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Cora Masters Barry celebrates her 65th birthday with hopscotch, D.C. insiders, and lots of dancing

Cora Masters Barry dancing to "Single Ladies" at her 65th birthday party Saturday night. (Roxanne Roberts)

For her 65th birthday, Cora Masters Barry invited 80 friends to her Anacostia home Saturday night for a backyard cruise down memory lane: hopscotch at the entrance, candy and games from her childhood, favorite foods (including "Speed Limit 65" cupcakes and sweet potato pie) and dancing to everything from "The Twist" to "Single Ladies."

"It's not about how old I am," said D.C.'s former first lady. "It's about the journey that got me here."

The trip had highs (Barry founded the Southeast Tennis Center in Ward 8) and a few public bumps, including her 16-year marriage to Marion Barry and a public battle with Mayor Adrian Fenty last year when he threatened to evict her nonprofit Wish List Committee from the tennis center. (She got to stay.)

"I think she's become more seasoned," said Raymone Bain, who's known Barry for 30 years. "Over the years and with her experiences, she's mellowed. But she's still very strong in her convictions and principles."

The party guest list boasted plenty of D.C. insiders: former mayor Tony Williams (who won the twist contest) and his wife, Diane; D.C. Council member Kwame Brown; Radio One founder Cathy Hughes; consultant and former G.H.W. Bush appointee Constance Newman; lawyer Scott Bolden; and Barry's two daughters. Mayoral candidate Vincent Gray spent most of his time on the dance floor but took time for a tete-a-tete with Williams; Barry told her guests she's not endorsing anyone yet ... but "I love Vincent Gray!"

However, politics stayed on the back burner: The birthday girl spent most of the night dancing.

"I think getting old is a blessing," she said. "The only people who don't get old die. And now, I can get all the senior discounts -- and I'm going to take advantage of it."

Mayoral candidate Vincent Gray talks shop with former mayor Tony Williams. (Roxanne Roberts)

By The Reliable Source  |  May 17, 2010; 1:03 AM ET
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