Lavender Friends LogoPhoto of SCLH Waterfall


Sun City Lincoln Hills

The Lavender Friends Club is a group of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender
and those in friendship who reside in beautiful Sun City Lincoln Hills, California

Archives - 2019

September 2019

Sun Senior News
by Sandi Dolbee

This is the tale of two anniversaries. The first is one you probably already have heard about – the 20th anniversary of Lincoln Hills. The other one is a little less known: our club turns 15 years old in 2020.

Our group, comprised of LGBT residents and their allies, began informally in 2005 and was called the Lavender Hills Club. Members met in people’s homes and backyards. By 2008, we outgrew private homes and began seeking other facilities for events. That same year, we applied to the homeowner’s association to become an official club. We had to change our name because, as it turns out, there was a street here named Lavender Hills (the name Lavender Friends was picked through a contest among members).

Darlene Barbieri (left) and Deborah Turnor check out our club’s gift card at the anniversary launch party.

Meanwhile, back to the Lincoln Hills 20th anniversary, one club member had the idea that we should donate a raffle gift for the launch party, which was held in August at the Orchard Creek outdoor pool area. President Joan Lacktis loved the idea and quickly got approval from the Steering Committee to donate a $50 SCLHCA gift card.

“It is an important event to our community and we are part of this community – we show up,” Joan explained (indeed, several Lavender Friends were at the launch party). She added: “I want Lavender Friends to be a visible presence in this community.”

August 2019

Sun Senior News
by Sandi Dolbee

How did baseball get to be called the national pastime? Some say it’s because the sport is so old — older than either basketball or football, for example. Others trace it to a writer back in the 1850s. Whatever the answer, club members headed out to celebrate Lincoln’s local team — the Potters — and some fireworks during a recent home game.

Getting warmed up for a recent Lincoln Potters game.

The event was organized by Marilyn Kupcho, who reports that 23 Lavender Friends showed up to see the Humboldt Crabs defeat the Lincoln Potters by 8-7 (it was tied until the ninth inning).

“We all had excellent seats (behind home plate and along the first base line) to see an exciting game,” she reports. “We even saw a Lincoln Potter hit a grand slam homer.”

July 2019

Sun Senior News
by Sandi Dolbee

Mary Jo Semmelmayer picked up her first bowling ball in 1972. “My then partner told me she’d teach me how to bowl for my 20th birthday,” she explains. Mary Jo was a student at Cal State-Fresno at the time and she soon discovered that the college had a bowling team — and needed another player.

She’s been bowling ever since, which is a good thing for the Lavender Friends Club. Mary Jo has organized three bowling outings for the club, which serves the LGBT community in Lincoln Hills. The most recent bowling adventure saw 16 people show up at Strikes Unlimited in Rocklin to play a couple games and then hang out for happy hour.

Mary Jo Semmelmayer lets loose on her lane.

“It’s a very social thing,” Mary Jo says of the sport she’s come to love. “You meet a lot of people. I’ve met life-long friends.”

Among other benefits: “You don’t have to chase the ball — it comes back to you; it’s a year-long sport; the lanes are different; it’s an interesting game.”

For the record, she uses a 13.5-pound ball and her average is 155. She’s also a leftie, just like the late Earl Anthony, the legendary pro bowler who amassed more than 40 titles in his career. Anthony, by the way, often helped mentor Mary Jo and other players on the Fresno college team.

Also for the record, Mary Jo has no plans to retire from the lanes. “I’m going to bowl until I can’t,” is how she puts it.

June 2019

Sun Senior News
by Sandi Dolbee

Potlucks have been traced to the 16th century – at least that’s the first use of the word (it appeared in print in a work by English writer Thomas Nashe). Some historians said potlucks got a jump start in America during the Depression, because they offered an expensive way to provide a community meal.

While the Depression is long gone, potlucks are a popular staple for Lavender Friends Club events. The most recent one, which drew more than two dozen members to Kilaga Springs, came with a twist: a baked potato potluck, in which attendees brought an assortment of toppings to accompany their spuds.

Toppings ranged from sun-dried tomatoes and hummus to seasoned beef broccoli and organic chili. Of course, cheese and sour cream and salsa were there, too. In the words of the activities chairperson, the spuds ’n toppings potluck “was a good one.” She’s already planning another potluck this summer, with a barbecue theme.

