Mature
        Friends Web Site


Who We Are   How to Join   Where We Meet   When We Eat   What We Do   Who Runs Us  

How to Contact Us   What's Our Story   What Groups Are Related

What's Happening This Month 


Welcome!

Are you gay and over 40? Be honest now! Looking for something to do? Wanting to expand your circle of friends? Well then, Mature Friends is tailor-made for you!

Our active, fun-loving group of over 250 members meets regularly to share common interests such as traveling (both locally and internationally), attending arts events, playing bridge or pinochle, reading and discussing books, making investments, touring gardens, taking walks and going on hikes, choosing among many options for dinners and lunches, cooking, and tasting fine wines from our own state, from other states, and from around the world.


Who We Are

We are you . . . or who you will eventually be — gay and lesbian individuals and couples over 40. To join up, all you have to do is pay nominal yearly dues and show up at any of our events. Membership is confidential! We do not share our membership list with any other organizations or individuals, period.

Paying Our Dues

Groups our size naturally incur operating expenses, and Mature Friends is no exception. To rent the Ballard Odd Fellows Hall and to cover other expenses, members pay annual dues, which cover the period of July 1 through June 30 of the following year.

Membership dues: $40 per year

Members pay their dues on July 1 every year. Of course, the dues are prorated for those who join in mid-year.



How to Join

Why not join us today and get in on the fun? Email or write to the following addresses to ask any questions or to request a membership form, or print the form from this site.

Membership Form


Address:
Mature Friends
PO Box 21203
Seattle, WA 98111-3203

Email:
Information about Mature Friends


Come on, meet some new friends and join in on the fun! A good place to start is with our next potluck, at the Ballard Odd Fellows Hall.

To find out the date of our next potluck or any other activity, check out the date in the current newsletter.

Hey, by the way, first-time guests at the potluck don’t need to bring anything!


Disclaimer

Mature Friends, its officers, directors, and members, hereinafter known as The Club, may assist members to arrange travel, outings, meals, and other activities. The Club assumes no responsibility for any loss, injury or expense incurred by members’ participation in these activities, and cannot be held liable for any acts of commission, or omission, on behalf of any vendors that may be involved. Participants should take measures to protect their investments and participation in group activities.



Where We Meet

Our main meeting place is centrally located in downtown Ballard at the Odd Fellows Hall. All of our potlucks take place here, as well as the bridge club, the pinochle club, the camera club, and the weekly exercise group. When you arrive, go upstairs. If there are no stairs, then you’re at the wrong place! Check out the address below, and click the link for a map.

Odd Fellows Hall (Homebase)

Ballard Odd Fellows Hall
1706 N.W. Market Street
Seattle, Washington 98107

MAP


Other activities meet elsewhere, and sometimes their meeting place changes from month to month. To find up-to-date locations for each activity, see the "Goings On" section of the current newsletter. Click this button:

Dates and Times


When We Eat

Like any army of people, we at Mature Friends travel on our stomach. Practically every time we get together, we eat. To accomplish this feat, we offer four regular activities centered around food. Each activity consists of either dining in or dining out. Actually, there are more than four, but the others are informal, such as the lunch out after exercise class on Wednesdays.

Dining In
Dining Out
Monthly Potluck
Bimonthly Lunches
Dinners for Six
Monthly Dinner


Dining In

Although there are only two dining in activities per month, they are major lynch pins that hold us together and allow us to share our culinary arts with other members of the group.


Monthly Potluck

On the last Friday of each month, members at large get together for a potluck dinner in Ballard. This event is the brick and mortar of Mature Friends, allowing members to keep in touch regularly and to welcome new and prospective members.

Potluck Gathering at Odd Fellows' Hall

Our Potlucks Attract Quite a Crowd!


For information about the potluck for this month, click the following button:


What Dish to Bring


But the potluck is more than just dinner — it’s a social and educational event. Beginning at 6:30 with appetizers, we socialize while sampling each other’s culinary creations. At around 7:30, the main course is served, with several dishes for each course — salad, main, and vegetable. Then sometimes a guest speaker gives a short program, which can vary from art displays to presentations from other gay groups to tales of adventure abroad. After the program, it’s time for dessert, coffee, and more socializing.

