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Josephine Carter and Beatrice Lohman oral history interview
h [electronic resource] /
interviewed by Jessica Merrick.
Tampa, Fla. :
b University of South Florida Tampa Library,
1 transcript (22 p.)
LGBT oral history project
Interviewee names are pseudonyms, used by request of the interviewer.
Interview conducted February 25, 2009.
This is a transcript of an oral history interview with two lesbians who live in a gay/lesbian retirement community in Florida, the first such community in the United States. Both interviewees briefly describe their backgrounds, mentioning their education, careers, and families. Most of the interview focuses on life in the community: relationships with neighbors, social activities, etc.
Social life and customs.
University of South Florida Libraries.
Florida Studies Center.
Oral History Program.
University of South Florida.
LGBT oral history project.
y CLICK HERE TO ACCESS DIGITAL TRANCRIPT
COPYRIGHT NOTICE This Oral History is copyrighted by the University of South Florida Libraries Oral History Program on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of South Florida. Copyright, 2009, University of South Florida. All rights, reserved This oral history may be used for research, instruction, and private study under the provisions of the Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of the United States Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section 107), which allows limited use of copyrig hted materials under certain conditions. Fair Use limits the amount of material that may be used. For all other permissions and requests, contact the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA LIBRARIES ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at the University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fo wler Avenue, LIB 122, Tampa, FL 33620.
! LGBT Oral History Project Oral History Program Florida Studies Center University of South Florida, Tampa Library Digital Object Identifier: L34 00002 In terviewees: J osephine Carter ( JC ), Beatrice Lohman ( BL ) Interview er : Jessica Merrick ( JM ) Interview date: February 25, 2009 Interview location: Undisclosed Transcribed by: Jessica Merrick Transcription date: April 2, 2009 May 1, 2009 Audit Edit b y: Arlen Benson, Mary Beth Isaacson Audit Edit date: April 23, 2009 May 5, 2009 Interview Change s by: Christine Toth Interview Change s date: July 9, 2009 Final Edit by: Mary Beth Isaacson Final Edit date: July 22, 2009 [Transcriber's note: The following changes have been made at the request of the Interviewer: pseudonyms are used throughout the Interview, the use of ellipses indicates that material has been removed by the Interviewer names of persons not directly connected with the Interview ha ve been replaced with pseudonyms, some identifying geographical details have been removed.] Jessica Merrick : This is Jessica Merrick. Today is February 2 5 2 009. I'm talking with Josephine Carter and Beatrice Lohman Did I say your names right? Beatrice Lohman : Beatrice. JM: Beatrice. Sorry about that. BL: That's all right. Everybody makes that mistake. (laughs) JM: So we're just going to be asking questions about the community and what it's like living here and that sort of thing But to start out l e t's start out with biographical things. So I'll ask you to tell me about yourselves. For example, how did you grow up? B L : Well I was born in Cajun country in Louisiana. JM: Okay. BL : Near Baton Rouge. I'm the oldest of six. I couldn't wait to get out of Louisiana All: (laughter) BL : a nd was fortunate enough to meet a young man from Cape Cod [ Massachusetts ]
# JM: Okay. BL : And he could speak English! JM: (laugh s ) BL: He said, you know, "Come with me," so I did. Anyway, he and I lived his family owned a sailing camp. Gorgeous, gorgeous place. We had a son who's now forty. And dear man, he lived with me for sixteen years. And I was in la la land, not really knowing who I was. JM: Yeah. BL : It wasn't until after we split that I got my sense, so to speak developed a little on my own. And I went back to school. I had started out as a b iology and P.E. [ p hysical e ducation] teacher, and stopped teaching when [my son] was born. And when he got to be seven, I decided I could go back to teaching. He went to school. There were no jobs. I was interested in r eading because I had met a lot of kids who couldn't read. And so I got a degree in s pecial e d [education], a nd found a job right up the road from where we lived in Brewster, [ Massachusetts ] in the C ape. And when I was divorced, I took my part of the money and bought a little piece of land and built a little ho use where [my son] and I lived for I don't know, seven years, I think while I was working in this little s pecial e d school. And then in 1 993 in the meantime I had met her towards Josephine Carter : I didn't meet you when you were living there. BL: Well I moved. We sold th at house and I moved to wealthy blah blah blah. JC : Yeah, okay. (laugh s ) Other houses and (laugh s ) BL : Right. (laugh s ) Had an aneur y sm, a cranial aneur y sm. JM: Okay. BL : Knocked me out completely! Wasn't sure if I'd walk ever again. JM: Oh wow. BL : And she came every day to the hospital. Every day a ll my therapies. Blah blah blah. So when it was time to leave the hospital, I had to have somewhere to go. I couldn't go live by myself anymore. And she, ta king advantage of the situation JC : (laugh s ) BL : s aid, C ome live with me!"
