Lavender Friends LogoPhoto of SCLH Waterfall


Sun City Lincoln Hills

The Lavender Friends Club is a group of LGBTQ individuals and those in friendship residing
in the beautiful 55+ resort-like community of Sun City Lincoln Hills in Lincoln, California 95648

Archives - 2018

December 2018

Sun Senior News
by Sandi Dolbee

A dozen club members gathered last month for a skull-painting party – a colorful ritual whose roots are in Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday to honor the dearly departed.

Taking the time to remember those who have gone on before us so impressed club member Darlene Barbieri that she decided to borrow the idea. Arriving painters were greeted with blank white skulls, rows of brushes and an array of colors.

Winning skulls (from left): Marie Salers, Mary Jo Semmelmayer and Bev Cieslinski.

“I think it’s healthy that they have a ritual to honor the dead,” Darlene explained. “I think it creates better emotional health.”

As participants painted, the talk turned to friends and family who have passed. A sister who died last year. A next-door neighbor who had died that week. And one of our own – Lavender Friends member Shelley Holly, who died of cancer in September. After the painters finished, they voted on which skulls turned out best. Marie Salers won first place for a skull that was adorned with peach-colored roses. Mary Jo Semmelmayer placed second for a skull with ruby red lips and Bev Cieslinski won third for a skull with a purple nose.

And they all got to take home their skulls, a tangible reminder of their own memories and, perhaps, their own mortality.

November 2018

Sun Senior News
by Sandi Dolbee

Jerry Moothart, who turned 91 in September, isn’t just one of the oldest members of the Lavender Friends Club. He’s also one of its pioneers.

Jerry’s story begins in a little railroad town called Wishram, Wash. “There weren’t more than 400 people,” he says. Jerry grew up there until he was in high school, when his father was transferred by the railroad to Portland, Ore.

Jerry Moothart (left) and Jacob Strand

After high school, Jerry went into the army and then to college, where he got interested in theater lighting. He worked for theater companies in Hollywood and Oakland before deciding to switch careers. He attended night school and became a manufacturing engineer, retiring in 1994 from the Schlage lock company (one of his last assignments was as project manager, overseeing the building of a manufacturing plant in Tecate, Mexico).

After living in San Leandro, Guerneville and Palm Springs, Jerry and his partner, Jacob (Jake) Strand, moved to Lincoln Hills in 2001 (they have been together since 1962 and were married in 2008). Once here, they began socializing with other LGBT residents. It was mostly potlucks in homes, remembers Jerry, “but it just kept growing.” Eventually, it was decided to apply for official club status “It was just formed right around us,” Jerry says.

At first, they wanted to name the new club the Lavender Hills Club, Jerry says. But since there is a street named Lavender Hills, organizers decided on Lavender Friends.

Jake, his husband, says one of the best things about the club today is its diverse array of activities. “I think the club is getting more active than it ever has,” says Jake, who is 82 and a retired elementary school teacher with the Hayward district. “It forces us out of our houses,” Jake adds (although the two get out every morning to bicycle around the neighborhood). “There’s constantly something going on.”

Jerry is nodding his head. When he is asked how he likes living in Lincoln Hills, he just smiles. “I can’t think of any place better,” he says.

October 2018

Sun Senior News
by Sandi Dolbee

For the Lavender Friends Club, ACE is a verb.

ACE, which stands for Activities Committee Extraordinaire, gets members out of their homes to do all sorts of things.

Going bowling. Touring the state capitol. Caravanning to Yuba County to see the swans. Dining out in locally owned restaurants. Heading to the movies. Taking a swing at Top Golf. Learning about making vino at Wise Villa Winery or brewing coffee at the Rogers Family Company.

“I think it is important for the group to do things together, and the Lavender Friends Club was a big draw when we decided to move to SCLH,” says ACE committee member Mary Jo Semmelmayer.

“Getting together at potlucks, outings and other activities gives us all in the club a chance to connect with and interact with our wonderful members,” Mary Jo adds. And the ACE meetings themselves are “a lot of fun brainstorming with other committee members.”

