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 - 2022

December 2022

Sun Senior News
By Sandi Dolbee

Some great things got their start in a garage. Walt Disney launched Disney Studios tinkering with stick figure animations in his uncle’s garage. Steve Jobs and colleagues created Apple in his parents’ garage. And Jeff Bezos’ Amazon empire began by selling books out of a garage.

Ditto for our club’s annual holiday dance, which made its debut in the garage of one of our members on a chilly December evening nearly 20 years ago.

From there, the dance moved to an old schoolhouse, which dance committee member Sharon K. remembers was rather dismal. It was too small, didn’t have not enough heat and the sound system was “lousy.”

About that time, club member Michelle P. took over coordination of the dance. She negotiated with a local clubhouse to use its facility and arranged for a catered prime rib dinner. “We rented a dance floor,” she adds.

How’d it turn out? “It was such a fun event,” she says. “Most of the people there were couples so it was just a fun night to be with your partner.”

The dance has been going strong ever since — in the same venue. Each year, on the second Saturday in December, upwards of a 100 people from throughout the region get blinged up to mingle under the festive lights of the season and dance to music provided by well known Sacramento disc jockey, Jammin’ Jo.

There have been some changes. The clubhouse got its own dance floor, the menu has changed to tri tip and Michelle is no longer in charge, turning it over after a couple years to a dance committee.

Members are reminded to watch their inboxes for the weekly email of upcoming activities — such as the coffee socials on the first Saturday of the month to honor that month’s birthdays.

November 2022

Sun Senior News
By Sandi Dolbee

It’s a friendly debate that’s been going on for years. Which Sun City restaurant is better, ours or the one in Roseville?

With that in mind, about 20 of us drove over to Timbers at the Lodge for a Tuesday night dinner as one of our “Adventures in Dining” events. The timing itself was a big hit, since that restaurant waives it corkage fees on Tuesdays. Our members took advantage of the offer, arriving with their favorite wines (an even balance of reds and whites, for the record).

Entrees ranged from chicken piccata to liver and onions. Dessert was provided by one of our members — a sheet cake in honor of another member’s birthday.

Diners were impressed by the service and how the three tables set aside for us were nicely grouped next to each other (rather than sitting at a long banquet table, Adventures in Dining favors multiple tables of four to eight seats, plus ordering off the regular menu, to allow for a more-authentic dinner experience).

As for the Meridians versus Timbers debate? There were as many opinions as diners. And so it goes.

As we head into the finals months of the year, there’s more food in our future — including the annual holiday dinner dance, set for December 10th. And some exercise, too, with the club’s annual Turkey Trot (a walk on the trails) on the day after Thanksgiving. Watch your emails for details about those and other activities.

October 2022

Sun Senior News
By Sandi Dolbee

What do ice cream, diapers and boxes of groceries have to do with each other? At first glance, not much. But for Lavender Friends, it’s how many of us spent our time as late-summer temperatures parked themselves in the red zone.

Let’s start with the ice cream. Thirty-eight people showed up for ice cream sundaes on a Saturday night. The club provided the ice cream and participants contributed various toppings — from pots of hot fudge to sliced-up bananas and strawberries and cans of whipped cream. Ice cream maven Denise Webfield, who put the event together, already is talking about a sequel next summer.

Jan Barnes makes a Saturday night sundae.

And the diapers? Club president Marilyn Kupcho and longtime member Robyn Lock coordinated a diaper drive for Lighthouse Counseling and Family Services, as part of the Placer County Business Alliance Diaper Drive. They filled up Robyn’s SUV with 2,028 baby diapers and 344 baby wipes.

Now for the grocery boxes: A half-dozen club members were part of a service project at the Salt Mine recently, packing up produce, meat, dairy, bread and sweets for the needy as part of the charity’s Saturday morning food distribution program. Marie Salers was in charge — and we are looking to expand it to an even bigger group in the future.

Later this month, when temperatures (hopefully) are more civil, we will be holding a bocce ball outing. Other future plans include an Adventures in Dining visit to Club Pheasant, a West Sacramento fixture that after 87 years has announced its plans to close its doors at the end of this year. That’s one more chance to sample the restaurant’s famous raviolis and steak sandwiches. Stay tuned — and keep an eye out for your weekly emails of events and activities.