April 2019

Sun Senior News
by Sandi Dolbee

While the rainy winter sidelined several Saturday morning dog walks, along with an arboretum tour, it still has been a busy couple months for Lavender Friends.

The club had a very successful mixer in February, with nearly 40 members gathered for the chance to connect with new and returning friends over shrimp and chicken wings. We also had a movie outing (“On the Basis of Sex”) and staffed a table for the association’s annual club expo at Orchard Creek. In between, were our weekly coffees at Kilaga Springs and monthly buffets at Thunder Valley.

Coming up: a baked potato potluck in April.

March 2019

Sun Senior News
by Sandi Dolbee

March is roaring in like a lion, as far as club activities are concerned. Before the month is over, highlights will include a clubwide mixer for new and returning members and a crossover event with residents of Sun City Roseville.

We are gearing up for our version of a ”Tea Dance“ on May 5, when we hope to draw from throughout the region. Held on Sunday afternoons, Tea Dances began decades in LGBT communities in response to laws in some states that forbade same-gender dancing. Tea Dances are making a comeback from New York to Palm Springs – and now, Lincoln Hills.

February 2019

Sun Senior News
by Sandi Dolbee

The new year brings new – and returning – leadership for Lavender Friends. Elaine Kalani, who has been with the club since its inception, was elected vice president at our biannual business meeting Jan. 19. She joins president Joan Lacktis, treasurer Nancy Sartor and secretary Sandi Dolbee, who were reelected.

Marilyn Kupcho was appointed as a new member to the Steering Committee.

Looking back, 2018 was a busy year for the club – not only for social gatherings but also for outreach efforts. The club helps support Stand Up Placer (an Auburn-based charity combating domestic violence and human trafficking), donates baskets to the Sacramento Women’s Chorus and volunteers at the Salt Mine charity in Lincoln.

Lavender Friends represents LGBT residents and their allies. Among the upcoming big events is a Sunday afternoon “tea dance” on May 5, honoring a gay tradition that goes back to the 1960s and is being revived across the country – from New York to Palm Springs.

January 2019

Sun Senior News
by Sandi Dolbee

She loved camping, singing, photography, gardening and being with friends. And she was absolutely passionate about two other things: social justice and literacy.

Dr. Sandra (Sam) Hollingsworth had a storied career in academia, traveling the world teaching teachers how to teach students to read. It was a passion fueled when she discovered her son was dyslexic   and that teachers back then didn’t have a clue how to handle that.

Dr.Sam Hollingsworth

Armed with a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from the University of Texas, Sam set out to rectify the problem. “That sort of spurred her into how children learn to read and how teachers teach literacy,” says Dr. Robyn Lock, her partner since the 1990s (Robyn was teaching at the University of Toledo and Sam was at Michigan State when they met through an educational association they were both active in). They married in San Francisco in 2004, after waiting two days in the line at city hall, and then remarried in 2008 at an outdoor ceremony at Orchard Creek.

After leaving Michigan State University, Sam taught at UC Berkeley and San Jose State, where she also was director of the Graduate Literacy Program. Through her work in academia, she began to consult internationally. Pakistan. Yemen. Nigeria. Mali. Ethiopia. And others. “She had developed a program that was sort of a universal approach to teaching reading,” says Robyn, who also taught at San Jose State before retiring from San Francisco State.

Sam had two children, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild. She was 71. We will miss her.

Along the way, Sam wrote or co-wrote more than a dozen books and too many journal articles to count. The books, says Robyn, fill a large shelf in their home. Robyn’s favorite was a collaborative effort with other educators that included a chapter by Sam on lessons in a feminist key. “That was a fabulous book,” she adds.

Robyn says it was their love of camping that led them to Lincoln Hills. Acting on an invitation from a colleague, they went camping with a group called RV Friends. There, they met women who lived in Lincoln Hills and they invited them to visit the community. Sam and Robyn moved here in 2006. They were involved in Lavender Friends since the inception of the club, which supports the LGBT community here.

Meanwhile, Sam’s international work came at a high personal price. “She had malaria many, many times,” says Robyn. “She also contracted dengue fever in Yemen. And all these things seriously compromised her health.” She died Nov. 5 from liver failure. Her ashes will be scattered in several places, including Glacier National Park and the family plot in Sulfur Springs, Texas.

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