But the sleuthing isn’t limited to the committee meetings – or even the folks on that committee. When The Sacramento Bee recently gave rave reviews to a Burmese restaurant in Loomis, emails zipped into the mailbox of the coordinator of our “Adventures in Dining” program.

September 2018

Sun Senior News
by Sandi Dolbee

Coffee klatches have been around for more than a century, as people gather in diners and homes and workplace cafeterias to solve the problems of the world over a cup of joe. The Lavender Friends Club is no exception.

One morning a week, the drop-in event draws anywhere from a half-dozen to a couple dozen members to the Kilaga Springs Cafe. Elaine Kalani, who was the club’s first secretary after it was officially formed here more than a decade ago, sees the gatherings as a chance to reconnect with old members and get to know new ones. “I find them (the coffees) interesting,” she says. Lynde Rammelsberg began attending the weekly gatherings “as soon as I moved in,” she says. Why? “Just to socialize.”

Robin Richie

The subjects range from the movies (two thumbs up for the Mr. Rogers documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”) to the blistering weather (two thumbs down).

A couple who moved here from Santa Cruz is particularly vexed about the heat. “How do you handle it?” one asks. “I move out in August,” a longtime resident answers. Her favorite respite: a campground 7,000 feet above sea level.

When the subject of TV shows comes up, one member shifts into an enthusiastic pitch for her newly purchased Amazon Fire Stick. Conversations continue about water pressure, where to place your carbon monoxide detector and transportation services to the airport. Plans are made to go kayaking. Others talk about their upcoming vacations here and abroad.

Solving the problems of the world? Maybe not. But for one hour each week, over cups of coffee, the bonds of community grow a little stronger.

August 2018

Sun Senior News
by Sandi Dolbee

Robin Richie doesn’t have to think long before coming up with her most memorable moment over the past eight years as director of the Sacramento Women’s Chorus. It was when the chorus went to the Gala Choral Festival in Denver in 2016.

“That was a fabulous experience and was really a strengthening experience for the chorus,” she says. “There’s nothing like performing in front of thousands. It’s just an uplifting experience for both the director and the chorus.”

Richie and her wife, Dru, moved to Lincoln Hills in 2013 and quickly joined Lavender Friends, a club of LGBT residents and allies. “It’s nice to know there is an established community,” she adds.

Robin Richie

As for the chorus, she has seen it grow from 18 members to slightly more than 100. Over the years, she introduced choreography into the performances. “When you add movement into your singing, it takes away some of the tension and improves the sound,” she explains. Besides, she adds, it’s more entertaining.

Richie, who has master’s in music and also teaches instrumental music in the Rocklin school district, wants the Sacramento Women’s Chorus to be a fixture on the arts scene here. To that end, they’ve performed everywhere from the state capital’s rotunda to the River Cats baseball game. Their spring performance, held at B Street Theater’s Sofia Tsakopoulos Center for the Arts in Sacramento, was sold out.

She taps her head in dismay as she talks about the upcoming winter concert on Dec. 8. Because of scheduling challenges, it’s the same date as the Lavender Friends annual holiday dance. “I’m disappointed because it means we can’t go to the dance,” she sighs. As it usually does, the club will provide baskets to be auctioned during the concert’s intermission to raise funds for a local charity.

Despite the scheduling glitch, Richie is excited about the “Once Upon a December” concert because it will include a classical set, along with two sets of the trademark singing and dancing for which the choir is known. “We’re really tackling some tough stuff,” she says.

Over coffee at Kilaga Springs Cafe, her enthusiasm is obvious. “I love my chorus,” she beams. “I absolutely love what I do.”

To learn more about the chorus, go to Lavender Friends information is at

July 2018

Sun Senior News
by Sandi Dolbee

Yes, it’s true. Lavender Friends has gone to the dogs. In fact, many club members do this every Saturday, weather permitting. They arrive, leashes in hand, unload their canine companions and set off.

Sheila Rose, pushing a stroller with her beloved Dreamy Rose (the 12-year-old pug has hip problems), started the club’s dog walks “forever ago.” The activity lagged after awhile, until Denise Webfield jump-started it about three years ago. Denise is walking Sofee, a Havanese, and like several others in the bunch is a rescue dog (it’s up for grabs about who rescued whom).