$ JM: That was lucky. (laugh s ) BL : So that started something very nice. JM : Okay. How did you meet before ? JC : We both attend ed the Unitarian Universalist meeting house in Provincetown [ Massachusetts ] and there was a group of women over forty, was it? BL : M m hm. JC : who just got together for social reasons, nothing more. No you know, not out to save the world BL : Potlucks, or whatever. JC: Or do anything of a particular use. Just to have fun! And we were both BL : It was actually called T he Thirteen th Steps. JC : Yeah, clever. JM: It's called the what? BL : The Thirteen th Steps. JM: The Thirteen th Steps? JC : So clever. BL : Instead of Twelve Steps 1 (laugh s ) JM: Oh, okay! (laughs) BL : And one day at one of those events I saw this little woman with some dogs. She was pretty cute. JC : (laugh s ) BL: One thing led to another JM: That's great. """""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"""""""""""""""""""""" "%"&'()*( + ,&(-"-./0.12"3,"1",(&"/4"0536370"-.3783-)(,"/5&)37370"1"8/5.,("/4"18&3/7"4/.".(8/*(.9"4./2" 16638&3/7:"8/2-5),3/7:"/."/&;(."<(;1*3/.1)"-./<)(2,=
> JC : (to Beatrice) Rest your voice and let me talk for a while. BL : I'm done. JC : And then you can talk more. JM: Yeah you skipped your turn! You're supposed to tell me how you grew up. (laugh s ) JC : I'm an only child in the N orth! How could we be more different? BL : Opposites JC : Yeah I basically grew up in Syracuse [New York] but I was born in Buffalo [New York] I too got married, in fifty nine  I had graduated from college for n ursing s chool and went back to my where I was living at the tim e, where my parents were living, outside of Buffalo. I met up again with a guy I had gone to high school with. And w e just I think we were the only show in town, either one of us. (laughter) BL : M m hm. JC : So we just started dating and eventually we decided to get married. BL : (laugh s ) JC : And we moved down to North Carolina where he was going t o get his did get his m aster s [degree] in English. He dropped out of medical school to do that. He decided he really didn't want to be a doctor. JM: Mm. JC : And I worked down there and took courses towards getting a ma ster s degree replacing JM: In n ursing? JC : Yeah, yeah. In e ducation actually, but with a major in n ursing. JM: Okay. JC : And then we split after about four years. And I moved to New York City and enrolled in Columbia University Teacher's College. Finished up my m aster s, got my doctorate, and I was te aching or working. Sometimes I part of the time I was teaching, part of the time I was working in a clinical setting in a hospital. And um oh I know how I moved to t he Cape! I was having terrible respi ratory problems, asthma attacks. I was in t he emergency room more than I was out of it.
? JM: Mm. JC : And I was teaching at Columbia University then, be cause I had already finished my degrees. Finally after they put up with me for a couple of years, they decided that I had to I had no choice I had to take a medical leave of absence. So my doctors recommended that I get out of the dirty air of New York. The woman that I was with at the time had a house has a house in Provincetown. So I went and lived in that house and looked after it And then we j ust kind of drifted apart. We hardly ever saw each other. And I moved to my own place. I bought a condo in Provincetown and that's where I was when Beatrice had the aneur y sm. BL: M m hm A nd then we bought a house. JC: Then we bought a house. Then we bought a motor home! BL: Then we bought a motor home! (laughs) JM: Then you're here! Okay. And there's no part time work or anything now, is there? Or are you still JC: Beatrice is doing some part time work now. JM: You are? BL: Tutoring. JM: Okay W hat do you tutor? BL: English I mean no reading and math. Elementary school kids. JM: Are t hose schools nearby he r e ? BL: Yep and a couple of homes. Yeah I love it. They're second graders, third graders, kindergarten kids. It's wonderful. JC: And I volunteer a lot. I do the pet therapy. I volunteer at [an organization that trains guide dogs] And there's a program which I also am involved with kids which is fun It's third graders, in my case. But they have a program they have them all around; you may have heard of it before for children who are having a hard time learning to read primarily, although we've got some good readers, too You take your dog. It has to be a certified therapy dog. And you go to the school and the children come and they si t we all sit on the floor. And the child reads to the dog.