September 2022

Sun Senior News
By Sandi Dolbee

It began with a casual comment over lunch with some other members of Lavender Friends. The club was looking for a new treasurer, he was told. The current treasurer, Nancy Sartor, was wonderful but she had termed out.

David Black thought to himself, “That’s one way I can help and contribute.” So he called our president, Marilyn Kupcho, and volunteered.

David Black, our new treasurer.

It became official in July, when David was unanimously elected our new treasurer at our biannual business meeting.

David is a retired horticulturalist with the federal government. A Cal-Poly grad (class of 1976), his last assignment was working in Sacramento as a trade specialist with the USDA, advising California growers on exporting their products to other countries. He grew up in Sacramento, but this time around he bought a house in Wheatland. He enjoyed the commute, especially driving back from his downtown office and passing by the rice fields and orchards of his more rural surroundings.

He moved to Lincoln Hills in June 2021, following his sister and brother-in-law, who also are residents. It was his sister who told him about Lavender Friends, a club of LGBTQ residents and their allies.

This isn’t his first gig at being a volunteer treasurer. When he was working in the Bay Area, he served as treasurer and later became the president of a local branch of the National Association of Agriculture Employees.

Although one of our newer members, David quickly became a familiar face when he took on the task of registering members as they arrived for our BBQ mixer in June.

Meanwhile, Nancy’s days of crunching numbers are not done. She’s now serving as treasurer for the Lincoln Hills Ladies XVIII golf club (ask her about her most recent hole-in-one).

David’s motive for becoming treasurer hasn’t changed since that luncheon. “It’s just a way to get involved and be helpful,” he says.

August 2022

Sun Senior News
By Sandi Dolbee

It begins with a mystery. A family friend had called upon Tom Brutting to help her unlock an ornate Chinese cabinet she had inherited from her cousin. No key was to be found but, finally, his husband managed to jiggle it open.

What they found inside became a metaphor for Tom’s first-ever book, a memoir of personal recollections entitled “Unlocking Cousin Daisy’s Cabinet.”

Tom Brutting and his memoir of life lessons and “the power of saying yes” (Photo courtesy Conrad Press)

Released in April by The Conrad Press, a British-based, independent publishing house, the book is not your typical autobiography. Instead of the traditional chronological narrative, the chapters read more like separate essays — by design.

“I wanted the stories to stand on their own,” explains Tom, who moved here in January from the Bay Area with his husband, Ed York, a retired tax preparer. They quickly became two of Lavender Friends’ newest members.

He spent much of the COVID-19 clampdown writing the book — at least four hours a day, seven days a week. From growing up in New York, to studying at Tulane University in New Orleans and his career as an award-winning architect, he wrote of lessons learned during his eclectic travels, his experiences with family and friends, his culinary adventures, as well as some very tough times (including the murder of a friend, where during the trial he overheard the grandmother of one of the defendants say “she couldn’t understand the big deal as they had only killed a gay man”).

Before Tom was finished, he had written more than 500 pages, ending with uplifting testimonials on such topics as community, work and love.

His bottom line message to readers: “I want them to feel that we should face all our challenges in life in a positive way.”

Oh, yeah, what did they find inside cousin Daisy’s cabinet? Guess you’ll just have to read the book.

Lavender Friends is a club of LGBTQ residents and their supporters.

July 2022

Sun Senior News
By Sandi Dolbee

With the ceiling fans spinning and the misters spraying to cool us down in the heat wave, nearly 60 club members gathered at the Sports Pavilion last month for the return of our mixers. That’s almost a two-thirds turnout, which president Marilyn Kupcho noted was a number that Placer County Elections would have dearly loved in the recent primary election.

The mixers were launched several years ago to help new and old members get to know each other better. This particular mixer also came with a catered barbecue dinner and ice cream for dessert. The no-host bar and ice chests filled with water helped keep us refreshed. And we had the best elixir of all: each other.

Our club’s mixers returned last month with a BBQ dinner in the Sports Pavilion.

Membership chair Sara Vega, who was in charge of organizing the event, welcomed 16 of the men and women who have joined since COVID sidelined our mixers and paid homage to the members who were here back when the club was officially organized in 2009.