Normally, the potluck is held at our homebase in Ballard.

But two months out of the year we do something different:



Dinner for Six

For those who want to open their homes to a small group of Mature Friends who love to cook and entertain, you can join the Dinner for Six. This activity consists of a pool of gourmets and novices who share a love of cooking and entertaining. The pool is divided into couples (either real partners or just friends who double-up). Each couple takes an evening during a month to cook a dinner for the other two couples. When the group has rotated three times, the pool of members is shuffled into different groups of six people.

But you do not have to be a four-star chef to join the Dinner for Six. All you need is a desire to share your favorite foods with a fun-loving group who appreciates all kinds of meals.


Dining Out

If you enjoy eating out with a lively group of restaurant afficiandos, then by all means join our Knife and Fork Club for our lunches and dinners out.

Click the link for this month’s schedule:

Dates and Times

Lunches Out

Twice a month, many club members get together for lunch at Charlie's on Broadway, conveniently located on Capitol Hill. These lunches are purely social and allow members to touch base with each other in a gay-friendly atmosphere.

Dinner Out

In addition to the lunches, once a month the group meets for dinner out. For variety, the specific restaurant will change from time to time. Lately, we’ve been meeting at the 125th Street Grill, which offers a varied menu, high in quality. The 125th Street Grill, like any other restaurant we choose, offers a full bar, separate checks, and easy access.



What We Do

Never letting moss grow under foot, Mature Friends is an active group. From simply playing bridge or pinochle to travel abroad to competing and winning medals in the Gay Games every four years, you’ll surely find an activity to entice you. Remember that large groups have the clout to negotiate lower rates on any kind of activity, from theater tickets to trips overseas. This clout leaves you with more money for shopping, dining in fancy restaurants, or splurging on anything else that appeals to you. And you get the added advantage of enjoying these activities with a ready-made group of people who share your interests.

The following list describes our current activities. The list just keeps growing. Do you have an idea for something new? Our board of directors would love to hear from you.

Activities

Discussing Books Seeing Shows
Investing Funds Walking and Hiking
Getting Healthy Taking Trips
Snapping Pics Playing Cards
Visiting Gardens Tasting Wines

Check out the schedule for all activities for this month by clicking the following link:

This Month’s Schedule at a Glance

Discussing Books

What have you been reading lately? If you like to read contemporary fiction and non-fiction, we have just the club for you! Our book club gives members an opportunity to read and discuss one book every month. We aim to choose books that receive critical acclaim, often because they have won a literary or journalistic prize or simply because they are “best sellers” and people are talking about them. Since quite a few of these noteworthy books now include gay and lesbian themes, we often read such books. Although we don’t promise that every book will be a gem, we take the attitude that we can learn something from any book.

We meet monthly in the early evening and in a member’s home where we share some cookies and coffee, spend a little time getting to know each other, and settle down to discuss the book. There is a lot of thoughtful discussion, and you will have a good time joining in. This isn’t the graduate level seminar you would find at a University, but if you like reading and want to share ideas with others in a spirit of conviviality, this is for you.

Look for the announcement in the newsletter identifying the book and the meeting place. All the books we read are in paperback and most of the books come from the Seattle Public Library’s special collection for book clubs.

Some books we've read include:
And many more!

So, what are you waiting for? Sign up for this month’s book today! Be sure to check the newsletter for current information.


Investing Funds

So, you don’t know a small cap from a large cap or even a baseball cap? Well, Mature Friends has a solution — A Better Club for Investing, which meets at 7:00 PM once a month, usually on the first or second Monday.

Any member of Mature Friends who wants to add to their savings by investing with a group can get ahead through consensus and judicious investments by joining this club. Not only do you add to your portfolio, but you learn more about wise financial planning and how the markets work. Meetings are conducted over dinner at a variety of cafes in the Seattle area, giving you the chance to hone your fiduciary skills while expanding your repertoire of local eateries.

