PO Box 21203, Seattle, WA 98111-3203
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!
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.
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.
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
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
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!
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)
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
|Dinners for Six
|Coffee and Cupcakes|
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:
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.
you enjoy eating out with a lively group of restaurant aficionados,
then by all means join our Knife and Fork Club for our lunches and
Click the link for this month’s schedule:
Dates and Times
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
year in mid-December, large number of Mature Friends get together in
true holiday fashion for a Christmas lunch. Held in Seattle on a
Saturday preceding Christmas, Mature Friends gather in a private dining
room at Robb's 125th
Street Grill. This festive occasion kicks off with a rousing
cocktail hour (or two)
Last Year's Event
Our newest activity, a social evening get together kicks off on
Thursday, February 4, from 6:30 p.m. till around 8:00 p.m. We meet in
West Seattle at:
4556 California Avenue SW
our initial kick off, we will then continue to meet on the first
Thursday of each month. Check our monthly schedule of events for future
All are welcome. So, come and join us and have some fun. Socialize over coffee and a cupcake, and meet members of Mature Friends, potential members, and those just eager to find out what we’re about. Who knows? You may meet someone new.
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.
two card games, Bridge and Pinochle are open to both members and
nonmembers. These are the only two activites open to nonmembers.
Exercise is open to a first-time guest and is free. But from the first
time on, the guest needs to join Mature Friends and pay the full fee.
|Discussing Books||Seeing Shows|
|Investing Funds||Walking and Hiking|
|Getting Healthy||Taking Trips|
|Visiting Gardens||Tasting Wines|
Check out the
schedule for all activities for this month by clicking the following
This Month’s Schedule at a
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
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.
Pinochle is open to
members and nonmembers. Currently both pay the same fee of $4.00 per
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, visiting
museums, and of course, performances of the various gay and Lesbian
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Update on ActivitiesThe 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 potluck, held on the last Friday of the month, still draws a large number of members and guests, with often more than seventy 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 twelve to fifteen participants in their twice a month meetings.
Mature Friends are not entirely sedentary. An exercise group 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, first under the capable leadership of John K. and more lately under 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 Dr. John Wott, and lately under Dr. Wott alone. We are fortunate in having Dr. John, professor emeritus of Urban Horticulture at the University of Washington, 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, meeting semi-monthly, and the dinner group, meeting once a month. The dining out groups has been kept going by many volunteer coordinators, notably, Harry W., Mel H., Walter J., and currently by Don S. and Bob McQ. 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, hotdogs, and bratwursts, and he also 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. In 2014, Jim W. took over the brunch, and with the consent of members, stopped the white elephants gifts in exchange for bringing Toys for Tots.
Mature Friends are also cerebral. An ongoing Book Club with eight to fifteen 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 a local restaurant.
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 Bruce T., 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. Now with Bruce T. 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.
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 were 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. Unfortunately, after John stepped down, nobody else has volunteered to continue interviewing the 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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