@ JM: Oh that's great! I hadn't heard about that. That's so cool! JC: Yeah! They love it! They love it. They've got my program t hat I go to is in the school. They do have them in libraries as wel l. It's really great. It's such fun for t he kids. JM: It sounds really fun. JC: And they sometimes they're hard to keep focused. So the dog makes an incentive. Because I'll say, "Now, i f you read to [the dog] and he pays attention to you, then at the e nd you get to give him a cookie." I always have a pocketful of dog biscuits. And then they get a little sticker that says, "Reading is fun. Reading with dogs is more fun." I like their stickers. So that's fun. JM: (laughs) JC: My volunteer activities n ow focus around the animals, pretty much entirely. BL: Plus in this community, if anybody needs a dog sitter sometimes in this house we have ten dogs! JM: Yeah. Looks like there's a lot of your neighbors who have dogs, too. JC: Yeah we really do. We also have a kitty. JM: Do you? JC: Sitting on the chair over there. JM: That's great. What about w ould say there's any sort of major turning points in your life? BL: Well what pops right up to me is moving to Cape Cod. That was a major thing. And then having [my son] another m ajor thing. And then that aneury sm. Meeting her. JC: That was certainly a big one. BL: Those four things are the major things that come right up. JC: Mine certainly was coming out. JM: Yeah? Was that when you and your ex husband split? JC: Yeah. I had t here were intimations of it earlier that I didn't really grab hold of.
A BL: I know in high school, I was always having little crushes. Just didn' t know what to do with it. JC: I was a counselor at Girl Scout camp, surrounded by lesbians. JM: And you just didn't know it? JC: You know, it just it never really entered my own mind. They didn't bother me. The fact that they were gay didn't upset me at all. I remember one year one summer, my tent mate was gay and one of my best friends said, "Oh my G od! You better watch out for her! She likes girl s ." And I thought, "Eh?" (laughs) "What's the big deal?" It never struck me as a big deal except when it came to myself and coming out. That was the scary one. And I finally came out publicly when I was teaching. I was asked to participate in a class on alternate lifestyles. And they had oh let's see, they had a nun and I don't remember what the other people were. But they asked me to represent the gay and lesbian BL: (laughs) JC: Interesting they came to me You know, that must be significant! BL: Somebody was perceptive. (laughs) JM: (laughs) JC: So I finally said, "Oh what the heck, I'll do it myself instead of finding someone," which is how they represented it Could I find someone to do it? Finally I said, "I'll do it myself." So I came out to this auditorium full of students and faculty. JM: Wow. That's so brave. JC: Yeah, it was a little scary yes. BL: B ecause, that was in you know, the dark ages pretty much. JC: It was in the seventies [1970s] BL: Yeah. When it was still not very JC: Right, yeah. I mean I came out not publicly, but essentially in the sixties [1960s] And you had to be careful of what you were doing in New York. If you were in a bar then the lights would blink. Everybody stopped dancing and would sit down. We were just there having a drink. JM: Wow.
