Kathy and Karen/Greenie
A friend of mine died last week. I know nothing about why she died or how. Her partner posted it on her facebook page and just said she had been sick but shouldn’t have died this soon. It’s funny because I had been thinking of her for the last few weeks.
Greenie was one of my camp director’s at Singing Pines. She was the camp director in 1979. The one year I have very few pictures of and almost none of her. In fact the only one I could find was of her and her partner at the time. When I met Karen/Greenie she and Kathy were already together and were for over ten years and I think it might have been 15 years when Kathy got wandering feet and left her for another woman. I loved Kathy and was broken hearted when Karen told me she had died of ovarian cancer a few years ago. And now Karen is gone too.
I had a love hate relationship at times with Karen. She was a good camp director but that year we had a staff member that abused some of the girls physically and some emotionally. Huggie told me I needed to come out and kissed me on the lips in the Dining Hall and just scared the hell out of me. I wasn’t out yet and I don’t like being touched sometimes especially by someone I don’t trust. When I reported it to Karen, she laughed at me and said I needed it. That broke something inside of me for awhile.
Then I got Huggie fired after I found out that she had tossed a kid on her head into the rocks in the creek on a backback trip as well as making wildly inappropriate remarks to some of the girls about their future sexuality. I was to lead the next backpack out of camp and I couldn’t figure out why all these girls who had been back less than 24 hours immediately signed up for mine. It turned out they wanted to spill their guts to me about their trip with Huggie. It was a huge dump and I knew it would get her fired and I didn’t know what to do so when we got back I went to Carrot, our cook because I knew I could trust her and then it really spun out of control. She called her friend at the Council office and the next thing I knew the Program Director had come up the mountain and wanted me to tell her what happened. She was fired less than an hour later. Huggie was really popular with one set of dyke staff and there are some of them that still won’t speak to me because of it. So this baby dyke that was forced into the closet was suddenly persona non grata with most of the staff. It was not a good rest of summer. Luckily Greenie wasn’t one of them but that may have been partly because Kathy her partner liked me.
My trust in her just died a little but she was the leader of our social group when we left camp that summer. We all went to Women’s Music Concerts for years together. Karen/Greenie’s apartment in Pasadena was our gathering place. Every New Year’s Eve was spent in her apartment 2 blocks from the Rose Parade route and we spent many years on shifts in all kinds of weather to guard our parade spots and the rest of the night on Greenie’s floor napping until morning after laughing ourselves sill for many ours.
She took a job out in Riverside at a different Catholic School from the one she taught in San Gabriel and we followed her to she and Kathy’s house in Riverside for many years.
Karen was the reluctant pagan of the partnership she went a long to all the rituals and classes because Kathy was a pagan. Karen was still Catholic but she loved Kathy so she went along.
Kathy had been throwing (literally) Z Budapest’s books at me for years. And Kathy took classes in Dianic Wicca at the women’s bookstore, Page One where she worked. When I got out of control psychically Kathy introduced me to her HP after giving the wrong directions and went to my first ritual and Karen was the one who made me feel safe and that these people were basically harmless. It was nothing like the family’s teachings and if it hadn’t been for Kathy and Karen that night I wouldn’t be a pagan today, probably. Karen was Mom in our group and we celebrated Mother’s Day with her and Kath was Dad.
So today, I add another heart to my beloved dead. I hope you found Kathy again at least to give a big hug to. I suspect cancer got another one of my friends. I hate cancer and ALS and all the other diseases that steal hearts from you.
Singing Pines, oh hear them murmur
Melodies soft and low
We are met in friendship tender
around the campfire’s glow
As they sing good night to you…