Carole Friedman (born 1945), Interviewed June 24, 1993

by Marc Stein. Copyright © Marc Stein 2021. All rights reserved.


I interviewed Carole Friedman in June 1993 in Arlington, Massachusetts; I believe the interview took place at or near the arts organization where she worked. I was given Friedman’s contact information by Ada Bello, Friedman’s former partner; I had interviewed Bello several months earlier and she had told me about their leadership roles in the Philadelphia chapter of the Daughter of Bilitis and the Philadelphia-based Homophile Action League. Before the taped part of the interview began, Friedman provided me with the following biographical information:


Date of Birth: 23 March 1945

Place of Birth: Philadelphia

Place of Mother's Birth: Baltimore, MD

Mother's Occupation: Mother/Homemaker

Place of Father's Birth: Philadelphia

Father's Occupation: Salesman

Race/Ethnicity: Jewish

Religious Background: None

Class Background: Lower Middle Class


Residential History

1945-53: 2636 W. Lehigh Ave., North Philadelphia

1953-63: Broad and Olney, Fern Rock, Philadelphia

1963-64: Oberlin, OH

1964-65: 17th St. and Pine St., Philadelphia

1965-67: 23rd St. and Lombard St., Philadelphia

1967-69: 6200 Wayne Ave., Germantown, Philadelphia

1969-73: 6100 Wayne Ave., Germantown, Philadelphia

1973-87: Albany, NY

1987-93: Boston, MA


Work History

1964-69: Music Teacher, Arts Administrator, and Social Worker, Wharton Center

1971-73: Private Piano Teacher

1973-76: Piano Teacher and Performer, Performing Arts Academy


In July 1995 I saw Friedman again during another visit to Greater Boston. We have occasionally corresponded since then and in 2021 I confirmed that she was still living in the Boston area.


Marc Stein Interview with Carole Friedman, June 24, 1993


Transcribed by Abby Schrader and Marc Stein


MS: This is Marc Stein and I'm interviewing Carole Friedman in Arlington [Massachusetts] on June 24, 1993. And I just thought we could start by talking a little bit about your family background, your childhood experiences, material like that. So if you just want to say a little bit about what sort of family you came from and grew up in.


CF: O.K. I come from a regular, middle-class, lower middle-class Jewish family. I guess I’d describe my upbringing as very thoughtlessly permissive, and I think the permissive part was good. There was a great deal of openness to us. I have two brothers, older and younger. We could pretty much go our own ways. The thoughtless or unconscious part was perhaps less good. There wasn't maybe the kind of conscious nurturing or conscious parenting that we would value today. But my parents had between them a very obviously loving relationship, and I think that presented a really wonderful model to me that I have striven for in my life, not always successfully. And the most important growing up fact for me was that I started to play the piano at a very young age, when I was about three and a half. And that was a very shaping thing, and made me, allowed me, and in some ways I suppose forced me away from what would have been a pretty conventional upbringing to be a regular girl and then a regular woman. I think part of the lack of conscious nurturing, conscious values teaching, in my family would be that in a just assumed way, it would have been assumed that I would go to college and then marry and have children and do the right thing. But the piano playing really set me apart. I sort of had a vocation as a child. And that made me different in many respects. I don't know if that connects in any sense with my lesbianism. It certainly connects with feminism later on. When I was sixteen, well if I use the name here, can you not use it on the...


MS: ...on the transcript? But I am going to be leaving the tape itself at the archives.


CF: O.K., O.K.


MS: So if you just want to make up a name.


CF: Well O.K. When I was sixteen I fell in love with Ann Smith. Actually more to the point, when I was sixteen I kissed Ann Smith, who was then fourteen. And I mean I remember that kiss. I don't remember a lot of politics from my twenties, but I remember that kiss when I was sixteen. That raised, brought certain possibilities into my mind about myself, which I struggled with for a long time. There was no positive social context that I knew of.


MS: Did you ever know of a lesbian before you were sixteen in your family circles or at school?


CF: No, no. My first awareness of lesbianism came when I was about thirteen. I remember being with my girlfriends, my junior high school girlfriends, and one of them had discovered that her father had dirty books hidden under mattresses, or in the closet, or whatever, and we had a sleepover party, and we were looking through his dirty books. And one of them, I remember, described some tremendously exciting contact between, I can almost remember their names, two women. And I remember we were all, all of us, equally astonished, excited, horrified, make-pretend horrified. But that was my only awareness of lesbianism actually, this guy's dirty books. So not very positive.


MS: And what was the context for Ann Smith? She was a school friend?


CF: She was a school friend.


MS: And were you at one of your houses when this happened?


CF: Yes, we were at her house. I mean you would have to say that we fell in love with each other. You would definitely have to say that. And it was a very sweet and powerful love relationship, between us, as two kids. We didn't go all the way, 'cause we wouldn't have done that with boys either.


MS: Right.


CF: But it was very exploratory, very wonderful.


MS: Now she was younger than you were.


CF: Yes, she was just fourteen, I think.


MS: So was it unusual to have that close of a friendship with someone who was a couple of years different in age?


CF: Probably not, because what brought us together is that we both were very active in music in high school. I had friends, both older and younger, who were brought together around that same interest.


MS: So how long were you together in some meaningful sense?


CF: Girlfriends? Well, 'til I went to college, two years really. We kept the relationship hidden. It is hard to go back, Marc, to that consciousness, but we certainly knew not to talk about it. Although I can remember a year later, I do know that there were another two girls. I went to Girls’ High. There were another two girls. I mean I guess you'd have to use the word lovers, because that's certainly what we were, whatever the particulars. So we did somehow identify another couple and we did talk. I remember that.


MS: To the other couple?


CF: Yeah, yeah. But other than that, we were very closeted within our overall friendship group.


MS: So you don't remember how you identified yourselves to these others.


CF: No, I wish I did. I just remember that that happened.


MS: That conversation. Do you remember? Was it again in one of your homes, where the conversation occurred?


CF: No, we went out. There was a place we all hung out after school. We went out and we smoked Marlboros and drank coffee.


MS: What was it called?


CF: Dairy Queen.


MS: Was it a Dairy Queen?


CF: Yeah, yeah.


MS: And it was near Girls' High?


CF: Yeah, it was near Girls' High. Something like that.


MS: So it really was a standard American teenage experience.


CF: Yes, yes. Exactly.


MS: With one twist.


CF: Yeah, that's right.


MS: Were any of the four of you, as far as you know, dating boys as well?


CF: I was. Ann wasn't yet. The other two girls, I don't remember. I'm not sure.


MS: So you were dating boys simultaneously?


CF: Yeah, somewhat overlapping. But I somehow managed, you know how you do, to keep things separate in my mind. I have diaries from that period, which are a combination of exultant and anguished, very adolescent sort-of angst. But clearly I remember at one point writing: All right. I've got to say it/ I've got to write it here. I know what the truth is. It's not just that I am in love with Ann. It's that I'm, and I might have used the word queer or…


MS: Homosexual?


CF: ...homosexual. One of those words. But then I would put that out of consciousness entirely. So not to dwell too long on that, when I went to college, I went to Oberlin, and I think pretty unconsciously, but in a very determined manner, dated a bunch of boys in a row, became involved with somebody after a few weeks of being there, pressed that relationship to try to establish for myself that I was really heterosexual. Although I think that if you had asked me, I wouldn't have known that that was what I was doing exactly. But in retrospect it is very clear that I was doing that. But then fell in love with another young woman in my dormitory, and then it was all really crystal clear.


MS: And this was in '63, '64 that you were at Oberlin?


CF: '63.


MS: And how did that go?


CF: It was devastating. It was really, really hard. When I was saying to you before how amazing it is to me how much things have changed, I mean everyone wants more change. But it's amazing to me how much things have changed in this relatively brief period of time, thirty years. Because I felt so terrified and so isolated, and here I was at one of the great liberal academic and musical establishments, and looking back, I must have been surrounded by, at the very least, lots of gay men, probably lesbians, too, but certainly gay men in the conservatory. I didn't know that. I looked around and I saw just conventional people who I felt would be horrified at this revelation. It was a time I would use the vocabulary of sickness, not of sin, so I felt that there was something terribly wrong with me. And I didn't feel that Oberlin was an environment in which I could work that out. And this was really a signal event in my life. I was on a kind of track to go into musical performance as a career and probably musicology, academic musicology. And I just left Oberlin at the end of the year, instead feeling that as playing the piano had been the center of my life since I was four years old, now clearly exploring what this attraction to women, interest in women, became the dominant thing in my life for the next ten years.


MS: Wow. And so did this relationship last through your time in Oberlin or did it not turn into a relationship?


CF: The year I was at Oberlin I was involved with both a man and a woman. And part of why I left actually, too, was that I was in too deep. I didn't know. I didn't have the resources as a person to know what to do about that. I didn't trust that I could go to anyone there.


MS: Did each know about the other?


CF: The woman knew about the man. He didn't know about her. He is now. I'm no longer in touch with her, but he lives near here now, in Gloucester, and we have become very good friends.


MS: Is that right?


CF: Yeah. A kind of a happy ending.


MS: Did he suspect at all?


CF: No, I told him later. I told him. Actually I told him the next year. But it was really, I mean I can't make light of it, it was a terribly anguished time. And I feel sometimes every generation pays its sociological price, its personal price, for the times in which we were born. And there's something about, at nineteen, changing radically the course of my life, because there was something this new, what could have been joyous, but at this point a new terrifying piece of information about myself that I could find no way to integrate and no social or at that point political context, no way to integrate it. So I became a different kind of person on a different kind of life course as a result.


