MEET US IN ST. LOUIS: GATEWAY TO OLD LESBIANS
July 19–21, 2013
Hilton Frontenac Hotel
St. Louis, MO
By Alix Dobkin, 1940
Hooray for one more successful OLOC Gathering! Attendees represented nine different OLOC chapters/local groups from across the country from California to Massachusetts; one traveled from Australia and another from Canada.
Personally, I didn’t set foot outside the Hilton Frontenac for 3 days.
The 60+ Old Lesbians began gathering on Thursday afternoon for cheese; crudités; a brief, informative power point slide show on ageism by Steering Committee member, Cheryl Larsen, followed by table discussions, after which OLOC member Charlotte Ellis, a member of the St. Louis Women’s Chorus, Charis, brought the Chorus in to serenade us. We were then entertained and tickled by Olympia Dukakis in the film Cloudburst, which I recommend to all.
Saturday morning, we listened to Mandy Carter’s keynote address, including information about the 1968 March on Washington for Civil Rights and about Rosa Parks who attended the renowned Highlander Folk School, an early civil rights institution. Mandy pointed out our current “movement moment,” actions like the on-going “Moral Mondays” protests in North Carolina and Florida. She stressed the importance of “showing up” for social and economic justice, which several of us plan to do, particularly on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington this August 24th.
After leading an invigorating “Joint Movement” session for all, Sally Tatnall led Kate Lavender and me on a panel discussing “The War on Women.” This sparked lively table talk and reports for general discussion detailing unrelenting attacks on every phase and at every level of women’s lives in patriarchy.
The plenary passed a resolution on Voting Rights by acclamation. We enjoyed a tasty dinner and danced to a DJ. Many local Lesbians joined us to hear Mandy and dance. Next July in Oakland we plan to hire a live band for our National Gathering dance.
Through the days and nights, every time I passed by the double doors of the Hospitality Room, I glanced in to see a space filled with happy Old Lesbians snacking, shopping, conversing, laughing, and hanging out exactly the way we’d hoped, planned, and expected.
Sunday was packed full. In the morning, Carolyn Gage presented her enthusiastically received Lesbian Tent Revival on “the Seven Deadly Sins and How We Can Get More Of Them Into Our Lives.” A showing of Hannah Free was followed by a wrap-up and speak-out.
Before packing up and heading for home, some of us went to see the famous Arch, another soul-satisfying Old Lesbian weekend under our belts.