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!
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.
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,
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.
$40 per year
their dues on July 1 every year. Of course, the dues
are prorated for those who join in mid-year.
How to Join
Why not join us today and
get in on the fun? Email or write to the following addresses
to ask any questions or to request a membership form, or
print the form from this site.
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 Fellows Hall.
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!
Mature Friends, its officers,
directors, and members, hereinafter known as The Club, may
assist members to arrange travel, outings, meals, and other
activities. The Club assumes no responsibility for any loss,
injury or expense incurred by members’ participation in these
activities, and cannot be held liable for any acts of
commission, or omission, on behalf of any vendors that may be
involved. Participants should take measures to protect their
investments and participation in group activities.
Where We Meet
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)
Ballard Odd Fellows Hall
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
Like any army of people, we at
Mature Friends travel on our stomach. Practically every time
we get together, we eat. To accomplish this feat, we offer
four regular activities centered around food. Each activity
consists of either dining in or dining out. Actually, there
are more than four, but the others are informal, such as the
lunch out after exercise class on Wednesdays.
|We Eat Out
|Dinners for Six
there are only two dining in activities per month, they are
major lynch pins that hold us together and allow us to share
our culinary arts with other members of the group.
On the last
Friday of each month, members at large get together for a
potluck dinner in Ballard. This event is the brick and mortar
of Mature Friends, allowing members to keep in touch regularly
and to welcome new and prospective members.
Our Potlucks Attract Quite a Crowd!
For information about the potluck for this month, click the
Dish to Bring
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:
- In June instead of the potluck,
we celebrate the anniversary of Mature Friends with a lavish
banquet at an upscale location. In June 2010 this annual event
was held at the beautiful Women's University Club of Seattle.
For details of previous banquet, please click the following:
- In August, we substitute
a potluck picnic luncheon in Woodland Park. For details of
last year’s picnic, please click the following button:
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.
We Eat Out
If 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
Dates and Times
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 atmosphere.
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
Relive Last Year's Event
addition to the lunches, once a month the group meets for
dinner out. For variety, the specific restaurant will change
from time to time. Lately, we’ve been meeting at the 125th
Street Grill, which offers a varied menu, high in
quality. The 125th Street Grill, like any other restaurant
we choose, offers a full bar, separate checks, and easy
What We Do
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.
the schedule for all activities for this month by clicking
the following link:
Schedule at a Glance
you been reading lately? If you like to read
contemporary fiction and non-fiction, we have just the
club for you! Our book club gives members an opportunity
to read and discuss one book every other month. We aim to
choose books that receive critical acclaim, often because
they have won a literary or journalistic prize or simply
because they are best sellers and people are talking about
them. Since quite a few of these noteworthy books now
include gay and lesbian themes, we often read such books.
Although we don’t promise that every book will be a gem,
we take the attitude that we can learn something from any
We meet every other month in
the early evening and in a member’s home, where we share
some cookies and coffee, spend a little time getting to
know each other, and settle down to discuss the book. A
lot of thoughtful discussion ensues, and you will have a
good time joining in. This isn’t the graduate level
seminar you would find at a university, but if you like
reading and want to share ideas with others in a spirit of
conviviality, this is for you.
Look for the announcement in
the newsletter identifying the book and the meeting place.
All the books we read are in paperback and most of the
books come from the Seattle Public Library’s special
collection for book clubs.
Some books we've read
Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
- True History of the Kelly
Gang, by Peter Carey
- The Whistling Season
by Ivan Doig
- Things Fall Apart,
by Chinua Achebe
- River Town, by
- Heart of Darkness,
by Joseph Conrad
And many more!
are you waiting for? Sign up for this month’s book today!
Be sure to check the newsletter for current
- The Swimming Pool Library,
by Alan Hollinghurst
don’t know a small cap from a large cap or even a baseball
cap? Well, Mature Friends has a solution — A Better Club
for Investing, which meets at 7:00 p.m. once a month,
usually on the first or second Monday.
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
Jenny Craig! Join Mature Friends, and meet others who like
to keep active. Every Wednesday morning a group of varying
abilities meets at the Ballard Odd Fellows Hall for an hour
of stretching, bending, and moving. Total cost is only $6.00
per person per month, to help pay for supplies and rent for
After the class, those who didn’t get
enough movement head off for a brisk walk around Green Lake
to help work up a hearty appetite for . . .
what else? — lunch! at a nearby restaurant.