MS: Maybe I'll throw out a question, then, about your own interpretation here. Do you think that it was maybe some more submerged conflict of this sort that was making you the kind of musician that you were up to that point? Would you say that, or would you say that it was really not?


CF: No, I think really not.


MS: Tormented musician?


CF: No, no. I figure everybody is somewhat tormented, and some people have means of expressing it in an art form. Actually I don't even know that my playing was very tormented or expressive. No, I don't think there's a connection. I mean I look at it the other way, that playing the piano gave me a resource of a kind that a lot of people, a lot of children, don't have, that I really I did have, and I think it stood me in good stead, developed me as a person, but I don't see any particular connection between this and the later revelations.


MS: So your life changes and it's 1964 and you're back in Philadelphia.


CF: Yeah. Yeah, I left school.


MS: How did your family respond?


CF: Oh god. Maybe that's where the permissiveness, well again it cuts both ways. I chose the school I was going to. I mean my parents didn't guide us very much. So I was a pianist, and I chose Oberlin, and I got myself a scholarship, and I got myself there, and then I decided to leave. And I went home and I told them. I didn't consult with them. I told them I was leaving. They were pretty upset, of course, and of course I didn't at that point tell them why. I was having some conflict over whether I wanted to continue as a performance major and go into musicology. And there were other things calling me into the world, I suppose you'd say. It was the exquisite isolation of a practice room and then there was the whole civil rights movement. The Black civil rights movement was especially important to me.


MS: So were those the sort of things that you explained to your parents?


CF: Yes.


MS: And what was the civil rights call all about? What was your personal investment in it all about?


CF: Well it was just so whatever that was for my generation. I don't know that I could say that. I think there are moments when you see things clearly and consciously, that you emerge from who you come from. You emerge from your own background in some kind of way. And I think that has to do with the tenor of the times. And there was a sense, you could suddenly see these enormous social problems of great injustice.


MS: Were there any key events, or friendships, or relationships that propelled you into the civil rights movement? Or really was it watching from afar?


CF: Well I guess more personal than that in that my father is a Jewish businessman. He sold furniture and appliances. Most of his customers were Black. He had a store in the Black community. He had come from an immigrant Jewish background. They had very little when he opened his store. He was living out the purpose of his life, which was pretty constrained. And then, the poor guy, here he has these kids, who with some of the greater resources he could provide us, we could stand off and say that he was prejudiced against Black people, that he was treating them badly.


MS: This was in North Philly? That's where the store was?


CF: This was in North Philadelphia. That's right, exactly. So I think that was the point of personal contact. But it's more than that. There are just moments when things emerge into your consciousness and you're just not the same after that. And somehow the civil rights movement at that point was what carried that for me. So I came back to Philly and got a job, on the basis of some concerts I had played before, at a social agency in North Philly, some concerts I had played when I was still in high school. There was a settlement house, an agency in North Philly that had a very active arts program, and I got a job there teaching and running community-based art shows. It was my attempt to marry my musical background, which had always been so separate from the political and social world, separate from history in a way, with what were the interests of my generation at the time. It also meant that at nineteen I started to earn my own living, however paltry, and believe me it was paltry, but I could support myself. I met a woman almost immediately upon my coming back to Philadelphia. I re-met someone I had known before and we really came out together, I would say.


MS: Were you living at home at this point?


CF: I lived at home just for that summer. Came back and I moved out with this other woman at the end of the summer. And we got an apartment in Center City, Philadelphia, and it was a whole other life.


MS: So you got an apartment together?


CF: Yeah.


MS: And can you tell me a little bit about her background up to that point.


CF: Oh gosh.


MS: Was she a Philadelphian?


CF: Yeah, New Jersey, either Jersey or Philadelphia.


MS: Jewish, also?


CF: No, she wasn't Jewish.


MS: Same age?


CF: Yes, same age.


MS: Similar kind of experiences up to that point?


CF: No, I think we were rather different actually: culturally, different kinds of personalities, very much so. I was more extroverted and she was quite interior, and I was very drawn to that quiet in her. I don't know. What is falling in love? It's very different when you're nineteen. I don't know. But we went off into life together and we did live together for three years in two different places in Center City and really that's, I guess, the period in which I really came to know myself and define myself as a lesbian not only in some private way--oh my god, oh my god, is this true of me--but in an at least somewhat, if not a public sphere, then a community sphere. I began to have lesbian friends, and go to the bars, and make a world around myself. And again, very different from the world I had expected when I was growing up.


MS: And how did you make those friends? Was it primarily through the bars or through your job?


CF: No, no, not through my job. I was very, very worried and very cloaked at my job. It was bad enough being the only white person in a Black agency. I don't know what coming out would have done. We found Rusty's and I started to hang out in Rusty's. I don't think I'd ever had a drink. Well maybe I'd had a couple drinks in my life, but hardly. I was a nice Jewish girl. I got all A's. I played the piano. And suddenly I was spending Friday and Saturday nights at this bar, drinking scotch and soda, smoking. I mean it was a different world, staying up, when did they close the bars? Two o'clock?


MS: Something like that.


CF: About two. Then there were some after-hours clubs. We would sometimes go there and then wind up somewhere for breakfeast at five in the morning, drive home still drunk. I mean I look back, I don't know who that was.


MS: So maybe I'll just ask a couple quick questions. Do you remember where Rusty's was?


CF: Yeah. Well I can't remember the name of that little alleyway, but it was right near the Locust Theater, so it was around there.


MS: You mean the Forrest Theater?


CF: Forrest Theater. Yeah, that's right. It was right near Locust Street.


MS: People have just such great ways of remembering where it was.


CF: That's interesting. Yeah. Have people said what the name of that alley was?


MS: Yeah, but they've said different things. And do you remember the names of any of the after-hours places?


CF: No, there was one we went to that was practically right next door to Rusty's, just up the block.


MS: And what were the after-hours places like?


CF: Oh god, they were a riot. I mean that was my first immersion in just such another world, a real underworld. I mean boys looked like girls and girls looked like boys.


MS: So the after-hours places were mixed lesbian and gay?


CF: Yes, yes.


MS: But Rusty's was primarily lesbian?


CF: Yes, yeah, almost entirely. It was a very butch-femme world in which if you didn't know if you were butch or femme you were in serious trouble, because all the social signals were based on that.


MS: So then did you and your partner come to identify with one and the other?


CF: Yeah, but not in the privacy of our own home so much. But I certainly, well I remember Barbara Gittings saying this and I guess I share this, that since the only two choices were butch and femme, and as femme you had to wear lipstick and heels, we thought we had become lesbians to get away from that.


MS: So were you both identifying as butch then?


CF: No, I was.


MS: You were the butch.


CF: More. Yeah, yeah. My lover was more the femme, if you had to choose in the public sphere.


MS: But it wasn't meaningful for you.


CF: It wasn't meaningful in a private sense.


MS: Right, right. And some people have said that by '64 or '65, those roles were really breaking down. But from what you're saying, they were still pretty operative?


CF: I think they were pretty operative. I think there's again a difference between what the social ethos was and what people were really like in private. And I think it is pretty much like men and women who are adopting those roles, but they obviously couldn't possibly fit in private, so we could just throw them off.


MS: And the after-hours places, were they illegal? Is that the idea of after-hours?


CF: I think they were private clubs or that was my impression. They were private clubs and were in some sense legally chartered as such. I wonder if this was just what I was told.


MS: So would you be members of these clubs?


CF: I think it was the kind of thing where you had to be a member but you could join any time you walked in the door.


MS: Right. And did you ever experience any police harassment at these places?


CF: No. I think from the first I started going to Rusty's, there were always stories people would tell you about raids. So I have a sense that there was a kind of eternal vigilance going on and I do know there were times when I would see sort of burly looking men come in and have some exchange of conversation with Rusty. No, it was the woman, I can't remember her name, the woman who was the manager, who worked with Rusty. Dee something. And people would say to each other, “That's the Mafia,” or “That's the Vice Squad. And they're being paid off or this kind of thing.” This was the mythology. Maybe it was true. I don't know.


MS: So you had the sense that maybe there was Mafia connections?


CF: Yeah, that's what we were always told.


MS: Could you give me a sense of the flavor of Rusty's? What it looked like, what it meant for you?


CF: Gosh. It was dark. There was always great music on. There was a tremendous sense of sexual electricity in the air. It was the shadow side of everything I'd been brought up with, and that side is always both enticing and threatening in equal parts. So that's the way I remember Rusty's, a sense of excitement, of danger, of possibly having fallen off the edge of the known world and not knowing what that would mean for the future, maybe there not being a future. I mean there were a lot of tough looking women who would hang out at the bar who must have been like, oh my god, thirty-five or forty. As I sit here, I'm forty-eight. These were the oldest women I'd ever seen who were lesbians. It was scary. It was scary and titillating.


MS: Was there something to be scared about, looking back on it now? Were there real possibilities of violence or legal trouble?


CF: Yeah, I think so. Yeah, I do. Well I wasn't there during the raid that happened when we were first getting involved politically. I knew people who were and who spent the night or at least some hours in jail and all of that. Yeah, I think that there was real danger and I think there is a danger of falling off the edge of the known social world and known culture. And I think that happened to a lot people.


MS: Were relations in the bar pretty supportive amongst strangers?


CF: Yeah, yeah, I think so. I mean there is always sort of sexual diciness and couple diciness, but that's as much youthful as it is anything else that was going on. I think generally people cared about and for each other and watched out for each other.


MS: You said after the after-hours places you would go out for breakfast. Did you have favorite spots?


CF: There was a place at 17th and Delancey. I don't remember what that was called. We went there a lot. And then there was a place right there near Rusty's. I'm sorry, I can't remember the name.


MS: It wouldn't have been Dewey's, would it?