B JC: I never got arrested, but friends of mine go t arrested. The cops would come in and claim to find health violations, close the place down. JM: Because they were lesbian bars? JC: Yeah. Well I know more men actually that wen t to jail than women. But it did happen to both. Yeah it was a rough tim e. And then of course Stonewall 2 happened. BL: Slowly but surely. JC: The beginning of real change. I mean, we were all protesting in marches and things. But we always you have to dress; you have to wear a nice skirt and stockings and look respectable You know? You had to look straight. ( c lock chimes) You had to look straight to protest because you were gay! It didn't make sense. Seemed to us it didn't. And I had friends in NOW [National Organization for Women] and the women's movement that were terrified that we'd all be labeled lesbians, and so the women's movement tried to act straight. It's real hypocrisy. JM: Wasn't there a NOW president that sort of denounced ? And didn't she come out and say ? JC: Yeah that we were well, the "l avender m enace 3 I'm not sure if that's where that phrase came from or somewhere else. But that was the general idea ; that we were going to bring down the whole women's movement. I don't remember when that was. JM: Did you feel like you couldn't really participate in the women's movement? You had to more into the gay movements and lesbian movements, because it was divided? JC: Uh it was divided, certainly. I guess after a while you get so used to having split lives that it's ju st one more. What difference does it make? BL: M m hm. M m hm. It's amazing how we accommodate as a JM: Yeah, definitely you know, what you said about the way that you dressed while you're doing protesting. """""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"""""""""""""""""""""" # C;(" D&/7('1))"E3/&, : "1",(.3(,"/4"-./&(,&,"176"6(2/7,&.1&3/7,"&;1&"<(017"F57("#B:"!G@G"1&"&;("D&/7('1))" H/570( "37" I('"J/.K"L3&9 :"8/7,36(.(6"&/"<("&;(" < (0377370"/4"&;("019" )3<(.1&3/7 "2/*(2(7& = $ "C;3,"'1,"1"-;.1,("5,(6"<9"M(&&9"N.3(617:"&;(7"-.(,36(7&"/4"IOP:"&/" 6(,8.3<(""1"&;.(1&"&;1&"1,,/831&3/7" '3&;")(,<3173,2"-/,(6"&/"IOP:"&;1&"&;("4(2373,&"2/*(2(7&"'/5)6"<("1,,/831&(6"/7)9"'3&;")(,<317,="E3&1" Q1("M./'7:"R1.)1"F19:"176"/&;(.")(,<317".16381)"4(2373,&,"8.(1&(6"17"374/.21)"0./5-"81))(6"&;("H1*(76(." Q(718(=""
G JC: Yeah! Here we are gay people but see we l ook just like you! JM: Right. So I guess we'll shift gears a little and start talking about community. You were telling me earlier about where you lived before you came to the neighborhood Can you just tell me what it was like compared to w hat was i t was like living in neighbor hood s where you didn't kn o w that your neighbors were gay and lesbian? Or maybe that was maybe I'm making assumptions; maybe you did live in places ? JC: Well we lived in Provincetown for a long time. So that was certainly totally acceptable. BL: Yeah. My experience of I was not out until I lived on Cape Cod, of course. And I never really ever felt uncomfortable. I mean, I'm kind of numb anyway. JC: (laughs) BL: You know what I mean? But I never felt and so many times people referred to me as M ister. You know? That didn't really bother me. If that happened, that's the most I ever encountered to tell you the truth. JC: Well I got some name calling. BL: Did you? JC: Yeah, even in Provincetown. I re member once I was walking through Dougherty's parking lot and I was walking the dogs. I always carry a plastic bag to pick up after them. And the guy said, "You're not supposed to be walking through here with your dog!" And I held up the bag. I said, "I always pick up." "I don't care, you dyke Get out of here!" That was about the worst in Provincetown of all places Although at the same time, I felt safer. It wasn't a big deal there. He would have been in the wrong, not me. JM: Yeah. It makes a big difference knowing how your neighbors would be supportive. So how did you find out about [the community]? You were saying you found it on the web, right? JC: Well I had heard about it from a gay camping organization just i n passing. So I knew somethin g existed. I didn't know anything about it. I didn't know its name. I didn't know where it was, except that it was in Florida. So, I found it on the Internet. I just did a search for "gay retirement in Florida. So then, we got in touch with the guy here who was selling the property.
!S JM: Was that ( ) ? JC: M m hm. ( ) c alled him and emailed him we were in California at the time. We came back e ast and went back to Provincetown for the fall. I think we came down yeah, w e came down here in October. We moved in November first. JM: Okay. What year was that? JC: That was aught six ? Yeah, aught five  or aught six . I think we've been here three or four years now. BL: Yeah It will be three coming up. JC: No, I think it was already. BL: O h maybe this will be the fourth. I mean, in the JC: So we've been here since November first, aught five . BL: M m hm. JM: So what kind of questions did you have when you were first moving in? What did you want to make sure was ? JC: The first question was, Are dogs allowed? JM: Right, yeah. They probably figured out right away that was important. (laughs) JC: That was the fi rst thing. The second thing, I think, was, Could we plant things? Could we grow things in the ground? BL: Yeah. JC: And that was also a yes as long as you take care of whatever you When we got here we found it s a little more complicated than that. JM: Oh really? BL: Yeah W ell in this part of the community we don't own the property. JM: In the back part her e. BL: Yeah. JM: Okay.