The exercise group is coordinated by
Don McK, who has served on the Mature Friends' board as
treasurer and is an avid fitness buff.
you're a seasoned player or trying to get your skills back
from those marathon card games in college, you will enjoy
our card nights. Pick a game that suits your interest and
come on down!
card sharks only, members who are interested in testing
their skills meet every Wednesday at the Odd Fellows Hall in
Ballard. Not exactly tournament bridge or cutthroat, this activity is for anyone
no matter the level of skill, from beginner to pro. The
purpose is to relax and have some fun at the card table.
There is a slight fee collected to off-set the rental of the
hall, but it's well worth it.
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.
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, 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
Walking and Hiking
structured 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.
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.
all shutterbugs! Whether you're a point-and-click novice
or an Annie Leibovitz pro, as long as you love to shoot
pictures, we've got a club for you. The Camera Club,
newly formed in 2010, invites you to share your work
with others, trade tips, ask questions about your
camera, and go on photo shoots. The club meets once a
month on Wednesday, about mid-month. However, when the
weather is good, there may be other outings on Saturday.
Be sure to check the newsletter for the next meeting.
You won't want to miss it!
Who Runs Us
coordinate a big group with a number of activities, you need
careful organization and leadership. Mature Friends has
both. During the May potluck each year, we elect a 10-person
board of directors from the membership at large, and this
board elects officers from its membership. Meeting monthly,
the board and officers manage the affairs of the
organization. Board members and officers can serve up to
four years consecutively.
Board Is Organized
in turn, is split into committees, headed by board members.
Each committee is responsible for a specific group activity
or event. All members are encouraged to serve on the board
or on a committee, in line with their interests.
As mentioned earlier, Mature Friends
publishes a monthly newsletter to inform the membership of
upcoming events and to convey additional information of
general interest. In the newsletter, you’ll find a calendar
of the current month’s events so that you can see at a
glance what’s going on when. Although board members write
the main content of the newsletter, Mature Friends
encourages everyone to submit an article now and then.
How to Contact Us
have any questions or would like further details about any
specific events or about Mature Friends in general, please
contact us either by regular mail or e-mail:
PO Box 21203
Seattle, WA 98111-3203
has a past. Some are quite . . . what’s the polite word? Oh,
yes . . . colorful. And others are quite sordid. Then there
are those . . . well, you don’t really want to know. But
many are open books. Luckily, Mature Friends’ history is the
Need a History
history of any organization resides in its members. This is
all the more so with voluntary organizations. However, with
the passage of time, individuals with knowledge of the
organization moving on for one reason or another, leading to
a loss of its history.
Preserving an organization’s history is vital, not only for
the continuity of the organization, but also as a legacy for
the future of the community it serves. Mature Friends has
been an organization for older gay men and women for many
years, but has not made any concerted effort to record its
Gay studies is 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. So,
in June 2005, the Board of Mature Friends established a
History Committee and allocated funding to gather and
document the early history of Mature Friends.
Obtained the History
One of our
long-time members, Wes N., was appointed Chairman of the
History Committee. A group of volunteers gathered together
to decide upon the operation of the committee — how it will gather its information and how it will
make available its findings in a form and place accessible
to future scholars and laymen.
The committee decided to obtain oral
histories from as many of the founding and early members as
could be identified and assembled. A set of questions
covering important topics that each of the interviewees
should address was compiled. Each interview session was
recorded on tape and later transcribed. For this task, the
committee was fortunate in having the services and
cooperation of Ruth Pettis of the Seattle Gay History
Project. Alvin Fritz of the Gay Library of the University of
Washington (U.W.) was also contacted. The U.W. Library will
be the final repository of the information collected and the
final report, as well as ancillary documents.
The committee interviewed ten persons
who were founding members or were members at an early stage
of the club. The interviews were conducted in an informal
setting, with the interviewee free to recall his or her
early experiences with the club. Committee members in
attendance were free to interject, to comment on, amplify
and in some instances correct statements that were made. It
was apparent at this stage, some 16 – 18 years after the
founding of the club, that memories were a little hazy.