CF: Oh yes, of course.


MS: Was it Dewey's? Was that the place you were just thinking of?


CF: At 17th and Delancey, right?


MS: The addresses I have are 13th and 17th, two of them, at Chancellor.


CF: Maybe. Somehow I remember 17th and Delancey. Or maybe it could be 13th and Delancey.


MS: There were two of them.


CF: Yeah, O.K., maybe.


MS: So Dewey's was a place?


CF: Yeah, that was definitely a place.


MS: And what was the atmosphere like at Dewey's? Was it also mixed gay and lesbian?


CF: Yes. That was gay and lesbian and straight people, too. People were almost always still pretty drunk or high or anyway otherwise affected, so it was a nice atmosphere. It was kind of fun. It wasn't threatening. I picture Rusty's as pitch black, very dark, and then the breakfast places as the real glare of the lights.


MS: People have said to me that drag queens frequented Dewey's.


CF: Yes, yes that's right, yeah.


MS: In ways that they didn't Rusty's or the after-hours clubs or were they there as well?


CF: I saw them at the after-hours clubs. I don't remember many drag queens at Rusty's, because it was a lesbian place. I guess there were some, maybe, who would hang out at the bar, but mostly the contact I had with drag queens was at the after-hours clubs and at the breakfast places.


MS: And did lesbians and drag queens get along, as far as you remember?


CF: Yeah. Yeah. To the extent that there was any real contact, there would be playful interaction, always I guess around the central theme of who's the real woman. And I mean they always won hands down.


MS: And maybe just to step back for a second, we talked before about the coffeehouses in the late '50s. Did you ever go to those?


CF: Well I did. I was interested. That was more of my sort of musical side. I was sort of a beatnik and interested in folk music. So I did. I wasn't aware of them, at all then, as connected with homosexual culture. I don't remember being conscious of that. I would have been then around fourteen, fifteen. I just don't remember that. And even when I started my passionate love affair with Ann Smith when I was sixteen, I don't think I made those connections to a homosexual subculture or anything. It was sort of a private experience then.


MS: I see. Do you remember the names of any of those coffeehouses?


CF: No. I was going to ask you actually. 'Cause I heard Nina Simone played in one of the clubs.


MS: Is that right?


CF: Yeah, and probably Joan Baez. Oh the Gilded Cage we used to go to a lot.


MS: That's one. That's one of the four that I've heard about. The Proscenium.


CF: The Proscenium, yes.


MS: Humoresque.


CF: That I don't remember.


MS: And the Artist Hut.


CF: The Artist's Hut, yeah I remember that.


MS: So it sounds like the Artist's Hut and the Gilded Cage.


CF: Yeah, the Gilded Cage I hung out in a lot. I'd forgotten that. When I was in high school.


MS: Was one of those places where Nina Simone played or did she play more of a club?


CF: She must have played a club, but it may have been in the same area, the same time of my life, 'cause she was at Curtis.


MS: Well then I have another question about the coffeehouses, Rusty's, the after-hours clubs, and Dewey's. And I am asking you this particularly because you were interested in the civil rights movement. Were these places pretty much all white? Were they mixed Black and white? Do you have any recollection of that?


CF: The after-hours clubs were mixed, because I can really remember there being Black queens, because they stand out. It’s a really good question. I’m searching my inner video screen. I don't remember Black women at Rusty's. But it seems to me, especially given the fact that I was working at an all-Black agency during the day, it's astonishing to me that I can't definitively answer your question. That's really interesting. I just don't know.


MS: That wouldn't have necessarily been on your mind.


CF: But you'd think it would be. Because really all during the day I was very much given over to that and I was the only white person working in a Black agency, so I was quite aware of those issues. And visually I was very aware of it. So I think Rusty's must have been entirely or nearly entirely white. It must have been, but I can't quite picture it. The after-hours clubs, definitely mixed. Dewey's was mixed, also.


MS: Black lesbians as well as Black queens?


CF: No, I don't think so.


MS: So what stands out in your memory?


CF: Black men, Black queens, and white lesbian women, I think. That's what I can see.


MS: And the coffeehouses?


CF: Oh gosh. I think they were mixed, but maybe with just like a smattering of Black people who were kind of more identified with the white beatnik culture.


MS: Right.


CF: That's my guess, but I am not certain.


MS: How about Rittenhouse Square? Was that a place where you hung out?


CF: Yeah, yeah, walked through. I don't know about hanging out there.


MS: And what was that scene like?


CF: Actually I know Rittenhouse Square more as a musician, I guess. There was a big art exhibition every year in the park, in the Square there, so I guess I relate to the Square more as an artist.


MS: And when you say music, do you mean because Curtis...


CF: Because Curtis was there and the Academy was right down the street and I took piano lessons around there, so I suppose I think of it more that way. I think later, then, when I came back from college, came back to Philadelphia, I revisited certain places that I had known in a certain context and found that there was, again, this underworld going on that I had not been aware of when I was younger.


MS: Right.


CF: So I think I became aware of Rittenhouse Square as a gay meeting place.


MS: Did you and your partner, when you lived in Center City, socialize in other lesbians' homes? Often?


CF: Yes, primarily that.


MS: Some people are arguing that bars weren't quite as central as other people have made them out to be, because especially lesbians socialized a lot at house parties and in other peoples' homes. Would you say that was the case for you?


CF: I wouldn't underestimate the importance of the bar. We certainly did socialize in other lesbians' homes, with women who had apartments in Center City. But I would say that the bar was the real spiritual, recreational community center for me at that point. It really was.


MS: And the parties in peoples' homes, would they be small dinner parties, or just getting together to talk, or would they be large?


CF: I remember more large dance parties. It seems to me smaller dinner parties, that's more sophisticated than I was then. That came later. I remember bigger dance parties.


MS: Center City, all of them?


CF: Center City, yeah.


MS: Were you aware of lesbians in other parts of the city at that point?


CF: I think it wasn't until I was politically involved that I met women from Germantown, Mount Airy, from that area. I think that the bar world and the friends that grew out of that, that was almost entirely Center City.


MS: Would you have thought of Center City as a lesbian and gay neighborhood back then?


CF: Yeah, yeah. I think at that point, I think that's fair to say, yeah.


MS: Maybe we should shift here to talk about your getting involved with the movement. And I guess maybe we could just start with the first gay or lesbian or mixed political organization you encountered and became a part of.


CF: I'll tell you the first thing I remember, but the memory doesn't come out of any context of how I got there. I remember going to a woman's office on Broad Street, it seems to me, again around Walnut, Locust, Lombard, those streets. Somebody must have told me, but that's what I can't remember, how I learned about this, that a chapter of DOB had been formed. I'll just tell you what I can really remember. I can remember feeling frightened, nauseated, lightheaded, as an elevator went up to the floor. It seems to me now like it was the hundredth floor. It was probably like the seventh floor of this office building downtown. And there was a woman who had her own business. She did mailings and that kind of thing as a kind of private contractor for different businesses. And we went into this. I don't even know who the we is now. I am not certain. I and somebody, or some friends, went into an office, probably not too unlike this, but loaded with boxes, and do you know what a mimeograph machine is?


MS: Yes.


CF: She did mimeographing and all that kind of stuff. And I just remember my terror because this was really different from going to the bar. I mean the first times I went to the bar I was scared, too. But this was really different because it was daylight, because I was saying something about myself. I was going to engage the world in some way, not just stay within the sort of ghetto of a social life as a lesbian, whatever that would have been then. I just remember that terror, and then feeling more and more confident as I went to future meetings. I think not only was this a way of engaging with the world. It was important in terms of changing the world, but for me I think this was the essential step out. Having started to, I think, view myself, and just realized that I was gay, having viewed myself in negative terms, not being able to integrate the knowledge that I was gay with everything else I knew about myself, this provided the opportunity to integrate that. And the signal thing was it was my first real contact with the idea that homosexuals constituted a minority movement and could be viewed as having not a psychological problem but a civil rights problem. I mean I just remember how that changed everything for me, made everything possible.


MS: Let me ask a couple of background questions then. Did you know about the DOB before this meeting?


CF: I mean I told you I wouldn't be very good at this. I just don't know.


MS: You're not sure.


CF: I must have, mustn't I? But I just don't know.


MS: You don't think you'd ever necessarily seen The Ladder?


CF: I suppose for me to have gone to that meeting, somebody told me about that. It may have been Ada. I'm not sure if I knew Ada by then, if we went to that together, if that happened later. I don't remember.


MS: Well certainly some of those people were going to Rusty's.


CF: Yeah, yeah.


MS: So maybe it was through that. Do you remember the woman's name? You were trying to guess outside?


CF: I was trying to guess before. It was Lindsay or Limley?


MS: Something like that.


CF: Something like that.


MS: She ran her own business?


CF: Yes.


MS: In this office building?


CF: Yeah.


MS: And do you remember how many women were at the meeting?


CF: Oh.


MS: In the ballpark?


CF: It would have felt like hundreds. Probably twenty or something like that.


MS: And I know this is hard, but do you think all white?


CF: Yeah, I do.


MS: Do you think primarily middle class? Or all middle class? Not that you would have necessarily known, but what your impression was.


CF: I would think primarily middle class.


MS: And you're not sure who you were with, who had you gone with?


CF: Well see I can't remember whether I met Ada, Barbara Gittings; they sort of represent the next phase of my life. And I just can't remember if I met them first and then went to what was then the DOB or whether I met them through that. But I guess it's O.K., because Ada knows that and she'll tell you.


MS: Do you remember who ran the meeting? And do you remember Edna?


CF: I do remember Edna.


MS: She was the president of the chapter.