Sara also gave a shoutout to all the volunteers who made this happen – from decorators to folks who staffed the registration table and the servers who scooped up the potato salad, coleslaw, beans, chicken, pulled pork and veggie burgers.

“People really were ready to reconnect,” Sara said afterward. “To see their old friends – and to make new ones.”

June 2022

Sun Senior News
By Sandi Dolbee

Sheila Rose was worried.

“At the time, I didn’t think the newer members were really getting to know the existing members — or vice versa,” remembers Sheila, who was our club’s membership coordinator.

Sheila Rose

So she had an idea to hold a members-only event that combined food with a meet-and-greet. The upshot? Says Sheila unabashedly: “It was a big hit!”

That was several years ago, and since then the mixers have become an anticipated highlight — whether we gathered in the Solarium at Meridians for appetizers or in a room at Kilaga with meatballs and shrimp in a do-it-themselves affair spearheaded by another membership coordinator, Laura Niles.

COVID sidelined our mixers — but this month will mark their return with a special catered BBQ dinner at the Sports Pavilion.

There’s a new membership coordinator, Sara Vega, though the goal remains the same: to help newbies and old-timers get to know each other better. This is particularly important since we have had more than a dozen new members join since our last mixer.

That this return is being held during Pride month is especially fitting. Just as Black History month in February and Women’s History month in March honor the accomplishments of those demographics, Pride month is set aside to pay homage to the LGBTQ communities across America.

In 1999, President Bill Clinton issued the first presidential proclamation for Pride month in June, saying in part: “I encourage all Americans to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities that celebrate our diversity, and to remember throughout the year the gay and lesbian Americans whose many and varied contributions have enriched our national life.”

So it goes for the proud members of Lavender Friends, a club formed to represent and support LGBTQ residents here in Lincoln Hills.

Like so many other residents, our members have come from all over the country after enriching careers in the military and education, medicine and engineering, and in many other public and private sectors of our workforce. After settling here, we have participated proudly in our new home as mailbox captains and Neighborhood Watch members, as well as volunteers in the local libraries, food bank, animal shelters, community garden, houses of worship and sports teams.

You might say we live out our Pride in as many ways as the colors on the rainbow flags flown this time of year.

But back to the mixers. When the last bit of veggie burger and pulled pork and chicken is served at this month’s BBQ, Sara’s hopes mirror those of Sheila from years ago: that we all will leave more comfortable in each other’s presence. “To get acquainted and reacquainted,” is how Sara puts it.

Compass Magazine

Lavender Friends Club ad for Pride Month - June 2022

May 2022

Sun Senior News
By Sharon Kurth

Since our formation 16 years ago, our club has supported Stand Up Placer ’s efforts to serve survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking in Placer County.

We have participated in their fundraising events, subsidized holiday meals to safe-house occupants, coordinated clothing drives for the agency’s thrift store and, most recently, donated $887 to support the agency’s mission.

Marie Salers (right) presents a check for $887 to volunteer Marian Ames of Stand Up Placer.

Marie Salers, who spearheaded many of these events, expressed gratitude for the agency’s inclusivenesses to serve the LGBTQ community.

“The club has invited Stand Up Placer staff as speakers at club functions to educate our members of the agency’s mission, and encourage club members to promote their services to people they know outside of the club,” Marie said. “At times, the LGBTQ community is in need of these types of services and it is reassuring to know that LGBTQ referrals in Placer County are not denied when crisis intervention is needed.”

April 2022

Sun Senior News
by Sandi Dolbee

Listening to new club members tell their stories recently was a reminder of the depth and breadth of backgrounds of the men and women who live here in Lincoln Hills.

Several of them were born and raised in California. They worked in education and health, in state agencies, such as CalTrans and Corrections, and at least one is still in the workforce. Among them is a trained horticulturalist and a former assistant conductor of an Army band.

One new member joined as an ally, a designation given to those who join in support of our club, which was founded 16 years ago for LGBTQ residents.

In all, 14 people joined Lavender Friends over the past two years. They were welcomed at a special reception hosted Feb. 22 by membership chair Sara Vega. Most of these new members moved here during the pandemic, braving the COVID clampdown to pick up and start a new life in this (usually) very active community.