!! BL: We don't own the land. We only own JC: The inside. BL: The house. So the land part belongs to the community. And whatever you do with it has to be approved by everybody else. And before we got here nobo dy had planted anyt hing outside of their houses. JC: They put in hibiscus. All the same in every place And we thought we could do better than that. BL: We shook em up. We continue to. JM: (laughs) JC: There are four couples that moved in at the same time just about ; w ithin a month of each other. We sort of became the y oung Turks. One of those couples is actually straight. JM: (laughs) Okay. JC: The other three were lesbians. And yeah we kind of shook things up. They weren't well they'd been living here for years w ithout any opposition. They were in charge. It was the way they knew it. They liked it. They weren't BL: They were very comfortable. JM: How many people were here before you all and those four couples got here ? JC: Well let's see ( ) was here well, he doesn't own; he's a renter. Ernest [Marc] and Max [ D are ] ." ( ) and () BL: ( ) JC: ( ) (). BL: ( ) JC: ( ) and (). BL: And ( ) JC: And ( ) also was a renter. So I'd say ( ) and ( ) Ernest and Max D were the ones in charge. ( ) was president had been president. Ernest was treasurer had been treasurer, and in fact still is because nobody else wants to do it and he's good at it.
!# So yeah, people always resist change anyway. But when you've been you know, the people in charge, the people everybody came to ask stuff, and all of a sudden these people move in and just do what they want! JM: Hoodlums! (laughs) BL: ( l aughs) JC: Whoa! JM: So did you come for a visit you must have come for a visit before you moved here right ? JC: We were staying in a campground just up the road a little way. JM: Okay, okay. BL: The minute we saw this house, though. JC: Yeah we stood right there in the kitchen and said, "We'll take it." JM: Oh that's great. BL: I love those skylights. It's what got me. JM: I didn't even know that was a skylight. It looked like JC: Yeah I know! I kept trying to turn those lights out! (laughs) JM: It's nice and bright in here. BL: We just loved it. And the pond. JM: Yeah. JC: Jus t a little BL: Dry. JC: It looks like a big puddle right now. But if we ever get any rain it fills up. JM: Were you able to meet some of your neighbors when you first visited too? JC: Actually the first ones we met were Ernest and Max D. We met the m at church. We made a habit of going to different U Us [Unitarian Universalist churches] when we pass through different parts of the world. So we went to this one down here in [ nearby
!$ location] and we spotted them and they spotted us. (laughs) Sure enoug h they were our neighbors! JM: Wow. That's cool. BL: Yeah. JC: But yeah we all made friends quickly, very quickly. BL: Remember the first JC: I feel like I've know n ( ) and ( ) forever. BL: I was just thinking about the first time we met (). We were barbequing something in the back. And the smoke was JC: It was coming up the screen doors. BL: And she came running over. "What's the matter?" or s omething. "Are you okay?" JC: T o make sure we weren't on fire. JM: (laughs) That's funny. So, has your view of the community changed since you moved in? JC: It's more realistic, yeah. BL: (coughs) JC: I don't think it's all peace and beauty and rose colored glasses but we love it. There are times when I get mad, it's whatever's happening w hich you would in any community. JM: Right. BL: It's like living in a very big family. I mean, a condo association JC: Yeah. A very dysfunctional family I might add. (laughs) But yes, basically we all get along fine. And it's especially true that if you' re sick or having some kind of a problem, the community is right there with you. BL: It really is amazing, though. JM: Is there any time where you all were ever sick and they came to look after you? JC: Mostly they would you kno w walking dogs for you and stuff like that. And there's
!> a woman across the way who has lymphoma and getting chemo [therapy] and has been really sick. And so people have taken food. JM: Okay, that's great. JC: Yeah. There was a ( ) we mentioned before BL: We've had a couple of deaths, yeah. JC: He got lung cancer. And we all took care of him until he finally had to go to h ospice. But people are just wonderful that way. BL: Yeah. JC: Helpful and supportive and caring. BL: And you know, actually, in terms of the community at large you know the greater community I think people have. I haven't heard any horror stories about you know, encountering any kind of prejudice. JC: No, that's been interesting. JM: You mean in the city? In [nearby location] and [nearby location] ? B L: Or [nearby location], yeah. JC: Yeah I'm just I'm very open. I'll say, "My partner." BL: Me too. JC: Nobody ever looks at me like, "What?!" BL : The only thing I've got the W hat? about is when I tell people they're in America's first gay and lesbian retirement community. (laughs) JC: In [ the town where the community is located ] BL: [ The town where the community is located]? (laughs) JM: Is that how you describe it when you meet other people that don't live here ? BL: Yep. JM: So how wou ld you describe the neighborhood as a whole? Just in terms of the kind of people who live here and the feeling that you get from it?
