Saturday, August 25, 2007

On hearing of the Death of Yolanda Retter

To read more about Yolanda Retter, see her Rogues Gallery profile at

To Jim Schneider:

Thanks for this remembrance. You obviously knew her more than I did. I only saw her a few times when we were getting ready to move in at 909.  I had of course sent her emails and in a few cases she replied with a thought and in one case a name-that Bill Percy might want to think about donating to-I forget which one now but am sure I sent it on to Bill. But I never understood how such good people could get along with what we considered bad people, but then I'm sure Morgan Farley, and even Harry Hay & John Burnside, kept asking that question about Don Slater sticking so long with Dorr Legg.

In a way, I sometimes think, how did I get through life and Mattachine/ONE/HIC with so little or few problems.And life, in a way. Of course I took forever getting out of LSU (1955), with low grades of course, but I had fun and then went into the army and was kicked out of the army (Undesirable Discharge) but didn't suffer. I got on a train, came to L. A., got a job and place to live right away, in late 1956, handed out brochures for Stevenson for President, as I had at LSU in 1953 or ’54, and joined ONE after Mattachine's Denver convention and a short time with Hal Call. I would not have gotten any real benefits from the military even if I had an honorable discharge, as I already had a college degree and flunked out trying to get an MA at LSU, can't remember the year or summer though. And I have Medicare and have got Medicaid now—Donnie pointed out that I had such a low "income" that I qualified. So I have no medical costs and like LSU Medical (same as County-USC there) fine and it is close but think I could go anywhere with Medicaid, or at least to Emergency rooms as many people do since most doctors don't accept it. Anyway, I of course was unhappy with Dorr, and was unhappy that Jim Kepner told Chet Sampson to not support Don's move, thus thwarting your plan to save ONE as one.

I have had an eye operation-detached retina—and then my prostrate taken out and have short, thank goodness, flairups of arthritis, and otherwise, am quite of with a small house and car—thanks to my parents—who also supported HIC (a little) and me all those years. 

And now I have good co-workers/friends like you and Susan Howe and Todd White and friends like Jeanne Barney, and my non-gay friends/neighbors here, Donnie Underwood, and even Carolyn Smith and an older neighbor who gives me soup and her daily paper.  And now I am again in contact with Glenn and Lou and may find others from the good ole days.

I have one stray cat that sometimes comes in the house and a mother and 3 almost-grown cats that eat the food but are not friendly, which I think is best. But I have never wanted much more and to travel much.

I still have dear Melvin Cain and Peter and now Percy and Ron and Paul Harris, even thought I fuss at him. And I like many people in the movement, such as Paul Cain, Bill Kelley, and editors like Tracy Baim, Mark Segal, et al. So I have been to Boston, Pennsylvania, San Antonio and maybe to L. A. again someday and that is all I would do if I were rich.

So I feel I accidentally got through to 75 in good shape.

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