So, come join our investment club and learn while you earn. Check out the times for our next meetings


Getting Healthy

Forget Jenny Craig! Join Mature Friends, and meet others who like to keep active. Every Wednesday morning a group of varying abilities meets at the Ballard Odd Fellows Hall for an hour of stretching, bending, and moving. Total cost is only $5.00 per person per month, to help pay for supplies and rent for the hall.

After the class, those who didn’t get enough movement head off for a brisk walk around Green Lake to help work up a hearty appetite for . . . what else? — lunch! at a nearby restaurant.

The exercise group is coordinated by Don McK, who has served on the Mature Friends' board as treasurer and is an avid fitness buff.


Playing Cards

Whether you're a seasoned player or trying to get your skills back from those marathon card games in college, you will enjoy our card nights. Pick a game that suits your interest and come on down!

Bridge

Not for card sharks only, members who are interested in testing their skills meet every Wednesday at the Odd Fellows Hall in Ballard. Not exactly tournament bridge or cutthroat, this activity is for anyone no matter the level of skill, from beginner to pro. The purpose is to relax and have some fun at the card table. There is a slight fee collected to off-set the rental of the hall, but it's well worth it.

Pinochle

Join other members for some Pinochle fun. The group meets on the first and third Wednesdays at the Odd Fellows Hall in Ballard. Depending upon the number of participants, you can play from three-handed to five-handed games. You don't have to be an expert, we'll teach you how to play. Like the bridge group, there is a slight fee collected to off-set the rental of the hall.    


Seeing Shows

It’s show time, folks! With lower group rates, it’s easy and cheaper to see local professional and college productions around the town. So . . . Lights! Camera! Action! — Whoa! CUT! CUT! CUT!!! Not that kind of show (although it’s been done!). What we’re really talking about here is something with a higher brow — live theater, opera, concerts, and of course, performances of the various gay and Lesbian choruses.

But in addition to our formal outings as a group, many members get together informally on short notice for impromptu outings of two to six persons. Something similar took place while we were touring Europe a couple years ago with a beautiful concert in Vienna. Can you imagine? Enticing, eh?

For our upcoming plans, see the blurb in the latest newsletter.


Walking and Hiking

If structured exercise isn’t for you, or if you’d just like to explore the local area on foot, you can always join us for our monthly hike. Hiking in natural areas outdoors, whether mountains, seashore, or desert, refreshes the spirit and the body. In our walking and hiking activities, we focus on places with moderate length and elevation. In summer and fall, we sometimes take longer hikes out of town, while in the rainy season, we lean toward local hikes and walks.

Hikes for this month

All hikes are day hikes. If we go out of town and you share a ride, expect to chip in a few dollars to the driver for gas. Also, we sometimes brown bag it for lunch along the trail. Other than that, this activity is an invigoring, frugal day's entertainment.

So, keep an eye on the newsletter to see announcements of this healthy, invigorating activity. And then come and join us! Take in some fresh air while sharing the pleasure of seeing nature with friends. Warning! The enjoyment may become addictive.


Taking Trips

Mature Friends love to travel. From near to far, we’re on the go every year.

From day trips to long weekends to short hops to Nevada, we take reasonably priced escapes to visit wineries, to see the fall leaves, to spend long weekends in Vancouver and in Portland, and to visit favorite, inexpensive gambling sites and see shows. Our experienced travel committee is always coming up with exciting, affordable get-aways.

For those who like to venture a bit farther, we’ve taken tours of Eastern Europe, cruises to the Mediterranean and countries around it, sailed to South America and around the Horn, and recently cruised to Australia and New Zealand.

Each year offers new and exciting destinations. So be sure to check out the latest newsletter online for details of upcoming adventures.

Check out our upcoming plans.

Visiting Gardens

From April through October, our resident horticulturalist arranges a monthly tour of a garden in the Puget Sound area, enjoying the splendor as well as the plants. Most are free of charge, but a few charge entrance fees.