CF: Oh, so maybe she was the president then. I thought she became president.


MS: I'm not sure actually.


CF: Yeah.


MS: Do you remember where she was from, what part of the city, how old she was?


CF: No. I'll tell you. I guess what I'd say is I remember. You know how it is in something like that? You have this one thing in common and you don't even know that your relation to that thing is like other peoples' relation to that thing. So you are not even sure that you in fact have that in common. So here I was with a group of people, a group of women who were very different from me. We were brought together around this one central organizing theme in our lives. And I'd say that Edna was one of the people, one of the many people I've been friends with in my life who I met only because we were lesbians. So I don't remember. Part of not remembering much about her is not remembering that we had many threads of connection other than that.


MS: So it sounds like maybe you had more connection with Ada?


CF: Yes, yes.


MS: What else did you share with Ada?


CF: Oh, gee lots of things. Intellectual interests, political interests, love of music, the arts, theater.


MS: Same thing with Barbara Gittings, would you say?


CF: Who gets to listen to this?


MS: We can pause it if you want to. Theoretically anybody. This would be publicly available.


CF: O.K. Yeah, I think Barbara and I, there are also many points of overlap. I think Barbara and I were maybe more different in terms of class background and in terms of ethnicity, cultural background, in general.


MS: Class background because Barbara was wealthier?


CF: Yes, yes, decidedly.


MS: So were people aware at that point that Barbara came from a wealthy family?


CF: Yeah. Barbara had a very, I think, graceful way of dealing with it. She described herself as independently middle class. And I've always appreciated the way she did that, in that she always said that that freed her to be able to devote her time exclusively to the gay movement and to being a full-time activist. She was a very important person for me and I appreciated that.


MS: You said that to me before. Could you say more about how it was that she was important to you?


CF: Yeah. I think just being who I was and being somebody who maybe always has been interested in probing more the psychological strand of things, it was really refreshing to meet someone who did not view much of the world at all in depth or psychoanalytic terms. It was terrific for the spotlight to be turned away from why me, why this, what caused, which is also a pretty cultural thing, too. I mean it's pretty Jewish kinds of concerns. Barbara's concern was with the out there, with the interface between us and them, and that they were the ones who needed changing. That was just a breath of fresh air. Also, Barbara to me seemed then so free of conflict. Well she was so free of conflict over her own lesbianism. And I think she was the first person I ever knew for whom that was really true and who not only articulated that but was that. And you know how that's how we know that's possible for ourselves is we see it? And I saw it. And Ada was also that for me. Someone free and clear about this. And you know it changed me. It changed me. I could take off like a suit of clothes a lot of worries that I'd been carrying around.


MS: Now Barbara, as far as I understand, was not involved in the initial period of the local DOB. Is that right?


CF: Yeah, I think that's true. Yeah.


MS: But Ada was.


CF: Yes.


MS: And it seemed like pretty quickly you and Ada became the editors of the DOB newsletter?


CF: Well see, it's funny. I remember us being the editors of the HAL newsletter. Were we editors of the DOB newsletter before that? I'm not certain.


MS: Let me check my own notes.


CF: But maybe. Oh. Oh yeah. I'm sorry, we were.


MS: Newsletter August '67. CF and AB as editors.


CF: Yeah, yeah, you're right.


MS: It lasted, I guess, just a year, maybe under a year.


CF: And then it became HAL. I never liked to say HAL. H. A. L. Yes, Ada and I became lovers. I would have been twenty-two. So that's 1967. So you see for me, the personal, the political, also having a forum, a quasi-public forum, for working out my own thoughts about all this, that all came together really, at that time, in '67.


MS: I see. So then your earlier relationship: I guess you said it lasted three years.


CF: Yeah.


MS: But that had ended. That had ended before you got involved with Ada?


CF: Yes, yes, when that relationship ended, I moved out to Germantown, so I knew Ada. And do you know a woman named Lourdes Alvarez?


MS: Ada referred to her.


CF: I knew Lourdes, Ada, and I guess I knew Barbara Gittings then. I'm sorry the chronology is just very unclear to me. But somewhere in there I moved out to Wayne Avenue and I lived just a couple of blocks from Ada. And we became lovers shortly after I moved to Germantown, but I lived alone then for a couple of years and Ada and I visited.


MS: How long were you involved with Ada?


CF: Probably two to three years.


MS: And was there a bar on Wayne Avenue or Germantown Avenue at that time?


CF: It sounds like you know that there was. There was something.


MS: I am not sure of the time period. It might not have been this time period. There was something, but I am not sure that this is the right time.


CF: I have a feeling that there was something. I think then my life moved more from the bar to the political sphere, so I don't remember. Oh well. There is something. There was something there.


MS: You are remembering?


CF: Yeah, I am. It is like a sense memory of a place.


MS: So you don't know which street it was?


CF: No, sorry.


MS: Now what did DOB Philadelphia do? You met weekly or monthly, do you recall? I'll pull out my notes for this…


CF: O.K., yes, yeah.


MS: jog your memory. Well it seemed that the newsletter was pretty substantial, with reporting on a lot of things.


CF: Yeah, I think the main thing that I did, I guess, was that.


MS: And I guess what I noticed in reading the issues was that there was a real focus on the media.


CF: Uhhuh [assent].


MS: Criticizing media treatment of homosexuality.


CF: Uhhuh [assent].


MS: And why do you think that was? Of all things to pick out, the media?


CF: Why that above all


MS: You didn't, for example, in every issue criticize the church. Or in every issue criticize the police.


CF: No, the church wasn't important. What I remember being important was the psychiatric establishment and the media, those two things. It seems to me there were a lot of books, Socarides? Do you remember? There seemed to be a spate of books. I guess the issue was getting more public focus at that point. I don't know why. It's as though the world was gathering steam for Stonewall, but something was bringing it out more into the public. So the media images were there for us to react against and use as a kind of diving board for our own ideas, and in the same way the crap coming out of the psychiatric establishment provided easy polemical targets for us.


MS: I know in the first newsletter there's some criticism of Clark Polak. Do you have any memory of him?


CF: I'm sorry, I don't. I really don't.


MS: The Janus Society? Trojan Book Service?


CF: When you say the names, I know them. I recognize them, but that's about all. It doesn't bring anything up.


MS: O.K. So you weren't aware, when the DOB moved into an office at 34 South 17th Street, that the offices would have been adjoining this other organization or this porn business? Not necessarily? Do you remember the Philadelphia Magazine story called “The Invisible Sorority”?


CF: “The Invisible Sorority.” Yes, vaguely, yeah.


MS: That was in '67.


CF: That was the first media treatment of the lesbian community?


MS: Lesbians, specifically. Yeah, yeah. Did you talk to reporters for that? Do you recall?


CF: Oh Jesus. I don't know.


MS: I'll tell you what my notes say.


CF: O.K., yeah, yeah.


MS: DOB was mentioned as just as a social but not a political organization, and DOB was described as having been established because of dissatisfaction with male domination in Janus. But not everyone was pleased with that description.


CF: Gosh, it feels like I should be able to comment on that. I can't.


MS: Well I think maybe if you had been one of the founders you might have been in on that.


CF: Yeah, yeah. I just wasn't aware of that.


MS: O.K. You said something before that you do remember the Free Library policy. What was that all about?


CF: Yeah, yeah, 'cause that was really important to me, 'cause when I realized at Oberlin that I was gay. I hesitated, ‘cause I am trying to use language that was contemporary then as well as now, so I keep tripping over it. I went to the Oberlin Library and there I found that even there you had to, I think, sign out books on homosexuality, especially. And then when I was back in Philadelphia and becoming more politically active, that's what I found at the Free Library in Philadelphia. And the reason given was that homosexuals stole the books and of course it's like security clearance. If it were safe to be gay, gay people wouldn't have to steal books about being gay, obviously. And there were so few sources of information about who one was and could be. That’s what I remember best, I guess, looking back. It's not just the absence of positive role models and rhetoric like that. There was such an absence of images of possibility, of how to be a human being, how to be this kind of a human being. And if you are given at all to learning about the world through books, through movies, through t.v., and if you either can't get access to those things or the images presented to you are distorted or are just used for commercial purposes, it's tragic for the individuals whose lives are constrained in that way. It really is. So I think that's some of the background of my battle with the Free Library of Philadelphia, my criticism of it anyway.


MS: Did the effort succeed?


CF: You probably know. I don't remember the outcome. I remember we wrote articles. It was a big battle of Barbara's as well, of course, because Barbara was so much involved with the power of books to shape people's lives. We at least got an answer from them. I can't remember if it made any difference.


MS: Let's see what else I have here. There's an article about proposed changes in Pennsylvania's legal code that thanks the ACLU and Tom Harvey. Do you remember any help that you got from the ACLU?


CF: I remember later contact with the ACLU when Byrna Aronson was working for them.


MS: Oh right.


CF: But obviously this preceded that. That's who. That's the name. Tom was Byrna's boss later. That's why his name is familiar to me.


MS: Are you thinking of Spencer Coxe?


CF: Oh yes.


MS: Harvey may have worked for them as well, but I know that Spencer Coxe was the executive director.


CF: Yeah, O.K., O.K. Thank you.


MS: One other thing I wanted to ask about DOB. DOB, in the earlier part of the '60s, has been criticized for being very hostile to bar lesbians, and yet it seemed to me that in Philadelphia, DOB...


CF: Was bar lesbians, yeah.


MS: Is that accurate, yeah?


CF: Yeah, I think that's true.


MS: So you didn't spend meetings talking about butch/femme roles critically?