!? JC: I'd say we're not terribly diverse in terms of background. I t hink we're pretty much an upper middle cl ass, pretty well educated group of people that live around this part. BL: That's right. No minorities. JC: No minorities. That's one thing that does bother me. JM: Okay. BL: And the area in general is so heavily Hispanic. I mean the school where I t each, the receptionist speaks Spanish continuously on the phone to all the y ou know everybody speaks Spanish. It's the language. JM: Nobody here speaks Spanish huh? BL: I don't. JM: Not too much. JC: I don't think we do have anybody that speaks Spani sh. BL: No, uh uh. JC: Because you know, we have the yard maintenance crew is Hispanic speakers. And everybody says, "Oh well you can't talk to them an yway because they speak Spanish, and we don't. T here's nobody saying, "Oh well so and so can speak Spanish." BL: We need to start teaching that language in school. JM: They don't teach it at ? Well your school is for younger kids. So maybe in high school. BL: Maybe so. JM: I took it in high school. JC: Probably as an elective. You could have taken a different language. JM: M m hm. Yeah. BL: Yeah. JM: Um so you were telling me about your neighbors. Can you tell me about the kinds of things you usually do when you get together? Maybe tell me about the last event you attended a nd what it was like.
!@ BL: A lot of it has to do with food. JC: A lot of food! We all a lot of food. Last week there was a concert at ( ) 's house. BL: We do have one major event an annual regatta. JM: Regatta? JC: Toy boat. BL: In the pond. JM: Oh fun! JC: And this year we're starting a new one, it will be toy cars. A mini prix. JM: Okay. Car races or something? JC: Yeah. BL: The thought for the regatta was that we were going to race our boats across the pond. Every boat reacted to every remote JC: All remotes were on the same frequency! (laughs) It was total chaos. It was fun! BL: Absolutely! It was marvelous. JC: And we'll do outings. We'll go various places. Out to dinner of course is very popular. But we've done other things too. We went to the port the Port of [ nearby location] is it called? BL: Maybe so. JM: What do they have up there? Just watching the boats come in and out? JC: Yeah they explain how the port works. BL: Is that where you get to see the manatees? JC: No, t hat's [nearby location] where the manatees go when it's cold, because the water's heated around the power plant Um of course all the holidays ; there's always an excuse for a party. JM: Yeah. So what wa s the concert? Was it everybody playing an instrument here?
!A JC: No it's some fellow I guess that ( ) knew. An older man, a pianist. I think maybe he was here for some real concert. And he was good enough to go and play ( ) s piano for people here We've had others of that kind of thing in the past. JM: Cool! BL: And the young woman who has lymphoma is an excellent pianist. JC: She's an excellent pianist, yeah. BL: She has a piano. And her partner is an excellent musician as well. When we have the regattas, they put on little band uniforms an d sit out on the lanai and play, serenade us with incredible music. ( c lock chimes) JC: Yeah they have a keyboard and I guess they put in background music. BL: They have d rums and trombone JC: And Carm e plays her euphonium and Evelyn [Bath] plays the drums. BL: Who else plays that amazing instrument? What is that thing called? JC: Oh that BL: Dulcimer? JC: Not a dulcimer. BL: It's a stringed thing. JC: I can't think of what it's called right now p ause in recording JC: It wouldn't work for something like that; it's wired. JM: Sorry I'm just checking to make sure when it made that beep early and it made me nervous. But I think we're okay. Maybe it was something else beeping. JC: I s there a tape in there or is it a ? JM: It's digital. BL: That's so incredible.
!B JM: I know it is, isn't it? Okay, Februa ry twenty fifth talking to Josephine and Beatrice. p ause in recordin g JM: So um one of the other questions I was interested in was, is it mostly men and women at the same parties and functions? Or are there ever events for women and events for men? JC: Yeah BL: Occasionally. JC: Yeah we have all of the above. BL: Yeah. JC: And sometimes it 'll just be Phase I or Phase II, d epending on what it is. Like sometimes going out to dinner to a place, depending on the size of the restaurant maybe it'll just be one part of the community cause it isn't big enough for everybody. JM: If you had a choice, would you rather live in an all women's community. Or are you pretty happy with this set up? BL: I like this set up the way it is. JC: Yeah we chose this. We could have gone to [another retirement community] We have friends down in JM: The on e in [nearby location] JC: Yeah and we have stayed there in ou r motor home in the past. But I no, I really don't want to live there. Wouldn't want to live there. JM: What was your impression of it? Why you wouldn't want to live there? JC: It seemed to me there were too many rules and too much restriction of men on the property. I don't think we'd have felt comfortable having [my son] come to visit us cause h e wouldn't have been able to go the clubhouse except at certain times. BL: For me that's too extreme. JC: It's repressive. BL: Some people need it. They can have it.
