Lavender Friends LogoPhoto of SCLH Waterfall

Lavender
Friends
Club

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 - 2020

September 2020

Sun Senior News
by Sandi Dolbee

In the beginning, there were people like Philip Washburn. Phil helped give birth to the Lavender Friends Club 15 years ago. He was the group’s first vice-president and second president. He and his husband, Richard Wong, also were instrumental in getting the bylaws written and all the other paperwork and approval needed to become an officially recognized club here.

“It took nine months,” he remembers. Even after it was formed, the club, which was formed to represent and support LGBT residents, met monthly to ensure it was running well. It was a daunting task — for several reasons. As one of its leaders, he was aware that as a guy, he was outnumbered. “The majority of the group are women,” he notes.

He remembers the first club expo that Lavender Friends participated in. “We were really nervous about how we would be received,” he says. Phil, who was among the volunteers staffing the club’s table, says almost everyone who visited the table were welcoming and receptive. “That took a good load off our minds.”

Phil and Richard, who are 75 and 74, live in Roseville now. Phil praises Lavender Friends for being good for providing myriad social opportunities and a supportive environment. He also lauds the club’s website, crediting it with helping potential residents decide whether to move here.

We were supposed to be celebrating our 15th anniversary this year with a reunion to honor our past and present members. But COVID-19 changed that. We are now looking forward to a sweet sixteen celebration next year (details to come).

August 2020

Sun Senior News
by Sandi Dolbee

One of the most recent posts on our club’s Facebook page was an endearing one — a video of a surprise golf cart parade to celebrate the end of chemo treatments for one member.

It was a great reminder of how our members-only page can help keep us connected while we stay safely apart during this pandemic.

Denise Webfield (left) and Carolyn Otis gear up for the golf cart parade.

Members post all sorts of helpful tips. One person shared about where to get fresh, local peaches. Another posted a link for what to do if you got your federal stimulus check as a debit card but threw it away thinking it was junk mail. And share updates on a knee replacement surgery and notices of online concerts.

Several of them come with photos — from local scenery to ducklings that took up residence in a back yard.

The Lavender Friends Facebook page was created by president Joan Lacktis, who also serves as the page’s moderator, ensuring that posts abide by the guidelines of being “social in nature and reflect positive things happening in the community” (no rants, partisan pleas or commercial solicitations).

Yes, you have to have a Facebook account — but did you know you can open one up with just the briefest of information? After setting up your account, send an email to Joan and she’ll take care of rest.

Oh, and that golf cart parade? Paula Kregel, its recipient, loved it. “I was very touched,” she said. “It was a fantastic surprise.” She added this: “It just shows who the people in Lavender Friends are, they’re just a group of very wonderful and caring people.”

July 2020

Compass
by Sandi Dolbee

Bingo anyone?

In this new virtual normal, the club’s activities committee is exploring holding an online bingo game, complete with prizes, as a way of bringing us together while keeping us safely apart. If you are interested, watch for the details in our weekly communication emails to our members and on this website.

Meanwhile, Lavender Friends’ 15th anniversary celebration has been rescheduled for Sept. 23. And our Saturday morning coffee socials continue to be held online at 10 a.m. on Zoom (watch for the links in our weekly emails).

Congratulations to Marilyn Kupcho, the new coordinator of the club’s activities committee.

June 2020

Sun Senior News
by Sandi Dolbee

It was 1969 and Nancy Calcese was about to graduate from Florida State University in Tallahassee. She was thinking about what she was going to do next, when the Red Cross came to campus recruiting for a program called the Supplemental Recreation Activities Overseas (SRAO), which supported our troops in Korea and Vietnam.

Nancy signed up.

Fast forward to spring 2020, when a profile cropped up about Nancy — as one of the Red Cross’ famed “Donut Dollies.” The profile, headlined “Meet Red Cross Donut Dollie Nancy Calcese,” was published by donutdolliies.com, which is hoping to track down more SRAO workers to memorialize their experiences. A documentary has been produced but not yet released.

Nancy Calcese with soldiers.

Nancy, who was applauded by her other Lavender Friends Club members in a Zoom meeting after the story came out, is humbly frank about why she did what she did. “Honestly, I graduated and needed a job,” she says. “I was not a risk taker and to this day, I can’t believe I went to Korea and Vietnam,” she adds.

She started out in Korea, serving from July 1969 to September 1970 at the 2nd Infantry Division, 7th Infantry Division and Camp Red Cloud. “In Korea, a routine day consisted of either working on creating our recreation programs (games, etc.), in the office or traveling in pairs via Jeep, truck or helicopter to deliver these programs (and donuts!) to units of men numbering from 10 to 200.”