Some of our Lavender Friends members and their pooches after walking at Angler”s Cove.

The dogs on this particular morning range in size from Skylar, a Miniature Schnauzer who is 15 inches long, to Leila, a greyhound mix who stands about five feet when she jumps up. “They call her the big dog,” says Joan Lacktis about Leila. “It’s good for her self-image.”

Along the path, the conversations range from advice on getting a new kitchen countertop to an upcoming picnic. But ask them why they have dogs and their answers are strikingly similar.

“They love you unconditionally,” says Meredith Nelson, who is two-timing it with Badger and Milo connected to coupled leashes.

“She’s my best friend,” says Lynde Rammelsberg, Skylar’s Mom.

And it’s good exercise. Just look at Murphy, a healthy-looking doxie who is tugging along Michelle Poirier. “He’s a handful,” she laughs.

June 2018

Sun Senior News
by Sandi Dolbee

More than 80 people attended the Lavender Friends’ annual spring dance, which was held April 28 at Turkey Creek Golf Course.

As an added bonus: attendees got portraits of themselves, courtesy of Jammin’ Jo, a popular Sacramento-area DJ who was providing music for the dance.

As it turns out, the DJ also is a professional photographer, so participants got to line up in front of a landscaped backdrop that Turkey Creek has designed for such photo shoots.

Organizers called the dance a big success. It also was a casual affair, with a barbecue menu that included pulled pork and coleslaw, and a choice of root beer floats or build-your-own sundaes for dessert.

Lavender Friends, which represents the LGBT community in Lincoln Hills, hosts two dances a year – spring and winter.

May 2018

Sun Senior News
by Sandi Dolbee

Lady bugs ruled – as far as the judges were concerned – at last month’s rock-painting party for Lavender Friends.

Lady bug renditions were part of the first and second place submissions. Nancy Calcese won first place for her two painted rocks – a lady bug and a mutli-colored series of hearts. Elaine Kalani, who won second place, also painted a lady bug on a rock, along with a frog on another rock. And in third place, Bev Cieslinski and Mary Jo Semmelmayer teamed up on a plate of five rocks – two of them with dot patterns, a cat, a heart and a flower.

Nancy Calcese”s first place rocks.

After gathering for lunch, participants picked up their brushes – some as thin as pencils – and began to channel their inner Monet.

“The rock,” they were told, “can be a great keepsake or gift.”

Deborah Turnor, one of the organizers, said it’s a good way to meet new friends within the club. “I thought of doing it just to have camaraderie and share ties with people,” said Deborah, who moved to Lincoln Hills in December 2016. “I think that’s important in life.”

One soon-to-be-retired member decorated her rock with the word: “Free.” And there was one rock that was, well, indescribable.

April 2018

Sun Senior News
by Sandi Dolbee

Stand Up Placer. The Sacramento Women’s Chorus. Sierra College. Placer County’s PFLAG chapter. These are only some of the groups that have benefitted from the efforts of Marie Salers and the charity outreach committee that she leads on behalf of Lavender Friends.

Lavender Friends is a club that serves the LGBT community in Lincoln Hills. The outreach charity committee is called Lavender Hearts and Marie has been its chair for the past six years.

Lavender Hearts' leader Marie Salers.

“Our committee’s chosen charity is Stand Up Placer, which supports domestic violence victims, abused children and victims of sex trafficking in Placer County,” says Marie, who is herself a retired nursing supervisor at UCD Medical Center. She organizes meals for the Stand Up Placer’s “safe house” and collects clothing for its thrift shop. In addition, Lavender Hearts helps the women in the program have nice clothing and toiletries, “so they can attend court dates and appear at job interviews looking their best,” Marie explains.

Last year, Lavender Hearts also held a fund-raiser for an LGBT program at Sierra College and donated baskets for a Sacramento Women’s Chorus benefit. Members also assist in judging Placer County PFLAG’s scholarship program for high school students.

“Later this year, I will be organizing a group from our club to assist the Salt Mine in distributing food to the needy in Lincoln,” says Marie.

By the way, Marie is a Placer County Master Gardener, which means that when she’s not busy with Lavender Hearts, she teaches research-based gardening information to the public.