Fortunately, the club has a extensive archive of materials
which was an invaluable resource in the preparation of this
The list of committee members,
questions asked of the interviewees, and individuals
interviewed are listed in the appendixes, which are not
So, grab your favorite snack, and pull
your chair closer to the computer. Relax and enjoy an
overview of how this unique group formed and how it became
the large, multifaceted social group we have today, with
over 250 members.
persons interviewed generally agreed that John Reeder was
the catalyst behind the formation of Mature Friends. John
had not intended to found a new organization, but had
preferred to work with existing organizations. One such
organization was the Lavender Panthers, an off shoot of the
Gay and Lesbian Task Force, a group created by the then
Mayor of Seattle, Wes Uhlman. John was interested in having
an organization as a safe place where men and women of the
community can come together. John’s first association with
the Lavender Panthers was to help them organize a Christmas
party in 1988. John enthusiastically helped plan the party,
and in the end, did the decorations with fresh greens,
provided red table cloths and a program. John’s energetic
efforts were not viewed favorably by the women who comprised
most of the original members of the Lavender Panthers. His
efforts were regarded as a “taking over” of the club.
John still felt a need for an
organization where older gays and lesbians, those over 50
years of age, could meet socially in a safe environment. A
safe environment meant a non-bar environment, in as much as
these were older people for whom the bar scene was not a
good place to meet others in a similar age range. In
addition, John himself had recovered from alcoholism, so
bars were not a good environment for him. John put together
some ideas and called upon Don Moreland and Harold Mick, who
were both at that fateful Christmas party. As early as
January 4, 1989, letters of invitation were sent to friends
to attend an organizational meeting on January 13, 1989. A
second meeting on January 27, 1989, was held to elect
temporary officers and to consider a name for the
organization. The first or acting officers were: Don
Moreland, president; Shirley M., vice-president; Eugene Van
V., treasurer, and John Reeder, secretary. A specifically
gay name was to be avoided since many of the target
population (that is, prospective members) were wary about
being in an outwardly gay organization. A dichotomy should
be noted, as pointed out by several of the interviewees,
that some of the same people had no qualms about frequenting
the gay bars. A name was expeditiously chosen, as
correspondence soon after the January 27 meeting contained
the name “Mature Friends.” Legend has it that either John
Reeder or Glen H. sat down with a dictionary and came up
with the right combination of words. The name was also
attributed to one of the early members, Dorothy F. The group
was known thereafter as “Mature Friends.” The statement of
purpose was “Mature Friends is a resource organization of
individuals 50 years and older promoting human services,
social interaction, education, and comradrie (sic) in and
for the Lesbian and Gay community.”
With February 1989 coming up, a
Valentine party for gay and lesbian seniors was planned. The
social room at Grace Gospel Church in Ballard was obtained
free of charge. Invitations were sent out and others were
contacted by word of mouth. Around 25 people attended. It
might be said that Mature Friends had its beginning at that
[I recall attending a
February potluck a year or two later at Greenwood Hall,
which John Reeder had decorated in a Valentine theme. John
proclaimed it an anniversary potluck. — D. Lee].
While the Valentine party was a success, it should be noted
that it was a new experience for many of the people who
attended. Many had lived their lives with their gay persona
hidden from all but their closest friends, and here they
were, at a party with people whom they barely knew or had
not known at all. As John recalled, people barely uttered
their first names.
The success of the Valentine party
prompted the fledging organization to look for a larger
space. Again, it was John Reeder who came to the fore. John
had access to Greenwood Hall in Phinney Ridge. He lived next
door and managed the hall. Club members helped to clean up
and paint the hall, and helped John install a small kitchen.
The monthly potlucks and activities such as the Bridge group
met at Greenwood Hall until 1995. By then the membership had
grown and a larger space was needed. Thanks to a lead from
member Bob Johnson, the club moved to the Odd Fellows Hall
in Ballard, where the group continues to meet at the present
In the months following that first
Valentine party, John, Don, Harold (nicknamed “Mick”) Eugene
Van V., Shirley M., Glen H., and many others continued to
meet. They still had in mind Mature Friends as a social
service organization. To be a credible organization when it
came to tax exempt (501(c)3) status consideration, they felt
it necessary to be on a sound financial footing. Fund
raising activities were planned. One such fundraising
activity was a garage sale, which was tremendously
successful. Other fundraisers were progressive dinners, at
which attendees contributed money. These activities put the
club on a firm financial basis. The progressive dinners
eventually evolved into the “Table for Eight,” social
gatherings wherein members gathered in groups of eight for
dinner at a member’s home. They would then rotate among the
group of eight. Eight people for dinner proved to be
unwieldy and the concept changed to "Table of Six."