These tours never fail to delight the eyes and please the noses of our members from home gardeners to experienced horticulturalists. We usually have between ten and thiry people attend. Each month takes us to a garden where we see various innovative arrangements by professionals as well as skillful amateur gardeners. We visit both private gardens as well public gardens, often getting a glimpse behind the scenes.

So, be sure to join us on these tours to learn new tips and tricks to make your garden bloom to its full potential, or just come along and smell the roses, enjoy the scenery, and enjoy the good company.

Be sure to check out the newsletter and see what new and exotic destinations await you!

Tasting Wines

Every other month, the oenophiles of Mature Friends meet at a member’s house to sample specific types and vintages of wines. From Pinot Grigios of Oregon to the Malbecs of Argentina, our wine group sits squarely on the cutting edge of highest quality wines at affordable prices.

A wine is assigned in advance and everybody brings a bottle to pass. Then we all sample what each other has brought and share what we know about that vintage. But don’t be intimidated. The group’s experience ranges from novice to well-informed connoisseur.

So come and sample the grape in a relaxed, convivial atmosphere of like-minded gourmets. Give it a try. Check out what we’re tasting next.

Snapping Pics

Calling all shutterbugs! Whether you're a point-and-click novice or an Annie Leibovitz pro, as long as you love to shoot pictures, we've got a club for you. The Camera Club, newly formed in 2010, invites you to share your work with others, trade tips, ask questions about your camera, and go on photo shoots. The club meets once a month on Wednesday, about mid-month. However, when the weather is good, there may be other outings on Saturday. Be sure to check the newsletter for the next meeting. You won't want to miss it!



Who Runs Us

To coordinate a big group with a number of activities, you need careful organization and leadership. Mature Friends has both. During the May potluck each year, we elect a 10-person board of directors from the membership at large, and this board elects officers from its membership. Meeting monthly, the board and officers manage the affairs of the organization. Board members and officers can serve up to four years consecutively.


How the Board Is Organized

The board, in turn, is split into committees, headed by board members. Each committee is responsible for a specific group activity or event. All members are encouraged to serve on the board or on a committee, in line with their interests.

As mentioned earlier, Mature Friends publishes a monthly newsletter to inform the membership of upcoming events and to convey additional information of general interest. In the newsletter, you’ll find a calendar of the current month’s events so that you can see at a glance what’s going on when. Although board members write the main content of the newsletter, Mature Friends encourages everyone to submit an article now and then.



How to Contact Us

If you have any questions or would like further details about any specific events or about Mature Friends in general, please contact us either by regular mail or e-mail:

Address:

Mature Friends
PO Box 21203
Seattle, WA 98111-3203


E-mail:

Information about Mature Friends



What’s Past

Everybody has a past. Some are quite . . . what’s the polite word? Oh, yes . . . colorful. And others are quite sordid. Then there are those . . . well, you don’t really want to know. But many are open books. Luckily, Mature Friends’ history is the latter.

Why We Need a History

The history of any organization resides in its members. This is all the more so with voluntary organizations. However, with the passage of time, individuals with knowledge of the organization moving on for one reason or another, leading to a loss of its history.

Preserving an organization’s history is vital, not only for the continuity of the organization, but also as a legacy for the future of the community it serves. Mature Friends has been an organization for older gay men and women for many years, but has not made any concerted effort to record its history.

Gay studies is increasingly becoming a legitimate academic pursuit, so for an organization to be included in the development of gay culture, it is incumbent to leave behind documentation of its activities in a form and place that will be accessible to future historians. So, in June 2005, the Board of Mature Friends established a History Committee and allocated funding to gather and document the early history of Mature Friends.

How We Obtained the History

One of our long-time members, Wes N., was appointed Chairman of the History Committee. A group of volunteers gathered together to decide upon the operation of the committee how it will gather its information and how it will make available its findings in a form and place accessible to future scholars and laymen.

The committee decided to obtain oral histories from as many of the founding and early members as could be identified and assembled. A set of questions covering important topics that each of the interviewees should address was compiled. Each interview session was recorded on tape and later transcribed. For this task, the committee was fortunate in having the services and cooperation of Ruth Pettis of the Seattle Gay History Project. Alvin Fritz of the Gay Library of the University of Washington (U.W.) was also contacted. The U.W. Library will be the final repository of the information collected and the final report, as well as ancillary documents.