CF: No, I think it really was a social group, and I guess today we'd be called pretty vanilla dykes. I mean the bar culture that I was part of, the bar social groups, were middle class, with all that goes with that, so it was easy to move that to this person's office and have similar kinds of discussions, but away from the smoke or the alcohol. But it was the same group of people.


MS: So you didn't experience the bars as being more working class?


CF: I experienced the bars as being both, as being divided between tougher, working class, for me, the other lesbians, and then more middle class women who were going to the bars to meet each other because that's where you did. That's where you were able to do that.


MS: So that was what was familiar about DOB?


CF: Yeah, it was that. It was more the middle class women who I met in bars, but in another venue.


MS: I see. Can you give me any sense, in the year that DOB was around, of how it related to gay male activists? Was there anything ever done with gay male activists in that initial period?


CF: I don't remember. I really don't remember. I mean somewhere along there, and again I think you are just going to get a much better account of this from everybody else, all I really remember, Marc, is that somewhere in that period of time, some of us wanted the group to become more politically engaged, not only to be a social meeting ground, but to be more involved in social change. And it seemed then that the vanguard would be for gay men and lesbians to be working together. You know feminism later turned everything on its head, but at that time, DOB seemed restrictive. I don't know if I am so much remembering as reporting right now memories of things people would say. That DOB seemed a little prissy.


MS: Do you mean the national DOB?


CF: Yeah, yea, and therefore a big part of the local group. I don't know if this is true or not, but my feeling is that there was a sense of, “Ooh men,” which wasn't feminist; it wasn't lesbian consciousness; it was some kind of old thing that women had. “Ooh, men. Ooh, they're dirty or something, aren't they?” So it seemed that it was more forward looking to work together. And I just do remember those discussions. I don't even honestly remember who all took part in them, but I remember the discussions and the sense that in order to do that and to be that kind of gay political person in Philadelphia, that we would need to either bring men into DOB or to break away from DOB and we did go out of it.


MS: Do you remember where Barbara stood on that question?


CF: Yes. I hope I am correct on this. I think she very much wanted integrated gay and lesbian groups working together.


MS: And Ada as well?


CF: Yeah, yeah.


MS: And would you say that all three of you remained strong in your support of that position, even later, or did it change?


CF: I think it changed. I think we took different paths then. I was later on more affected by feminism, I think. That may not be fair to say, but just as, for me, realizing that one could be gay and healthy and all that one had always been before, and this, too, just as that was a great kind of earthquake in my consciousness, the next big earthquake in my consciousness was certainly brought on by feminism. And so I moved in the direction of not so much segregating away from men. I was never really a separatist. I just became more interested in the conversations going on as a result of feminism; let me put it that way. So I started to have a lot of women friends who had not been gay-identified, who had not been lesbians, who had started out coming out through feminism, and I was quite different from them, but quite interested in what they were going through. I may have felt by that time just less, there was less charge for me, less I had to learn maybe, from the gay movement and more I had to learn from re-thinking myself as a woman. So I was affected by that, but I became much less involved by that point with the gay movement. That was just no longer so alive for me. I think for Barbara and Ada, it was different. Certainly for Barbara, it was.


MS: I want to go back to HAL in a minute, but as long as we're on this, what were your main institutional connections to the women's movement and feminism, or were there any, for you in the '70s?


CF: The major one was that little microcosm, the CR [consciousness-raising] group. So I went from being more engaged in a political sense with the outside world and turned more inward to myself, with other women, in a CR kind of setting. So that was quite different.


MS: Did you have a relatively stable CR group?


CF: Yes, for a couple of years, yeah.


MS: You did?


CF: Yeah, yeah.


MS: And it was mixed straight, lesbian?


CF: Yes, it was mostly lesbian.


MS: Mostly lesbian.


CF: Yeah.


MS: And when did that start?


CF: Let's see. I moved to Albany in '73. That would have started in '71.


MS: Maybe we can come back to that after talking about HAL for a little bit. So why don't you tell me how DOB became HAL?


CF: Well I should remember that. I don't. I remember the sense of impassioned discussion and excitement and the breaking away from the mother organization. I don't know.


MS: Was the raid on Rusty's really the catalyst?


CF: Well, I actually need to ask you. I am not sure how that related to the chronology of our becoming HAL. I mean the raid on Rusty's was a key event in Philadelphia.


MS: I have that as that happening in March of 1968 and HAL starts up in August, but I actually don't want to…


CF: Well lead me a little bit, because I really don't remember.


MS: One of the interpretations that I've gotten about the way HAL got started was that after the raid on Rusty's in March of '68, a group of women, including Byrna, joined, came to DOB saying, “What can you do to help us?”


CF: Yes, that's right.


MS: There were meetings between DOB and the police.


CF: Right, right.


MS: And this then somehow connected to what you were saying, that there was a feeling that DOB was not the best institutional vehicle for becoming more political.


CF: Yeah, yeah right.


MS: And then some people have also said that, again what you were saying, that there was a thought that, particularly because raids were a more frequent thing for gay men, that it was time for a mixed-sex organization.


CF: Yeah, yeah.


MS: So would you agree with all of that?


CF: Would I agree with that? Yeah, I just can't remember the chronology. I can remember the themes of these discussions. I think I can remember Byrna first coming to what was then DOB, although I don't even necessarily remember that it was DOB at that point. I remember this sense of crisis, of a radicalizing event. I guess for me, Marc, here Ada and I were writing this stuff, the newsletter, and that was very engaged, but it was also very protected. We were writing our ideas and arguing and setting out these points, dot-dot-dot-dot-dot, and sending it out to forty people who already agreed with us. I mean that was the way we were fighting the battle, developing our own repertoire of ideas and arguments. And I think Byrna and Barbara--have you met Barbara Hill?


MS: I haven't.


CF: Byrna and Barbara are the women I remember--there were probably a couple others--came to us. Whether it was presented to us as a challenge or not, I think I can remember the feeling that this was the challenge of were we going to really try to change the world or were we going to talk among ourselves about how the world ought to change. And I think that it is then for me, certainly for DOB, that there was friction there, that it wasn't the right vehicle. It was a social organization and certainly at that point we felt an identity as gay people, gay men, gay women, suffering from the same discrimination and needing to fight the same battles. So it does make sense to me that that all would have come together and then we would have broken away to form HAL.


MS: To backtrack for a second, you said several times that DOB was really a social organization. Would you say that DOB was a CR group?


CF: No, not a CR group. I wouldn't say that.


MS: O.K. How would you talk about the difference?


CF: How's it different? I think the particular genius of a CR group was that women looked inward and explored in depth difficult personal issues as those issues intersected with ideas of being women in the world. And there was a format, I guess sometimes it became a formula, but there was a structured mechanism for women to hear themselves and each other. DOB, I mean we certainly had discussions, but they would have been less excavating, I think, by intent--more social discussions, the way friends, the way people may throw around ideas. But I think CR was really meant to transform consciousness.


MS: So it sounds like they were simultaneously less personal and less political in DOB.


CF: Yes, yes. In that sense, and that's not saying something negative, more providing a social place for women to meet each other. And certainly we would always joke that women would come to the group when they were looking to find a lover and become politically or socially involved with the group for a period of time, and then couples would sort of disappear, and then they would break up and they would come back.


MS: Did that happen?


CF: Yeah, definitely. And that's not to be sneezed at. That was an important function.


MS: Right. One of the most important.


CF: Yeah, absolutely.


MS: So could you say a little bit more about your first impressions of Byrna. What did you know about her? And let me just say, when I ask you, that each interview that I do can often help me get a sense of ten other peoples' lives, depending on how much you, for example, know about someone else like Byrna.


CF: Right, right. I can almost remember, I think I remember, the first time Byrna must have come into DOB. And see there are a lot of different things. I think that she challenged us in, my feeling is, class terms. I mean in the sense that there was this middle-class, more intellectual sort of niceness about DOB. And Byrna, while she, I believe, came from a middle-class, maybe even upper middle-class Jewish background, still seemed to come more from the hard knocks of the street. She was more streetwise. She had defected more than the other women in DOB, I think, from middle-class ideas of success. I wonder if this is my later interpretation. I think that was my sense then. And yet she could speak both languages. She could speak the more structured, intellectual, educated, all that kind of stuff, so she could challenge more middle-class women, if that's the right term. You know what I mean, though?


MS: Yes. Was she from Philadelphia, as far as you knew?


CF: Well I know that she was from up here, from Boston area, but I don't remember when I learned that.


MS: Right.


CF: So I experienced her as kind of coming out of the darkness, out of the darkness of the bar scene. And she was radicalized by this terrible experience. I don't know. Were they actually put in jail? Or just booked?


MS: Let's see. Ada gave me details on this story. I think eighteen people were arrested. They were searched. I don't remember if they were held overnight.


CF: Actually, yeah.


MS: At most, they were held overnight.


CF: Yeah, yeah, but it was pretty, pretty horrible. And my sense is that that changed the world for Byrna, relatively quickly, really overnight. I have to call Ada after you leave and find out about all this. And as I said, that presented us with a challenge of who we really were going to be.


MS: And was there real difference of opinion? Did some people feel that DOB should continue to be as it was?


CF: I'm sure they must have, but that's not what I remember. I remember the energy for change and the yes.


MS: And so you and Ada certainly were for change.


CF: Yes, yeah, no doubt. So I don't remember the other voices. Were they there?


MS: Not that I've heard.


CF: I don't remember anybody hanging back from it.


MS: And do you remember meeting with the police on the issue of the raid?


CF: I don't. I don't. I don't think I did.


MS: And let me just check my notes once more to see if there’s anything else, while DOB was DOB. Let's see, there's a note in the newsletter about Barbara Gittings attending a meeting. So I guess when I said before that she hadn't been involved at first, I think that must have been accurate. At least according to the newsletter, she attended a meeting in March '68 and that was sufficiently new that it was...


