yet.

So the other night I’m in the lounge and up at the bar you’ve got Councilwoman Joan Krajewski, City Commissioner Marge Tartaglione, union boss Jim Sutton and civic leader Sam Evans.

It's kind of a strange crew, because if memory serves me, Krajewski once sued Evans, Tartaglione once had a fistfight with Krajewski, and who knows what else?

But I figure they’re setting a good example, and maybe we should all try to get along down here, so I tell the waitress to serve up another round for the four of them.

Next thing I know, Tartaglione comes over to chat, and later on, Krajewski joins us. What I like about them is they don't sip fruity drinks with umbrellas in them. They drink beer.

Krajewski says it's a little boring down here because they don't have any casinos, but she's determined to find a slot machine somewhere.

Krajewski and Councilwoman Ann Land, in case you forgot, went to Las Vegas last year for a National League of Cities convention. Unfortunately for the Boom-Boom Sisters, a reporter, in disguise, followed them and found out they didn't do much besides play slot machines.

"This is a shame," Krajewski said. "You've got the Boom-Boom Sisters in town and no slot machines. "

“You know,” Tartaglione said after a swig of brew, “we ought to wear disguises and follow you reporters around Atlanta. Maybe follow you into one of them strip joints or something, what’s it called, Glitters? See how you like that.”

While we were on the subject of who does what, I told Tartaglione there was a question I’d been meaning to ask.

"What does a city commissioner do? "

Tartaglione took another swig, looked me in the eye and said:

“I’m not tellin'.”

OK, let's try another. Tartaglione is a Dukakis delegate, and the platform is pretty much established, so what does a delegate do down here?

“I’m not tellin'.”

I love this woman.

We closed the place about 3 a.m., and the next night, when I got back to the hotel following Jesse Jackson's speech, Tartaglione and Krajewski were at the same bar, same seats. So I asked if they were in the Omni arena for Jackson's speech.

“We were there, but we went out to get a drink,” Krajewski said, “and when we tried to get back in we were locked out.”

So I invited them to go shopping. We decided to do it yesterday, after the morning caucus and other meetings for Pennsylvania delegates.

Unfortunately the girls got up a little too late and missed those things. Hey, it takes a while for all of them to get ready. Krajewski, Tartaglione and their friend Bernice are all sharing a room to save money.

While we were waiting for Krajewski to come downstairs, I noticed Mayor Goode in the lobby. So I told Tartaglione I was going to invite him shopping with us.

"You do and I'm not going," Tartaglione said.

The mayor introduced me to his wife, Velma, and all three of his children.

"This is some guy who writes stuff in The Inquirer," the mayor said.

We all exchanged pleasantries, and then I said:

"I'm going shopping with Marge Tartaglione and Joan Krajewski. You guys want to come along? "

Nobody in the mayor's family answered. They just stared for a second, and then laughed. Even the mayor.

Anyhow, Krajewski came down and I hired a driver named Cecil with a Lincoln Town Car. Councilwoman Land was on her way for a swim, but we invited her along, so she went up and changed.

Cecil didn't say much. He had to use the side-view mirror because, I think, he couldn't have seen through Tartaglione's hair if he had used the rear-view mirror. Plus you had some earrings in the back seat the size of shopping bags, so he had to concentrate.

The girls wanted to pick up some souvenirs for sons and daughters, grandchildren, that sort of thing. So the first store we go into is Nieman- Marcus, where Tartaglione runs her hands over a $480 sweater.

"Anybody into leather pants? " Land called out from the next aisle. ''These are only $415."

That’s a bit high, so I suggested to Land that she get a Class 500 grant from City Council to cover their shopping spree.

“Hey,” she said, “that’s something I’d vote for.”

The girls also stopped in Louis Vuitton, Malletier a Paris, but couldn't find any souvenirs. Finally, at a Hallmark shop, Krajewski found a Zoobilee Zoo character for her grandchild and Bernice found some canisters with holiday motifs, and for the next hour, the cash registers of the Lenox Mall rang out like Christmas bells.

Krajewski bought a new outfit, Tartaglione and Bernice bought some boxes of peanut brittle and they sampled all the free food.

And then we walked up to a place called The Tinder Box. Actually I think the Boom-Boom Sisters were drawn to it by a magnetic force. Krajewski was the first one to spot the Big Ticket item in the window, but she kept her composure.


The entire mall grew silent as people turned.


The Boom-Boom Sisters went inside and inspected two types of slot machines. Krajewski pulled the arm a few times and her eyes lit up.

"You know, they're really fun," she said.

“I’ll take the big one.”

That took a $60 nick out of Krajewski's credit card. The girls also bought some Michael Dukakis-for-President Cigarettes and some trick golf balls.

Unfortunately we did not have a forklift, so we had to carry the bags out to the Lincoln Town Car and Cecil helped us put them into the trunk.

The girls said they were going to set up the slot machine in the hotel lobby and pay for their trip to Atlanta with the money they make.

They may not be as serious or influential as some of the other delegates in town this week, but this country is stronger because of people like them.