The committee interviewed ten persons who were founding members or were members at an early stage of the club. The interviews were conducted in an informal setting, with the interviewee free to recall his or her early experiences with the club. Committee members in attendance were free to interject, to comment on, amplify and in some instances correct statements that were made. It was apparent at this stage, some 16 – 18 years after the founding of the club, that memories were a little hazy. Fortunately, the club has a extensive archive of materials which was an invaluable resource in the preparation of this report.

The list of committee members, questions asked of the interviewees, and individuals interviewed are listed in the appendixes, which are not published here.

So, grab your favorite snack, and pull your chair closer to the computer. Relax and enjoy an overview of how this unique group formed and how it became the large, multifaceted social group we have today, with over 250 members.

How We Formed

All the persons interviewed generally agreed that John Reeder was the catalyst behind the formation of Mature Friends. John had not intended to found a new organization, but had preferred to work with existing organizations. One such organization was the Lavender Panthers, an off shoot of the Gay and Lesbian Task Force, a group created by the then Mayor of Seattle, Wes Uhlman. John was interested in having an organization as a safe place where men and women of the community can come together. John’s first association with the Lavender Panthers was to help them organize a Christmas party in 1988. John enthusiastically helped plan the party, and in the end, did the decorations with fresh greens, provided red table cloths and a program. John’s energetic efforts were not viewed favorably by the women who comprised most of the original members of the Lavender Panthers. His efforts were regarded as a “taking over” of the club.

John still felt a need for an organization where older gays and lesbians, those over 50 years of age, could meet socially in a safe environment. A safe environment meant a non-bar environment, in as much as these were older people for whom the bar scene was not a good place to meet others in a similar age range. In addition, John himself had recovered from alcoholism, so bars were not a good environment for him. John put together some ideas and called upon Don Moreland and Harold Mick, who were both at that fateful Christmas party. As early as January 4, 1989, letters of invitation were sent to friends to attend an organizational meeting on January 13, 1989. A second meeting on January 27, 1989, was held to elect temporary officers and to consider a name for the organization. The first or acting officers were: Don Moreland, president; Shirley M., vice-president; Eugene Van V., treasurer, and John Reeder, secretary. A specifically gay name was to be avoided since many of the target population (that is, prospective members) were wary about being in an outwardly gay organization. A dichotomy should be noted, as pointed out by several of the interviewees, that some of the same people had no qualms about frequenting the gay bars. A name was expeditiously chosen, as correspondence soon after the January 27 meeting contained the name “Mature Friends.” Legend has it that either John Reeder or Glen H. sat down with a dictionary and came up with the right combination of words. The name was also attributed to one of the early members, Dorothy F. The group was known thereafter as “Mature Friends.” The statement of purpose was “Mature Friends is a resource organization of individuals 50 years and older promoting human services, social interaction, education, and comradrie (sic) in and for the Lesbian and Gay community.”

With February 1989 coming up, a Valentine party for gay and lesbian seniors was planned. The social room at Grace Gospel Church in Ballard was obtained free of charge. Invitations were sent out and others were contacted by word of mouth. Around 25 people attended. It might be said that Mature Friends had its beginning at that Valentine party.

[I recall attending a February potluck a year or two later at Greenwood Hall, which John Reeder had decorated in a Valentine theme. John proclaimed it an anniversary potluck. — D. Lee].

While the Valentine party was a success, it should be noted that it was a new experience for many of the people who attended. Many had lived their lives with their gay persona hidden from all but their closest friends, and here they were, at a party with people whom they barely knew or had not known at all. As John recalled, people barely uttered their first names.