Recently, this activity has been renamed more appropriately
“Dinner for Six,” which has been quite successful and
continues to the present time.
Social activities were always part of
Mature Friends. Some of the early activities were Saturday
Socials, Lunch/Tea Dance, and outings such as one to the
Tulip Festival. Travel was spearheaded by Eugene Van V. and
is still one of the major activities today. The Saturday
Social and the Lunch/Tea Dance did not last for long, but
very soon dining out, both lunch and dinner, became a
regular activity. Garden tours was also a popular activity.
Both the dining out and garden tours were ideas promoted by
Glen H. [It should be
noted that Glen H. was a Landscape Architect]. A
most enduring activity has been the potluck dinner. This
event began in mid-1989 and continues as the most prominent
monthly activity. Later activities included monthly
walk/hike, both locally and farther afield, a weekly
exercise group led by Len T., and more recently a pinochle
group which meets twice a month.
While the club avoided an outwardly
gay name, early on, the active members promoted the club
within the gay community. At the Pride Festival of 1989, the
club staffed a booth to inform the community of the new
organization and to recruit members. In 1996 and 1997, the
club had a contingent in the Pride parades. Although Mature
Friends has reached out to the gay community, club
membership was and is still confidential. Only board members
and activity heads have access to the membership list to
conduct their affairs.
In the beginning, there was a strong
involvement of women in the organization. They served on
committees and were board members. However, as the club
grew, the number of women members has decreased as well as
their participation in the club organization and activities.
The bridge group still attracts a fair number of women
players. The decline in women members and their
participation was regularly broached during the interviews
for this history, but no definitive answer or answers were
forthcoming. [As of 2010,
women make up seven percent of the membership.]
The club has been a success as a
social organization. As a group, it remains non-political
and non-sectarian. The original idea as a social-service
organization has largely been abandoned, mainly because the
membership preferred it as a social organization. A Sunshine
Committee functions currently to recognize members’
birthdays, send get well wishes on illnesses and condolences
upon the death of members.
This report is not an exhaustive
history of Mature Friends. It covers the founding of the
club and the events leading to its founding. It addresses
the questions raised by the History Committee and tries to
find a common answer from among the people interviewed. In
some cases, the answers were supplemented by information
from the archive for clarity. A ten-year retrospective was
written by Jerry O., which appeared in the February 1999
newsletter. It is included in the appendix of this report.
When a president's term is completed, such president will
write a summary report. These reports will be kept as part
of the history of the club.
And that brings us up to the twenty-first century and the
second decade of our club.
Second Decade and Beyond
Friends was founded in 1989 as an organization where older
gays and lesbians can meet socially in a safe environment.
Twenty years later, it still functions as an organization
for older gays and lesbians in the Puget Sound Region. But
as one member once remarked, “We’re not old, we’re MATURE.”
And that has been the hallmark of Mature Friends. Far from
being a group of senior citizens, Mature Friends have
maintained through the years a vibrancy and energy through
the many activities sponsored by the club or informally
among various members.
Update on Activities
The 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
Many of the activities begun earlier
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
led by Len T. 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
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
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 The New Pandasia
restaurant in Interbay.
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
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
— Dan L.
On this page, you’ll
find links to other gay and Lesbian web sites.
- Three Dollar Bill Cinema
Dollar Bill Cinema provides access to films by, for, and
about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT)
people and their families, and a forum for LGBT filmmakers
to share and discuss their work with audiences. They
curate themed screenings throughout the year and produce
programs in partnership with other arts, cultural, and
service delivery organizations in the Greater Seattle
site gives the concert schedules as well as other
information about the chorus.
A safe environment for gay kids to meet and
A community-based organization committed to
advancing the status of lesbians by combating oppression
and by promoting empowerment, visibility, and social
Seattle Business Association (GSBA)
A “Chamber of Choice” organization of Seattle
area businesses owned and operated by gays and Lesbians.
- Seattle Frontrunners
Our local gay and Lesbian running group.
A non-profit, multi-disciplinary arts
organization located in West Seattle with programs in
music, theater, visual art, education, playwriting, and
late night entertainment.