CF: That we reported on it.


MS: Right at the time of the raid. My sense from the article was that she was asked to come to help figure out how to deal with the police. Does that ring a bell?


CF: No, but she had not been involved in DOB before?


MS: Right. Not the local chapter.


CF: Right, right. But we certainly knew her and were friends. I can't quite put that together.


MS: Ada said something about her being too big of a national activist and that local people didn't think that the group yet was worth her time. Something like that.


CF: That the group didn't think that, huh! She sounded very modest in that sense.


MS: Let's see. May '68, there was a note in the newsletter about the Reading picnic.


CF: Yeah, what was that? You would like to know that.


MS: I don't know. Maybe was there was an annual summer picnic?


CF: Yeah, there was some huge gathering, yeah. But sorry, I can't remember.


MS: July Fourth Independence Hall demonstration.


CF: Oh yes, yes.


MS: Did you participate in it?


CF: Oh yes, I did participate in one of them.


MS: In one of them.


CF: Yeah.


MS: And I guess maybe it would have been the '68 one? There was one more after that, in '69.


CF: That I don't know, but I certainly...


MS: O.K., what do you remember of it?


CF: Oh gosh, I remember we would have worn skirts. It was a time of looking like the enemy so they would think that we weren't so different after all. And you know it's funny. I mean I would now say they had every right to be frightened; we're just as different as they thought. Then I would have thought, “No, no, we’re just like you.” I remember walking around in a circle. There were some placards. I remember Barbara Gittings being there. It seems to me it was a combination of men and women. I don't remember--did Frank Kameny come up from Washington for that? I don't remember who the other men were, if they were really part of our circle.


MS: Do you remember Kiyoshi?


CF: No.


MS: Kuromiya. Japanese American activist. He went to several of them. I don't know if he went to the one that you were at. Some men came down from New York, I know. Does that sound familiar?


CF: Yeah. Oh was that put on by ECHO? So it was regional rather than...




CF: ERCHO, then, it was.


MS: I don't know exactly who sponsored in which year.


CF: I guess it was a regional thing, so it would have been a number of people, and most of them I didn't know.


MS: Barbara makes it a point of saying that Clark Polak paid for nicely lettered signs.


CF: Oh, that I don't remember. I'm sure, if she said it, it must be true.


MS: O.K. Was it terrifying to do this openly in your hometown?


CF: It was scary. It was scary. I don't think anything was ever as terrifying as that first elevator ride up to my first lesbian meeting. I think that's really true.


MS: What's so interesting about that was that that was inside, in an office.


CF: That was inside, yeah, but it was a symbolic moment of saying yes, really. So this was more a calculated risk, I suppose, in terms of the outside world, who would see and who would not see. But I guess my own sense is that that's not as risky as how you feel inside. And once that's clear, then the rest can flow pretty rationally from that.


MS: Did walking around a picket feel familiar 'cause of civil rights work?


CF: Yes, yes, right, and I think that that part felt good, felt familiar, felt safe in a certain way, because there was a structure for it.


MS: So what kind of civil rights pickets had you done before. Did you do a whole lot of them or were there a few times that you had done them before in the Black civil rights movement?


CF: I had done more rallies, I suppose, not picketing so much, but rallies in communities, more local kinds of things. But I think what was familiar was the sense of taking a principled stand.
And that's also protection: “I'm not queer, I'm taking a principled stand.” That kind of thing. So that if you're challenged, you could discuss it at a level that wasn't personal. It was about the social issue that you were battling. I was, by then, out to my family, and I had addressed the areas that would have been of greatest risk.


MS: How had they responded? Your family?


CF: Well at first it was a process. At first it was hard. I think that the first words my mother said were, “Oh god. Why did you have to tell us?” I don't think I am alone in that. My father didn't even quite get it. It was like he didn't have his word for it. It's funny; we talked about it a lot, half an hour, whatever, and in the middle, I think he literally hit his head and said, “Oh my god. You mean you're a lesbian.” It was like once he had that word, then he knew what I was saying. Because I hadn't used that word, because it wasn't the word I used when I was nineteen, twenty, twenty-one. He didn't quite know. But then my parents, they went through a process and came out the other end. And my mother, especially. My father didn't. My father died a couple of years after I told him, but my mother has certainly come to her own comfort and acceptance.


MS: And your brothers?


CF: Oh, with my brothers it's not been an issue. It's been no problem, no issue. My older brother and I especially talked a great deal about it. And my older brother, whom you met, was actively exploring the sexual frontier of his own, so he liked talking about it, because it was another way we were different from our parents' generation. Of interest that way.


MS: Right. And did either of your partners at that point meet your family?


CF: Oh yeah. Yeah, everybody always met my family, with more or less success.


MS: Would you bring them to family gatherings and dinners and holidays?


CF: Yeah. Not the extended family. That took longer. That came later in my life. I think there especially I wanted, with the extended and large Friedman family, I wanted to be married, be in stable ongoing relationships. When I had more passing relationships, whether I knew they were passing or not at the time. Someone I was with for a year or two would certainly get to know my mother and usually my older brother as well.


MS: So then maybe to go back to HAL.


CF: Right, right. Is this useful?


MS: Oh yes, all of this is.


CF: Really? O.K.


MS: So the July Fourth demonstration, I guess that was one of the last things DOB did before becoming HAL in August. Do you remember men starting to come to the meetings?


CF: I don't remember an actual moment of changeover. As I told you, there were a few men who I especially remember, who I guess I had real friendships with. Jerry Curtis, his lover Johnny, whose last name I can't remember. I forget about that. And a guy named George Kazin, I think. Well that may be a different George. George, let me just say George. Yeah I think that's a different person.


MS: What age were they at the time? Were they young?


CF: They would have been middle to late twenties. Middle twenties, I guess.


MS: Again, white?


CF: Yes, yeah. And I think Byrna and Jerry were really pretty close.


MS: Bar guys?


CF: Were they bar guys?


MS: Yeah.


CF: Yeah, yeah.


MS: And do you remember at all the atmosphere of the meetings when the men first started coming, or even later on, when men had started to come? Were things smooth now that men were in the group?


CF: I don't remember.


MS: O.K., maybe I'll ask a more abstract question. Some people suggested that the usual dynamic in male-female groups where men dominate would or should be different in lesbian-gay organizations because stereotypically...


CF: The women were men!


MS: Right, exactly. Did you find that to be the case in HAL?


CF: No, I think it is true. I mean it is my sense that it is true that the women continued to have the leadership roles, but I think that that's because it had been an all-women's group, so that leadership pattern had already begun and that system of relating was already there. So men, like new women coming in, were coming into something that was already established and had its own patterns. So I think it remained women dominated. But maybe I remember that because that's who I was. But that is what I recall. I don't remember. I don't remember problems, Marc. I mean there must have been, but I really don't remember friction.


MS: And what did HAL do while you were involved with HAL? Was it a more active group than DOB? You're not remembering? O.K., well let me try again with some specific things. January '69, HAL distributing an ACLU pamphlet?


CF: On the street?


MS: On what to do if arrested.


CF: O.K. I don't remember.


MS: I'll just throw all these out. Correspondence with the Liquor Control Board.


CF: Yeah. Do you know if I was involved in that?


MS: No. None of these things are specific.


CF: O.K. I don't know either. I mean this is all vaguely familiar.


MS: New office, 1321 Arch Street.


CF: Yeah, yeah.


MS: Employment survey for ERCHO?


CF: Yeah, that I do remember.


MS: What was the idea of doing that?


CF: I remember some discussions. I guess I remember myself feeling very strongly that the basic practical real-life thing that kept gay people down was just the economic fear that if you were found out, you would be unemployed.  And I mean that continues to strike me as an awfully important point. But I think a number of us were pretty focused on that as the key issue, that if we could move that along, that was a wedge that would have more impact than any one of a number of other things. So it seemed that the first thing, during this period of time, you had to kind of establish the bona fide need that everybody knew was self-evident. So we concocted this scheme to do some kind of a survey where we would hopefully get large companies to say whether they had a policy, and if so, what that policy was. And I suppose we planned to use that in some way. I don't remember.


MS: Do you remember there being much of a response?


CF: I think it was a rather small response. And that became, in and of itself, a response.


MS: Right, right.


CF: And something of interest.


MS: Did this come from knowledge of yours that people had lost jobs, people had had trouble getting jobs? Or was it more abstract?


CF: Well I certainly knew people who had lost jobs. I mean Frank Kameny was a key person we knew about through Barbara. Barbara, I suppose, herself had. Is that true?


MS: Not that I recall, no, but maybe.


CF: I thought that there had been something. I guess it's more knowing that people were afraid to step over that line, for fear that they would lose their job. So in that sense, that self-imposed limit, that you don't even find out where the barrier is because you're afraid.


MS: So in that sense, do you think then it was a fight for job protection or a fight to be able to be out on the job?


CF: I don't know how I would separate those.


MS: All right, fair enough. And one other thing about that that I want to ask. Do you think that job discrimination was more of an issue for lesbians than for gay men because of the position of women in the workplace?


CF: I don't remember thinking of it in that way. Or now, particularly.


MS: Some people would say the other way, that lesbians can pass more easily in the office.


CF: Yeah. See I guess I think being able to pass in quotes is such a mixed blessing. I mean it has its own problems. So I am not sure that people who can pass are better off. I don't know where you decide the greatest point of danger is. I mean it seems to me that you have to provide across the board protection for people. Because I also think people have difficulty, again in not knowing where that barrier is, you also don't know where your personal way of identifying yourself is. I mean that's the problem of “don't ask, don't tell.” What does that mean?