After that, she returned home and went to work as a social worker. Soon, however, the Red Cross contacted her and offered her the job of Assistant Director of its program in Vietnam. Stationed in Saigon, she served there from May 1971 to May 1972. It was, she admits,” extremely difficult” work. From Tuesdays to Fridays, she traveled around South Vietnam to help oversee the programs.

There were no routine days, she says. “Each week, I went to a different unit, visited with the ‘girls,’ went on runs with them to various units, met with the military command to make sure they were getting the appropriate support.”

Sometimes, she had to wait hours for transportation. “I once recorded 81 hours of flight time in nine types of aircraft and 98 hours of waiting time,” she remembers.

And get this: Nancy was the very last Donut Dollie to leave Vietnam as the program and the war ended.

Nancy says she wasn’t there to make a political statement or to take a stand or whatever. She was there, simply, to be of help. Her fondest memory in Vietnam was of a Bob Hope show. A handful of Donut Dollies were in the nose-bleed bleachers, when someone arranged for them to sit closer in the arena.

“As we walked down from above, word spread that the Donut Dollies were there and as everyone saw our uniforms, the entire audience stood up and applauded and cheered. It gave us all chills,” she says.

May 2020

Compass
by Sandi Dolbee

Not happening. At least not yet. That’s been the message throughout our community due to COVID-19. Ditto for Lavender Friends.

Among the gatherings put on hold: our Saturday morning coffee socials. But after weeks of separation, the club went the way of many others — we turned to Zoom.

We’ve been checking in weekly, virtually. We talk about foods we’re making (like bread, if they can find yeast, and a Shepherd’s Pie in the microwave because the oven wasn’t working). We share tips on which takeout restaurants are practicing safety measures (masks, gloves, and social distancing).

One poignant Zoom moment: a member was wearing a scarf in honor of those worn by Dr. Deborah Birx of the Coronavirus Task Force. #ConnectingWhileApart!

April 2020

Compass
by Sandi Dolbee

One of our club’s strongest attributes is providing a support system for members. Take, for example, the informal monthly lunches of singles. It got started quite casually and was broadened as more singles moved here and joined the club, which is comprised of LGBTQ residents and allies.

For Joan Lacktis, who also is club president, it’s a good way of sharing what is happening in their lives. Another fan says this: “Being single, we don’t have partners to help us out when needed. This group enables us to connect and help each other when needed.”

March 2020

Compass
by Sandi Dolbee

Nancy Newhart was living in the East Bay and looking for a home in a 55-plus community when she heard about Lavender Friends, a club for LGBTQ residents in Lincoln Hills. On her first visit, she met with club president Joan Lacktis, who showed her around her own home and went to dinner with her at Meridians.

Nancy bought a house on her second visit and moved here last August. The club’s presence was a big factor. “I wanted to be in a community where I would be welcome,” Nancy says. Now the retired sales representative is our new Communications Chair. Why step forward? “I felt like it would be a good way for me to get to know everybody more personally,” she says.

February 2020

Our club ended 2019 with a bang-up winter dinner-dance, which drew 106 people. As in years past, they danced to tunes provided by Jammin’ Jo Productions, a Sacramento DJ. And we are looking forward to this new year’s activities, which will include a reunion event designed to bring together former and current members in honor of the club’s 15th anniversary. The new year also will see some leadership changes. Longtime activities coordinator Denise Webfield is stepping down, as is Communications Coordinator Lynde Rammelsberg. The Steering Committee thanked both for their great work.


Lavender Friends Club members Denise and Leta were the featured couple in the April 2020 edition of the Sun Senior News. This is the first EVER front-page recognition of any same gender couple in this newspaper!

Denise and Leta have been instrumental in blazing the trail for LGBTQ inclusivity at SCLH from the time they first purchased their home here.

They are among the club's founding members we will be honoring at Lavender Friends 15th Anniversary Celebration and Reunion this year!

January 2020

If you Google the word “picnic,” you’ll learn that it comes from the 17th century word, “Picque-nique,” and connotes a “social gathering where each attendee brings a share of the food.” It cropped up in English language around a century later.

In September, in a Lincoln Hills park, Friends celebrated its second annual “picnic,” with shared food ranging from chicken to salads to ice cream. It was, according to organizer Denise Webfield, “spectacular.”

Denise, who chairs the club’s activities committee, reports that about 40 people attended. She wants to particularly thank the folks who organized the games. As she puts it, they “got a bunch of 60-, 70- and 80-year-olds to run around in circles, kick off their shoes, pop balloons with our heinies and even left some of us all wet.”

In a club-wide email, she promised another picnic next year.



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