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!
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.
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.
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.
$35 per year
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.
PO Box 21203
Seattle, WA 98111-3203
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!
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
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
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
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.
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.
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 prospective members.
Our Potlucks Attract Quite a Crowd!
For information about the potluck for this month, click the
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:
- In June instead of the potluck,
we celebrate the anniversary of Mature Friends with a lavish
banquet at an upscale location. In June 2010 this annual event
was held at the beautiful Women's University Club of Seattle.
For details of previous banquet, please click the following:
- In August, we substitute
a potluck picnic luncheon in Woodland Park. For details of
last year’s picnic, please click the following button:
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.
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
Click the link for this month’s
Dates and Times
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.
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
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
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
Check out the
schedule for all activities for this month by clicking the
This Month’s Schedule
at a Glance
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
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:
Family Man, by Elinor Lipman
- Please Don't Come Back from
the Moon, by Dean Bakopoulos
- The Cloud Atlas, by
- What Is the What, by Dave Eggers
March, by E. L.
- The Worst Hard Time: The
Untold Story of Those Who Survivied the Great American
Dust Bowl, by Timothy Egan
- The Whole World Over,
by Julia Glass
- The Moor's Last Sigh,
by Salman Rushdie
And many more!
are you waiting for? Sign up for this month’s book today! Be
sure to check the newsletter
for current information.
- Now is the Hour, by
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
So, come join our investment club and learn while you
earn. Check out the times for our next meetings
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
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 Len
Tritsch, a retired teacher and coach of track and field. He
has taught courses on fitness at seminars on aging, he
competes regularly in masters’ track events, both local and
international including the Gay Games and the Out Games, and
he also coaches Team Seattle’s track and field group.
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
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.
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
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
Walking and Hiking
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.
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.
through October, our resident horticulturalist arranges a
monthly tour of a local garden, in and around Seattle.
Almost all are free. 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.
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!
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.
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
Who Runs Us
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
Board Is Organized
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.
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:
PO Box 21203
Seattle, WA 98111-3203
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
Why We Need
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 may leave the group through attrition,
relocation, and death, 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.
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
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
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
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
[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
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
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
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.
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
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 at Shilshole, the College
Club downtown, and the Best Western Executive Inn in lower
Queen Anne. 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.
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. (and now John
A.) coordinates the Annual Picnic.
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 is
coordinated by John L.
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 E. stepped down, and the leadership of the
now investment clubs fell to Don C.
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 forego 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
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 and to the Mediterranean. Thanks especially to Jerry J.
and Don Moreland as well as Marlyce B. and Gary H. for their
expertise and experience in organizing these trips.
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.
On this page, you’ll
find links to other gay and Lesbian web sites.
- Seattle Mens Chorus
site gives the concert schedules as well as other
information about the chorus.
- Lambert House
A safe environment for gay kids to meet and socialize.
- OUT 4 Sustainability
A community-based organization committed to
advancing the status of lesbians by combating oppression
and by promoting empowerment, visibility, and social
- Greater Seattle Business Association (GSBA)
A “Chamber of Choice” organization of Seattle
area businesses owned and operated by gays and Lesbians.
- Seattle Frontrunners
Our local gay and Lesbian running group.
A non-profit, multi-disciplinary arts
organization located in West Seattle with programs in
music, theater, visual art, education, playwriting, and
late night entertainment.