MS: Right, right. O.K. Well June '69, Stonewall. Do you remember your immediate response to it, how you found out about it happening? Did it mean much to you?


CF: I don't. It certainly did mean a great deal, yeah, yeah. I mean there was tremendous uproar immediately.


MS: The article in the HAL newsletter says that in the future, social historians will write of this date as significant.


CF: Great. So I guess we did recognize it. Yeah.


MS: Which, of course, is really a great thing for me.


CF: Great for you, yeah. So we really did know then. That's great. Good for us.


MS: July of '69, the Reading picnic. There's a note in the newsletter that a thousand people attended.


CF: Oh my god. Really?


MS: With a table that HAL set up.


CF: I just don't remember it.


MS: O.K. August-September, a survey of political candidates. I don't have in my notes here which political office. It may have been for mayor, or for state office, state governor?


CF: I'm sorry, I don't remember either, but I do remember being part of the first time we were doing that. I can't be more specific.


MS: O.K. Well then I guess in late '69 Gay Liberation Front forms in Philadelphia. And maybe this is the place to ask a question about the relationship of HAL, the old group at this point...


CF: Right, yes, the old group.


MS: the new groups that erupted, Gay Liberation Front and Radicalesbians and later on GAA, Dyketactics? Do you have memories of what the relations were like between these groups?


CF: I remember the early period, in which like any old guard that's being superseded, there was friction, defensiveness, when you've been in a leadership role in defining a social change movement, and almost overnight you find yourself in the back seat being called conservatives or something. There was a lot of that going on. I mean it's quite a funny position to find yourselves in. And I do remember being in that position, too, and being torn. I don't know how much other people were torn. It's hard to remember, but I do remember my own sense of being torn. I remember writing, when Radicalesbians came about and the initial feminist reinterpretation of lesbianism as the rage of all women, blah, blah…


MS: Condensed to whatever it is.


CF: Yeah, yeah. I remember writing an article, I don't know where that got printed, but an article saying that this was one more attempt to define lesbians and lesbianism in terms of men and in terms of other things, rather than on its own terms. I remember. I have that somewhere at home. I'm sure it must have been a fierce argumentative thing. Actually, I would still support my younger self in that. But I remember that as a time, then a period, Stonewall was such a terrific thing apparently, and we knew that you'd be coming along. And yet then we went into a reaction. I remember going to what may have been the last ECHO meeting. I'm not sure.




CF: ERCHO, yeah, in New York. I remember Martha Shelley speaking, and I can't remember his name, but the young man who was then the head of GLF in New York.


MS: Not Randy Wicker?


CF: No. I can't remember. He was a really important presence in those days. I should go re-read Making History, although I don't think he's in there actually. But I remember some of the headbands. There was the marrying of these different things--Vietnam, and the whole counter-cultural movement, drugs, feminism, Black Power, Gay Power. Putting that together in an entire context of social revolution. And here we are, the gay kids from Philadelphia, where our most radical thing had been that the boys and girls would get together and ask, I don't know, the Gillette Company what its employment policy was. I mean we were left in the dust, in a certain sense, in terms of where the world was rapidly going. And I remember those feelings, Marc. That's what I remember. I mean you're right, it's personal memory. I remember being pulled inside in all of these different directions, including my personal loyalties to people who were not so attracted to the new gay liberation and women's liberation movements, my personal loyalties to them, and yet new, conflicting loyalties to new people and new ideas as well. I suspect that that's about the point that I began to really step away from it all, because I think probably it had lived out its most important contributions to my own life. And maybe I couldn't choose up. It didn't seem like a real choice to me.


MS: Do you think that part of that maybe, if we're talking about 1969, is that you were potentially being considered the old generation at the grand old age of twenty-four?


CF: I'm too young to die!


MS: And that maybe compared to people like Barbara Gittings and Frank Kameny, you were really between those two generations chronologically.


CF: Yes. That's a very good point, yeah, yeah. Very good.


MS: So you were post-college, but not much post.


CF: But pre-adult, in a certain way.


MS: Or post-college age. So does that make sense then?


CF: Yeah, I think that does make sense. And then, as I said, the feminist movement, but not so much out there, but in here, that's the part that really captured my energy and my interest next. And that pulled me away more from what I'd been doing in the past and the people I had been doing it with.


MS: Maybe we can talk about that in a second. I want to just confirm one detail. The last ERCHO meeting, as far as I know, was in Philadelphia, and it was at that meeting that they decided to discontinue the July Fourth demonstration and start New York Pride. And I just want to ask: is that what you think you were remembering when you said you went to New York? Is that possible?


CF: It's certainly possible, given my record in this interview. It's certainly possible. I have the feeling of going to New York for something. Anyway, it could have happened anywhere. I remember a great disruption of some kind that happened at the meeting, somebody taking over the mic and not letting go of it. I mean that kind of thing. And this organization had been so polite.


MS: Right.


CF: So shirt and tie, coat and tie, so I remember a sense as if it was all being taken over. And again, that somehow, maybe by virtue of my friendships, I was in the reactionary position, but that didn't feel like me to me. So I think it all just kind of ends there, in a sense.


MS: Now your relationship with Ada was ending around this time, too?


CF: Yes, yes.


MS: In 1970, is that what you said?


CF: Yeah, that's right. That's right. So that also would have been…


MS: And was there any sense that the two of you couldn't be in the same group or was it more a friendly parting?


CF: Hmmm.


MS: Hard to say?


CF: Let me think for a moment because that feels important. I think it’s more that I was changing. And it seems to me that the next group of people I was close with were more artists, were more counter-cultural. I guess I am trying to distinguish between what Ada and Barbara represented for me, which was a very acute and developed intellectual kind of social criticism, as well as certainly a commitment to civil action of various kinds, and what was then the hippie, counter-cultural liberation movements of various kinds. And I didn't become so politically involved, but I think that I was just drawn more towards different kind of people, probably.


MS: So maybe, if you could talk to me a little bit about how you started encountering feminism, you said the institutional focus was primarily the CR group.


CF: The CR group, yeah.


MS: How did that start? And was there stuff that happened with you before that?


CF: It seems to me that probably a couple of women I knew through DOB, HAL, through all of that, then were becoming really drawn into feminist thought. And so I was invited into a CR group, went to that, and then just gradually, you know how your life moves, gradually moved in that direction. It does seem to me, though--see I can't remember when the first Philadelphia gay pride march took place.


MS: It was '72.


CF: O.K., 'cause I was very, very much involved with that.


MS: Why don't you talk a little bit about that?


CF: But there again, I can't get the threads of who was playing what role. What I do remember was that I was then living with a woman named Diane. We had an apartment on Wayne Avenue, 6138 Wayne Avenue. We had a couple of cats; we later had a dog. And we, along with some other people, became the group that planned and implemented the first gay pride march in Philadelphia. And that's what I remember as really culminating my involvement, my real active involvement in the gay movement in Philadelphia.


MS: Someone else I talked to was involved in organizing. Arleen Olshan maybe?


CF: Oh yeah. It's a name. Yeah. Anybody else? Do you remember?


MS: I can't remember if Victoria Brownworth told me that she went to it or if she was an organizer.


CF: Uhhuh [assent].


MS: But it sounds like there was a group of you.


CF: Yeah, well see I would say that it came out of HAL, but maybe that's not true.


MS: No, I think that might be right. I'm not as good on the details myself as we move into the ‘70s.


CF: Tell me again. O.K. tell me the date of the first march.


MS: '72.


CF: '72. Well I left in '73. So you know how you remember things sequentially? But they were overlapping. Because I was by then, I would say, more influenced by and involved with feminist women.


MS: Oh right, 'cause you said you started the CR group in '71.


CF: Yeah, yeah, but obviously these things overlap dramatically, because that was a great thing, the pride project. It really was.


MS: What was great about it?


CF: You know how Philadelphia is in relation to New York. It was Philadelphia saying, “We can do it, too.” In a much more really provincial environment than New York was, we can take this risk. We can put ourselves out there. As I remember it, we actually advertised in the classifieds in the newspapers, saying that we were organizing this group and putting our telephone number in, and we really put ourselves out there. I was then, in terms of employment stuff, self-employed, and I think I felt really safer to do that. I know I did. I remember men and women meeting in our home. So I can't remember if we also had an institutional place where we met, like HAL or somebody's offices. I just remember meeting in the apartment. And I think there were maybe between one hundred and two hundred of us who marched. And I can remember we started somewhere around Rittenhouse Square. And I remember stepping out. I was surrounded by us. I was in the midst of an us group. And I remember stepping out in the sense of the streets. I had no idea of what it was going to be like, to have the streets lined with people who were, for the most part as I remember it, cheering.


MS: Supportive?


CF: Really supportive.


MS: Were there speakers in Rittenhouse Square?


CF: Oh, yeah. Gosh, there must have been.


MS: Was it Barbara and Jerry?


CF: Oh, very likely. Very likely.


MS: And could Byrna have been listed as the coordinator.


CF: Very likely, yeah.


MS: Let me tell you the reason I'm asking that. You might be right about the sequential theory, because the pride that I'm talking about in '72, which is regarded as the first pride, was reported by the city newspapers and by The Advocate as having something like five to ten thousand people.


CF: Marching?


MS: They may have been counting people on the sidewalks. But I wonder. I wonder if there had been a march earlier on that people have forgotten about that you're remembering.


CF: Hah.


MS: Or maybe the newspapers just counted everyone that was there.


CF: Everyone. Could I really misremember to that degree? I suppose the evidence is I could. I remember a small group.


MS: The newspaper articles said it was followed by an open-air dance, a dance party all the way down, on Independence Mall maybe?