The success of the Valentine party prompted the fledging organization to look for a larger space. Again, it was John Reeder who came to the fore. John had access to Greenwood Hall in Phinney Ridge. He lived next door and managed the hall. Club members helped to clean up and paint the hall, and helped John install a small kitchen. The monthly potlucks and activities such as the Bridge group met at Greenwood Hall until 1995. By then the membership had grown and a larger space was needed. Thanks to a lead from member Bob Johnson, the club moved to the Odd Fellows Hall in Ballard, where the group continues to meet at the present time.

In the months following that first Valentine party, John, Don, Harold (nicknamed “Mick”) Eugene Van V., Shirley M., Glen H., and many others continued to meet. They still had in mind Mature Friends as a social service organization. To be a credible organization when it came to tax exempt (501(c)3) status consideration, they felt it necessary to be on a sound financial footing. Fund raising activities were planned. One such fundraising activity was a garage sale, which was tremendously successful. Other fundraisers were progressive dinners, at which attendees contributed money. These activities put the club on a firm financial basis. The progressive dinners eventually evolved into the “Table for Eight,” social gatherings wherein members gathered in groups of eight for dinner at a member’s home. They would then rotate among the group of eight. Eight people for dinner proved to be unwieldy and the concept changed to "Table of Six." Recently, this activity has been renamed more appropriately “Dinner for Six,” which has been quite successful and continues to the present time.

Social activities were always part of Mature Friends. Some of the early activities were Saturday Socials, Lunch/Tea Dance, and outings such as one to the Tulip Festival. Travel was spearheaded by Eugene Van V. and is still one of the major activities today. The Saturday Social and the Lunch/Tea Dance did not last for long, but very soon dining out, both lunch and dinner, became a regular activity. Garden tours was also a popular activity. Both the dining out and garden tours were ideas promoted by Glen H. [It should be noted that Glen H. was a Landscape Architect]. A most enduring activity has been the potluck dinner. This event began in mid-1989 and continues as the most prominent monthly activity. Later activities included monthly walk/hike, both locally and farther afield, a weekly exercise group led by Len T., and more recently a pinochle group which meets twice a month.

While the club avoided an outwardly gay name, early on, the active members promoted the club within the gay community. At the Pride Festival of 1989, the club staffed a booth to inform the community of the new organization and to recruit members. In 1996 and 1997, the club had a contingent in the Pride parades. Although Mature Friends has reached out to the gay community, club membership was and is still confidential. Only board members and activity heads have access to the membership list to conduct their affairs.

In the beginning, there was a strong involvement of women in the organization. They served on committees and were board members. However, as the club grew, the number of women members has decreased as well as their participation in the club organization and activities. The bridge group still attracts a fair number of women players. The decline in women members and their participation was regularly broached during the interviews for this history, but no definitive answer or answers were forthcoming. [As of 2010, women make up seven percent of the membership.]

The club has been a success as a social organization. As a group, it remains non-political and non-sectarian. The original idea as a social-service organization has largely been abandoned, mainly because the membership preferred it as a social organization. A Sunshine Committee functions currently to recognize members’ birthdays, send get well wishes on illnesses and condolences upon the death of members.

This report is not an exhaustive history of Mature Friends. It covers the founding of the club and the events leading to its founding. It addresses the questions raised by the History Committee and tries to find a common answer from among the people interviewed. In some cases, the answers were supplemented by information from the archive for clarity. A ten-year retrospective was written by Jerry O., which appeared in the February 1999 newsletter. It is included in the appendix of this report. When a president's term is completed, such president will write a summary report. These reports will be kept as part of the history of the club.

And that brings us up to the 21st century and the second decade of our club.




Second Decade

Mature Friends was founded in 1989 as an organization where older gays and lesbians can meet socially in a safe environment. Twenty years later, it still functions as an organization for older gays and lesbians in the Puget Sound Region. But as one member once remarked, “We’re not old, we’re MATURE.” And that has been the hallmark of Mature Friends. Far from being a group of senior citizens, Mature Friends have maintained through the years a vibrancy and energy through the many activities sponsored by the club or informally among various members.