!G JC: That's fine. You know, there's not one type of living to meet everybody's needs. And that's great. This is better for us. BL: Absolutely. I think [the cat ] is getting into your briefcase. JC: (laughs) ( to cat ) Hey () What are you doing? He will nibble on the edges of paper. JM: ( to cat ) () JC: He's going to lie down on it. JM: That's all right. JC: You don't mind a little cat hair? (laughs) JM: Uh are there any negatives to living here? Is there anything you'd change if you could? You talked about maybe a pool and that kind of thing. JC: Mm. BL: I would love to be able to use the land more. JC: Yeah, it's a lot of wasted land. We tried to get a dog park in wh ich is you know a dog run And the road blocks that were thrown up were impossible. So what we did was just by accident W e were all across the street there that big open area, a nd just happened upon this little enclosed part of that area with trees and bushes that kind of kept it private and away from everybody else. So we've adopted that informally as our little s ecret garden dog park. BL: But you know those things have nothing to do with the gender aspect. It's just the condo living. JM: Yeah. JC : If you live in a condo, there are always rules that are for everybody's good Sometimes you bump up against th em or wish they weren't there. But I think that's the nature of living in a condo or a community where there could be the same thing just in a development that's not a condo but just a community that has a lot of rules. JM: Right. JC: Like I wouldn't mind seeing clotheslines out in the backyard. BL: Absolutely.
#S JC: But they're not allowed because they're unsightly. BL: A vegetable garden. JM: You're not allowed to have vegetable gardens or anything? BL: I mean you can have a vegetable garden but it has to be JC: Well supposedly it says in our bylaws no farm crops. So you can get around that by planting tomatoes in a container, somethi ng like that. Yeah. BL: Yeah and I definitely want ed to have chickens. I mean we could put a little cage right there. We had chickens in Provincetown. JM: (laughs) JC: We had chickens in Provincetown. It was neat. JM: You had f resh eggs and stuff? J C: Yeah. BL: Oh L ord, yes! JC: Fortunately our next door neighbor liked the chickens. Remember? He used to come and BL: Our next door neighbor? Two legs or four legs? JC: Two. The guy that owns the restaurant. BL: Oh, ( ) JC: ( ) and BL: I can't think of the name, either. JC: I can see them both ( ) ( ) and ( ) They loved the dogs. We put in a pet door but it went t he bedroom floor was high up from the ground so we had to build a little platform with steps going down so the dog could us e it with a fence around it So this guy the guy who built it for us got very elaborate. I mean it was really like a dog patio! (laughs) And of course we didn't even think about it but we didn't have a permit. So our neighbors could have complained but they loved having the dogs out there. They'd always have biscuits for them when they came by, and he'd whistle for them. So we got away with that.
#! JM: I was wondering is there any kind of process for who's allowed to live here? Like, d o people get t ogether if somebody wants to move in do you get to audition them or anything? Or anybody's allowed to come in? BL: Not to my knowledge. As long as they can JC: Usually we Well not really. We get to meet people. BL: At this point, if somebody's got the money. JC: Yeah. JM: So maybe that's changed ? Maybe it used to be different, though ? BL: I don't think so. JC: I don't think so. Alt hough the president has to sign a form saying that people are permitted to buy here. But that's just a formality r eally. I mean they'd have to be pretty horrible. (laughs) JM: So [the president] has never told anybody, "No you can't move here." JC: We were told that he did tell somebody they couldn't move here because they were too young. But I don't know. That's just a rumor. I don't know if it's true. BL: It might be. JM: Is there an age requirement? BL: One member of the household has to be fifty five JC: Yeah. JM: Fifty five But it's okay if the other person's younger. BL: Right. JC: It's really not officially a retirement or over fifty five community; it's not with the county. It's not official. BL: Which is a problem because we're being taxed. JC: Well it's a one time tax that goes to new homeowners for school use. JM: So y ou get taxed for school even though ?