While primarily a social group, Lavender Friends’ mission statement makes it clear that “equally important is our goal of supporting one another and offering service to our community.” You can learn about the club’s events and programs at

Marie sums up her motivation this way: “I believe what we do for each other we receive back tenfold.”

March 2018

Sun Senior News
by Sandi Dolbee

There is nothing trivial about The Golden Girls. Formed last summer to participate in the weekly Brain Freeze Trivia Nights at the Meridians Sports bar (6 p.m. Thursdays), more than a dozen members of our Lavender Friends Club – from newcomers to veterans – have played a role on the team. Max size is six players each week, and there’s always someone ready to answer the call for a sub or a more-permanent role. Last month, two extra club members showed up and we loaned them out to Mindy’s Minions, who in turn took this picture for us.

Some of The Golden Girls teammates
get photo-bombed by the real Golden Girls.

Although The Golden Girls isn’t an official Lavender Friends event, it did grow out of our weekly Saturday morning coffee gatherings held at 10 a.m. at Kilaga Cafe. One morning last summer, a member was telling about Brain Freeze Trivia. Afterward, one member looked over at another member and asked, “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Over the months, it’s become like any “sports” team, which fi nds players bonding and getting called upon to help out in other walks of life (rides to doctor’s appointments, kayaking and bowling trips, helping pick out TV mounts). The Golden Girls also decided early on to give any winnings ($15 fi rst, $10 second and $5 third) to the wait staff because they are the ones doing the real work. Who knows, maybe your club will want to spin off a team yourself. See you there!

February 2018

Sun Senior News
by Sandi Dolbee

You could get exhausted just by reading about Joan Lacktis’ schedule. She volunteers weekly or FieldHaven Feline Center and the Salt Mine charity in Lincoln. She’s also a longtime lay leader and former president of her faith community, Sierra Foothills Unitarian Universalists in Auburn. And she volunteers with Faithful Friends, which visits people in immigration detention.

Joan Lacktis and her 5-year-old dog, Leila.

And now there’s more. Joan is the new president of Lavender Friends, the club for the LGBT community in Lincoln Hills. Elected in January at the biannual business meeting, Joan replaces Kate McCarthy (actually, she and Joan switched roles and Kate is the new vice president).

One of the reasons Lacktis moved here in 2015 was because of Lavender Friends. “I knew there was an active gay and lesbian group and I knew I would be welcome here,” she says.

Now she wants to give back. “I want Lavender Friends to be friends,” she says, “welcoming to the LGBTQ people who come to Lincoln Hills.“It’s a social group primarily but I want people to see that we’re here. We’re getting older too and we have some of the same needs, too.”

A Pennsylvania native, Joan has a Ph.D. in physiology and spent a dozen years in research before she realized she’d rather be a school teacher. “I liked showing kids something for the first time,” she explains. She retired after 23 years of teaching chemistry, physics, biology and technology. Her last gig was at Twelve Bridges Middle School.

January 2018

Sun Senior News
by Darla Purdy

Regular activities include Dog Walkers and Friends gathering on Saturdays at 9 AM (weather permitting). After the walk, the group meets at Kilaga Springs Café for coffee. You are welcome to go for coffee, even if you don’t walk a dog. Call for location of the walk.

Movie Days are on the third Tuesday of the month. The group meets for Happy Hour after the movie, or you can just attend the Happy Hour. Call for the movie and Happy Hour times and locations.

On the first Wednesday of the month, we meet at 9:30 AM for the breakfast buffet at Thunder Valley. Bring your Thunder Valley card, or get there a little early to get one. It gives you a sizable senior discount. There is a tasty selection of foods, and we have great conversations and laughs.

We will be having our biannual business meeting on January 6 at 3 PM. Members, please attend, as it is important to have the input of the members, plus we need enough people attending to have a quorum for issues that need a vote of the membership. We wish you all a Happy New Year!

Community Activities: Greater Placer PFLAG meets on the second Monday of the month from 7 to 9 pm at the Sutter Faith Auburn Hospital, 11815 Education Street, Auburn, in Conference Room 4, next to the cafeteria. Check their website for information on guest speakers.

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