Update on Activities

The second decade saw Len T. at the helm, at the end of his long term as president since 1994. He was succeeded by Lewis F. in 1999, followed by Don Moreland in 2000, Bob McQ. in 2002, Charlie F. in 2004 and Kent H. in 2007. Kent led Mature Friends into the Third Decade, before handing the presidency off to Mark J. in July 2010.

Many of the activities begun earlier still continue. The Last Friday of the Month potluck still draws a large number of members and guests, with often more than 70 attending. The Bridge group, one of the earliest special interest groups, continues today with as many as six tables of avid players weekly. The Bridge group was headed for many years by C. Henry H., and later by Paul S. Not to be outdone, a Pinochle group, under Walter J. and others, was started in 2006 and attracts 12 to 15 participants in their twice a month meetings. Mature Friends are not entirely sedentary. An exercise group led by Len T. meets weekly, followed by a walk around Green Lake. It has not been unusual for non-members to join the exercise group, and subsequently learn about and join the club. For the more adventurously inclined, a monthly hike, sometimes in local parks and sometimes farther afield in the Cascades, is held under the capable leadership of John K. and more lately, Dale J. In addition, the garden tour group has visited many public and private gardens in the region, initially under the joint leadership of Lloyd Herman and John Wott, and lately, of John W. We are fortunate in having Dr. John, emeritus UW Professor of Urban Horticulture, with his extensive knowledge of and connections with the area gardeners and horticulturists, leading the garden tours.

If the garden tours are a legacy of late member and Mature Friends founder Glen H., so too are the dining-out groups, collectively the Knife-and-Fork Club, which comprises the lunch group which meets twice monthly, and the dinner group which meets once a month. The dining out groups has been kept going by many volunteer coordinators, notably, Harry W., Mel H., and Water J. In addition to the lunch and dinner groups, the club coordinates the Dinner for Six groupings, an intimate dining occasion for six (three couples, not necessarily partnered couples), the dinner host rotating among the three ‘couples’. The groupings are then reassigned each quarter. Group members demonstrate their culinary expertise at these gatherings. Thanks are due to the juggling talents of Dick N. and Jim Y. in arranging these groups. Mature Friends have always enjoyed good food and drink.

Apropos good food and drink, the Annual Banquet to celebrate the anniversary of the club is an anticipated social event of the year. The event was moved from February, which was more appropriately the founding month of the club, to late spring in May or June. The banquet has been held at various venues, such as the Yankee Diner (later the Yankee Grill) in Ballard, Anthony’s Homeport at Shilshole, the College Club downtown, and the Best Western Executive Inn in lower Queen Anne, and now at the Women’s University Club.

Starting in 2005, the Board instituted an Annual Volunteer of the Year award, a feature during the Annual Banquet, to recognize the importance of volunteers’ contributions to the club. The award, by nomination from the membership, acknowledges a member who has put forward an extra effort in his/her service to the club. The recipients have been Harry W. in 2005, Don K. in 2006, C. Henry H. in 2007, Dan L. in 2008, Curt Johnson in 2009, and Gordon L. in 2010, Bil B. in 2011, Paul S. in 2012, Kent H. in 2013, and Len T. in 2014.

In addition to the Annual Dinner, the Annual Picnic takes place in August. The picnic has been held at various Seattle park locations through the years, from Lincoln Park, Seward Park, to the present location at Woodland Park. The club provides hot dogs and burgers with the trimmings and members are asked to bring potluck picnic dishes to accompany the hotdogs and burgers. Larry W. organized the picnic for several years, until he passed the leadership over to John K. Then Brian W. took over for two years, and now Bruce T. secures the shelter house each year for Annual Picnic. Bruce also makes sure we have plenty of soft drinks as well as buys the hotdogs and brats and grills them.

Add to this the annual Christmas holiday brunch organized by Harry W., complete with a white elephant gift exchange for a good time.

Mature Friends are also cerebral. An ongoing Book Club with 8–15 members meets monthly to discuss a book assigned at each meeting. This is done with the cooperation of the Seattle Public Library, which supplies copies of the books to club members. All this effort was coordinated by John L. Later, Dick N. took over the reins of the club and has since passed them on to Bruce B.