## JC: Yeah when you buy a piece of property there's a school use tax that you have to pay unless you 've had a waiver saying "This is an over fifty five community where no children are allowed." Well we don't really officially have that status so Well I know I'd hate it if somebody with six kids bought in and had their kids running around the place. I'd hate it; you'd love it! BL: It takes all kinds. (laughs) JC: Yep. (laughs) JM: So earlier you mentioned tha t there's a straight couple who lives here, right? JC: Yeah. Right one house i n between us, attached to this house next door. BL: And they are adorable. JC: They're fabulous. We love em. Yeah. BL: It was convenience for them. The location. JC: Yeah a s far as their work was concerned. He works in [nearby location] and she works in [nearby location], so it was very handy. They looked across the street ; there's a development over there. And they didn't like it. So the real estate agent brought them over Prices I guess were about the same. Maybe a little higher here, I'm not sure. But they liked it s o they bought over here. JM: Do you think anybody has problems with ? JC: People had problems with the idea. And then they got to know the people. JM: And now they like them. JC: It's all fine; they love em. Yeah, yeah. Hell, some people the people whose house is attached to theirs "Well I didn't move down here to be next door neighbors to a straight couple!" (laughs) BL: Ridiculous. JC: And once we got to know each other it was no problem. BL: As a matter of fact, their boat in the regatta was one of the stars because it had a Barbie doll in it. JM: Oh, boy.
#$ JC: A Barbie doll A nd her hair kept getting the way, so they gave her a haircut! (la ughs) They chopped her hair off. And they won the gayest boat award (laughs) JM: (laughs) Okay. How about I don't know; maybe this is a tough question, or maybe it's an ea sy one. But how do you identity? Do you use words like do you say lesbian ? Do you say gay ? Do you not say? JC: It all depends on what we're talking about. Sometimes you'll refer to somebody as an old dyke or something. You know just all in the family kind of talking. BL: I'm personally more comfortable using the world les bian than dyke. JC: Well, yeah! BL: The connotation for dyke has a little rough feeling for me JC: (laughs) It is a little rough. BL: But t hat's the only thing. JC: Yeah I think it totally depends on the context. What we're talking about, who we're talking to. JM: Okay. If this place didn't exist, where do you think you might be livin g instead? JC: Probably up in The Villages 4 with BL: Maybe so Oh G od, no. We couldn 't live there. JC: Well we didn't know. It was our first thought of where we would g o. We have two dear friends in T he Villages. JM: The Villages? BL: You know that? JM: U h uh. BL: It is an enormous place comprised of villages. Really and truly. JC: Artificially made little villages all under the umbrella of The Villages. JM: Is that in Florida? JC: Oh yeah it's in the South. """""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"""""""""""""""""""""" > "C; ("T3))10(,"3,"1")1.0(".(&3.(2(7&"8/22573&9"37"8(7&.1)"N)/.361=
#> BL: North of here. JC: In horse country. BL: Yep. JC: Inland. That was the first thing. I thought, Inland? Who wants to live But they have nice pools there. JM: Tradeoff. BL: This couple we knew from our RV ing days. They're f rom Vermont, dear friends. And they have developed a little gay community in The Villages. JC: Yeah. There's quite a network of lesb ians. JM: So The Villages isn't gay, but they have a little area that is? JC: There's a big group of lesbians probably gay men although I don't hear them talk about that. BL: Right now. JC: (laughs) In T he Villages. They all know each other and they have different kinds of clubs. Play golf and go canoeing, kayaking. BL: It's a huge place. JC: Oh that's another we didn't mention. One of the things we do is go kayaking. BL: Wonderful places to kayak. All the rivers. JC: Yeah. The re are lots of won derful rivers in Florida. JM: There's one up by the u niversity. It's only five dollars to rent a kayak with your student I.D. so I go all the time. JC: Oh yeah that's great. JM: So what about plans for the future? How long do you think you might live here? BL: Forever. JM: Yeah?
#? JC: Until they carry me out in a pine box. BL: I mean we will take little trips hopefully. But moving? I wouldn't leave here. I see no reason to leave here. We haven't begun to explore what there is to explore around here. And the beaches? Oh G od the beaches are just unbelievable. JC: I love it here in the summertime. It's the best. I love I'm in or around the water. JM: Al l right. Is there anything I haven't asked or mentioned that you want to talk about? BL: I'm just very pleased that you're doing this. JM: Great. BL: I think i t's great. JM: Do you have any questions for me? That's all I've got. JC: I don't think so. Did we tell you what time the party i s on Sunday ? JM: No. e nd of interview