Meanwhile, the club held its first-ever pool party in Orchard Creek’s billiards room, after which they were joined by other members for an outdoor happy hour at Meridians.

Coming up soon is a bocce ball outing and a wine tasting – part of our ever-evolving journey through the diversity of offerings in our community and its surroundings. And on June 11, which also happens to be during the month of Pride, we will hold our first members-only mixer since the pandemic began two years ago. Plans are for a catered barbecue, complete with no-host bar. RSVP forms and details are being emailed to members.

March 2022

Sun Senior News
by Sandi Dolbee

Each year, we’ve come to call the ritual of turning our clocks ahead an hour as a time to “spring forward.” It’s also an apt title for what our club is doing – springing forward, tentatively and (hopefully) safely, with a cornucopia of ideas for activities.

In addition to a brunch on March 12, here’s what we are looking at for the coming months: bocce ball and social hour, a winery visit, a potluck and game night, and soaking up some local history at a museum here in town.

Oh, yeah, in honor of Pride month, mark your calendar for an all-club mixer on June 11.

Details are still being firmed up as of this writing, so pay attention to that weekly list of happenings, which arrives in your email on Fridays.

Meanwhile, the biannual meeting of our club’s Steering Committee is set for July 16 and the all-member biannual business meeting will follow on July 30.

As for that other “spring forward,” don’t forget to turn your clocks ahead one hour for Daylight-saving Time in the early morning of March 13.

February 2022

Sun Senior News
by Sandi Dolbee

You know the story: a new year brings new changes – and, in our case, news of a special gift on our behalf.

In December, club representative Sharon Kurth presented $2,427 to the PFLAG Greater Placer County Bob Wiseman Memorial Scholarship Fund. The money was collected at two events – a chili cookoff and our 13th annual holiday dinner-dance – in a donation canister, named “Bob.” Sharon spearheaded the drive on behalf of our club’s Lavender Hearts committee.

Sharon Kurth (right) presents Margot Fulmer, chair of the PFLAG Scholarship Committee, with a check for $2,427.

In her announcement of the gift, club president Marilyn Kupcho noted that Lavender Friends is committed to supporting nonprofit organizations that serve the LGBTQ community. PFLAG is a national organization that provides resources and support for lesbians and gays and their families and friends.

As for the administrative changes, Marilyn has appointed Sara Vega as the new Membership chair, replacing Laura Niles, who for four years faithfully reached out to new members (including nine this past year). Sara joined the club two years ago (she moved here from Rocklin) and is looking forward to helping new members settle into our community. As she puts it, she wants “to be of service, in a very small way.”

And Nancy Newhart has been reappointed Communications chair for a second two-year term. Among her duties is putting out a newsletter of events that she affectionately calls “the weekly,” which arrives in our email boxes by breakfast time on Fridays. Her goal: “to get people excited about coming to events.”

If members have noticed that Nancy’s emails seem to be getting longer, with more graphics and details, it’s not their imagination. She blames it on her advertising degree. “I’m just trying to make it more interesting,” she says.

A California native, Nancy moved here in August 2019 from Pleasant Hill in Contra Costa County. Five months later, she volunteered for the Communications position. “What better way to get to know the club and its members,” she explains.

January 2022

Sun Senior News
by Paula Kregel

December was a festive month for our club, with two holiday celebrations enjoyed by members. Our largest event of the year, the annual Holiday Dinner/Dance, was held at Turkey Creek with 93 members and guests attending. The dance floor was full all evening as our favorite DJ, Jammin’ Jo, provided the tunes that kept everyone moving. Jammin’ Jo has brought her talents to 11 of the 13 holiday dances held by Lavender Friends. Generous attendees also donated $1,732 for the Placer PFLAG scholarship.

Safety was a top priority, with proof of vaccination required. “Everyone had a great time and welcomed getting back to normal for a change,” said Sharon Kurth, co-chair of the event. “The club’s decision to check COVID vaccination status made everyone feel at ease being together.”

Another season festivity was a Holiday Brunch at Meridians. Club members enjoyed good food and company, sharing holiday plans, New Years’ activities, and more.

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