Cerebral may not describe the Investment Club, but perhaps “crystal ball gazing” might be appropriate. The Investment Club began meeting late in 2000 under the leadership of Ed Estes to provide a fun, informative and collegial means for Mature Friends to manage their money and stay current on economic issues. Members contribute a specified amount and study the stock market to decide how to invest their collective funds. The Investment Club has attracted a number of members, but to keep it functioning so that all members have opportunity for input, membership must be kept small. As a result a second investment club dubbed A Better Club for Investing was started in 2008 to accommodate this growing interest. After eight years leading the Investment Club, Ed stepped down, and the leadership of the investment clubs fell to Don C. Currently, Ray B. has combined the two investment clubs into one, A Better Club for Investing, meeting once a month at The New Pandasia restaurant in Interbay.

Although Mature Friends was chosen as the group’s name initially to avoid an overtly gay name, the club has not been hesitant about participation in the larger gay-lesbian community. From the beginning, active members staffed a booth at the annual Gay Pride festival to publicize the club within the community and the club has been a contingent in the Pride parade. In the past year, the Board has decided to forgo a booth at the Pride Festival, feeling that the booth has been of marginal value in membership recruitment relative to the investment in time and money. The upcoming older generation is increasingly computer literate, and the Mature Friends’ web site, by webmasters Curt Johnson and Gordon Lovell, has been an important source of information to the community. Prospective members also learn about club activities through various media, such as the Seattle Gay News.

Travel has been a part of the club from its inception, and continues through the second decade. Trips are organized by the Travel Committee, under the current leadership of Bob McQ., from short one-day or weekend trips to near-by points, to longer across-country and overseas trips. They are too numerous to detail, but of the former, fun trips have been made to Vancouver, British Columbia, and Portland, Oregon, as well as wine tours in eastern Washington and in Oregon. Local trips include visits to the Glass Museum in Tacoma and the LeMay Car Museum also in Tacoma, where members waxed nostalgically at cars they might have driven or wished they had driven. Trips farther afield include some fondly remembered ones, such as the trip to Montreal, to Eastern Europe, to the Mediterranean, Southeast Asia, China, and most recently Spain and southern France. As Bruce T. takes over as leader of the travel group, we extend our thanks to Jerry J. and Don Moreland as well as Marlyce B. and Gary H. for their expertise and experience in organizing these trips.

Summing Up

The club continues to grow in membership. By the end of the second decade, paid members number more than 260. To highlight some of our members, members’ profiles have been a regular feature in the newsletter. Members were interviewed and their stories were capably compiled by Scott W., Kyle B., and John L. These profiles provided a glimpse into the lives and the varied backgrounds of our members.

Finally, as the club moved toward the end of the second decade, it became clear that Mature Friends did not have a recorded history. There was concern individuals with knowledge of our history would vanish through relocation, attrition and death. Gay studies are increasingly becoming a legitimate academic pursuit, so for an organization to be included in the development of gay culture, it is incumbent to leave behind documentation of its activities in a form and place that will be accessible to future historians, scholars and laymen. The board established a History Committee and allocated funding to gather and document the early history of Mature Friends. The list of our organizations members involved in this project from start to finish is huge. A report covering the founding of the club and the events leading to its founding was to be the centerpiece of the project. Ten persons who were founding members or were members at at early stage of the club's development were interviewed. It was apparent at this stage that memories were a little hazy. Fortunately, the club has an extensive archive of materials which was an invaluable resource to supplement the interviews and help in the preparation of this report. Newsletters, Board meeting minutes and agendas, President's summaries, internet website printout and club by-laws were also gathered and assembled after an extensive search. The completed project is now at the Special Collections division of the library at the University of Washington.

The success of Mature Friends since its beginning in 1989 is best summed up by club president Charlie F. in 2006, “Our Club members, retired or not, possess extensive work history that they put to good use for the benefit of us all. Those qualities also make for exciting and stimulating association...I urge all members new and old to contribute to our many activities and projects...I’m confident that you will find your association with Mature Friends enjoyable and rewarding.”

— Dan L.



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