CF: I remember a place like at the Art Museum, but we're close. Some open kind of plaza or square.


MS: So maybe it was the '72 thing. And maybe they just counted everyone who was there.


CF: I don't know, I don't know. I remember it as a small, incredibly high risky, successful thing, the kind of thing you didn't know would be a success until you actually were in the midst of doing it. You just had no way to anticipate what it was going to be like. I just remember a tremendous high.


MS: Well if I can remember, I'll send you a couple of those newspaper articles and maybe you'll remember.


CF: That would be great. Yeah, yeah. I'd love to see them.


MS: If we're talking about the same one. So maybe back to feminism for a second, in the CR group you said it was mostly lesbians, but at least some of those people were coming out as lesbians in this process.


CF: Yeah, yeah, right, right, exactly. There were maybe six or seven of us, and maybe two or three were in transition.


MS: And was this a Germantown-based group?


CF: No. Actually, by now this particular group was a West-Philly-based group. I began to be involved, through the group, with a woman who taught at Penn. And several of the women in the group seemed to be connected with or centered around Penn. So although I remained living in Germantown in my own area, I began to sleep over in West Philly.


MS: It sounded to me like there were a lot of collective houses, lesbian collective houses, in West Philly.


CF: Yeah, yeah. I think that was a real center of feminist lesbian activity.


MS: And the Women's Center on Chester Ave.? Would you have been going there?


CF: Oh no. That was not an important place at all.


MS: And the Penn Women's Center. Were you involved at all in the events leading up to the establishment of that?


CF: No.


MS: And we've talked for a second about Germantown and West Philly. Were these becoming lesbian neighborhoods?


CF: Yeah.


MS: In some sense of that phrase? At this time?


CF: Oh yeah. Yes, definitely.


MS: And when would you date it to? To the early '70s? Or earlier?


CF: I would say earlier. Certainly my sense of Germantown, it would be more late, late '60s. I think it's maybe just personal. In my own personal universe, I'd say that Germantown was more old gay and West Philly, around the university, was more feminist-lesbian in identity at that point. Although I think later, Germantown became more a feminist, lesbian-feminist place to live.


MS: I see. So you certainly did not feel like you were alone out in Germantown.


CF: No, no. Not at all.


MS: O.K. And were there businesses that started to cater to lesbians out in Germantown? Restaurants? The way that they would be in Center City?


CF: Interesting. Not that I recall.


MS: O.K. And why Germantown, of all the neighborhoods in the city?


CF: Why not?


MS: Do you have any theories about why? Well why did you go to Germantown?


CF: I went to Germantown because I knew people there. To put it another way, it felt safe and congenial because I had friends there. So I was living with friends, before Ada and I were lovers. I was living two blocks from her and a block from Lourdes and there were other people, too, around.


MS: So you were moving to what you felt like was an already established network?


CF: Yeah. At least a few, yes, yeah. I mean I think later, with hindsight, well not just hindsight, but later people were consciously drawn to Germantown because it was racially mixed. I mean to the extent that you really do find that in some urban areas, it was successfully racially mixed, mixed class-wise, if not house by house, then block by block. I think it was an area that people who were consciously trying to create community, gay, straight, lesbian, would move into Germantown to do that. So it became, I think, quite a center, and I think by then I was gone.


MS: So would you say also it had anything to do with affordability?


CF: Oh yes, of course. Right, yeah, yeah. Well I remember there were apartments in what had been old mansions that were broken up into apartments that were really quite nice and very reasonably priced. So compared with living downtown in Center City, you could get much more. You'd have green, too, much more for your money. So yeah, that was definitely an important point.


MS: But if you had to pick a few neighborhoods that would be the last place you could have imagined living in as a lesbian, what would those have been?


CF: Oh, gosh. I guess South Philly, although I don't really know South Philly. I just say that off the top. Frankie Avalon and Fabian, and somehow that image wouldn't mix. Where else? What's that area out Ridge Avenue?


MS: Not Kensington or North Kensington?


CF: Yeah, Kensington.


MS: Northern Liberties?


CF: That I don't know. Kensington, probably. There are areas of the city I didn't know, but you see, also as a Jew, I didn't know certain areas of the city.


MS: So the Northeast might have felt more comfortable for you?


CF: Yes, but probably not. I don't think the Northeast is a real lesbian enclave.


MS: Right. And now what about West Philly? You thought that became lesbian a little bit later and appealed initially to a younger group?


CF: Yeah. More connected with the university, so more intellectual, academically-oriented women. And then perhaps young women. There were students, also, so they had a much younger, more radical component. But that was different. I think of it as different from the community lesbians living in Germantown. The academic community was out in West Philly. I think that's true.


MS: Would you also say couples tended to be in Germantown? I mean couples living in households, living together, and then West Philly was more group houses?


CF: Yeah, I think that's fair to say. I don't actually remember collectives in Germantown, so I think that's true.


MS: And was the lesbian community in Germantown also racially mixed? Maybe you should just say from what you knew, your social circles there.


CF: Right. I can't name a Black lesbian woman in our group. But so far, I've only been able to name three or four white lesbian women, so that may not mean much. I think it was largely, and perhaps entirely, white. I'm pretty certain.


MS: Was there any sense that West Philly was the same or different?


CF: I have a feeling that there were Black women involved in West Philly, again connected with the university.


MS: I have an interview with Sharon Owens? Does that name ring a bell?


CF: Very vaguely.


MS: And then an older woman, Anita Cornwell. Did you know Anita?


CF: No.


MS: She wrote a book called Black Lesbian in White America.


CF: Uhhuh.


MS: The CR group and the women's movement: some people talk about some tension between women who were lesbians first and feminists later.


CF: Oh yeah, sure.


MS: And women who were feminists first and lesbians later.


CF: Sure, absolutely.


MS: And you felt that?


CF: Oh yeah, yeah.


MS: What sort of forms would the conflicts take?


CF: Well largely ideological. You know you have to decide if you believe that ideological struggle is really about the ideas or if it’s about other things going on with the people. But certainly the way it expressed itself would be ideological. Certainly some of the women who were coming out through feminism, which is to say through ideas and through politics, were--it was like, who were the real women lovers, you might say. There was that competition. So I remember one woman. This was in Albany, not Philadelphia, but she could stand for women in Philadelphia as well. A woman saying to me, “Let me get it right. We feminist-lesbians are going to teach you gay lesbians how to really love women.” Or what loving women really means, that would be the essence of the conflict.


MS: That's funny. I was expecting you to say the opposite.


CF: The opposite. Well yeah, I think.


MS: That the older lesbians felt that they really knew how to love women.


CF: Yeah, yes, and I think that women who, of any age, because actually it cut across age, it was more what brought you to yourself, what avenue.


MS: And then your departure from Philadelphia. You want to say a little bit about that? That was in 1973.


CF: 1973. Yep. I became lovers with a woman in my CR group. Politics has served me well. And she had been teaching at Penn and did not get tenure there. And she got a job at SUNY Albany and I went and looked around there and we together decided that I would move with her. And it was a good time in my life to leave. Philadelphia, after all, had been the place I grew up as a child. And there was very much a feeling that you want to go elsewhere and maybe need to go elsewhere to establish yourself. So I had gone through my childhood piano playing identity, and then in my twenties, lesbian-gay identity, and now it was sort of into the next stage of adulthood, so I got married and moved to Albany.


MS: And was it difficult to leave Philadelphia with all that behind you? Or was it more just really looking forward.


CF: No, I think I was ready. I think I was done, really, with my life in Philadelphia. So I was ready to go.


MS: Did you feel like you were leaving, in addition to leaving a lot of other things, a lesbian community, a lesbian feminist community, a feminist community, and/or a lesbian and gay male community at that point in '73? I mean in terms of who your closest friends were.


CF: Right. Well I think by then I was not close in particular with any gay men. And I think I felt that as a lack, a loss in my life, a constriction. So in that sense, when I left, I was really leaving behind more a lesbian feminist social network, and I wouldn't even say a political, but a talk network, an idea network. And actually Judy, the woman with whom I was lovers and with whom I moved to Albany, our closest friends then were a straight couple. The woman has since come out as a lesbian. So I think I felt I was leaving a varied group of personal friends, but that I was no longer very politically engaged with any particular political community.


MS: So all through this time it sounds like you really did maintain friendships beyond simply lesbian feminists.


CF: Yeah. Definitely, yeah.


MS: Any thoughts you want to finish up on? Looking back on this, I guess we've really been talking about '64 to '73, nine years, a nine-year period.


CF: Nine years. Yeah. Well I'm struck. I would like to talk with you, not necessarily now, about the nature of memory. Because on the one hand, I'm shocked by how little I remember. I really am. And that's astonishing to me. On the other hand, I mean one of the things that I really know is that when you move geographically and don't, aren't able, or don't choose to keep up relationships, you no longer have people who remind you of your own past. So I think that's what I feel above all. I mean I've never met you before in my life, and you've said certain words--Clark Polak, Dewey's. I mean I haven't heard the word Dewey's in thirty years. So I guess I feel just really struck by that, how we, how I, how we move on.


MS: It reminds me, just in terms of the memory thing, of the way memory is. I think it really has to be rehearsed and practiced to stay alive.


CF: Yes, yes, right.


MS: And when you move, a lot of the memories stop getting replayed.


CF: Yeah, yeah. I guess I feel lucky, because I knew some wonderful people, and at every stage in my political life it really did serve my growth as a person. And I can see, I mean I think that is what my memories are about, that people played particular roles for me as models of ways of being people, as models of ways of thinking of ourselves as gay people, as lesbians, that really made my own life choices possible. So I remember that.


MS: Well thank you.


CF: Thank you.