Lois - Older Lesbians
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[00:00:00] This program is brought to you by pride in zero.com. [00:00:05] Is it okay? You've been thinking of yourself as an older woman, and [00:00:10] it's constantly surprising. [00:00:13] I don't think I've ever had a birthday that's affected me more. I mean, some people find 30 or 40, or 50, or 60, in all of those were fine by me. But I can't actually believe that I'm 70. [00:00:25] That happened quite recently. [00:00:26] Yes. And that was just three or four months ago. Yeah. So it and I don't, I mean, we clearly have an idea in a heat of, what, 70 years, and I suppose at the time that we were growing up, it was old, when my mother didn't make it to 70. My father made it just past 70. And they both in my mind's eyes into lot older to me than I am to me now. [00:00:54] If you ever said it was, well, I think everybody's saying is the old 50 or 80, whatever. We're lucky, we can be more Absolutely. [00:01:02] I'm sort of hoping that, you know, 70s really the new 14, I'm going to be here for another 30 years. [00:01:08] Yes, the number Lyft. That's the problem, isn't it? But But apart from [00:01:12] being astonished, and I've had conversations with a couple of other women, lesbian friends who've [00:01:19] have the same experience. I, you know, I'm lucky because I'm in good health. And the only thing wrong with me really is chemical fade is my daughter who's a doctor was down, came to visit recently. And I said, Sarah, I said accusingly, I didn't realize is the keys. And it's not her fault that I'm 70. [00:01:41] I said, I just like to run through all the things that are wrong with my body. So let's start with my big toes, which have got arthritis, and then my ankle, which goes occasionally for no apparent reason coming up to my knee, which I pretend is got nothing wrong with it, but actually does twinge occasionally. Then we go into some sort of slight Bell separator worked in the tape with [00:02:07] coming on up to my hands, which [00:02:13] I think are arthritic, rather than having issues. And I hope that thread it rather than those. And a shoulder which I've ripped, playing with the computer, really. And so when when another these mechanical days, as you know, very annoying, [00:02:28] I think it's been a very you separate mechanical from health, because some people would say, oh, Stephen, just probably may not have good health is not having cancer, heart trouble, those sorts of things. feel exactly. And you still walk quite a bit, don't you? Yes, I do. And, [00:02:42] and I do feel that I'm very lucky, because I do enjoy good health. And I suppose that's another thing about growing older, but it's not, I guess, it's not a particularly lesbian thing. It's just that it is awful starting to have people you know, or friends fail health wise, either me well, physically. And it's quite had more, you know, been to more funerals in the last 10 years than I've ever been in my life before. And of course, that's ordinary isn't I remember my parents starting to lock in the desk and go to funerals. [00:03:15] It's gone from the third generation to our fathers in a rapidly and do [00:03:20] you have friends that died? When we were? Well really am to hear that? You know, because you had asked me if I do this, I was thinking about when there are differences. [00:03:33] For these beans growing old and for, say heterosexual women. And I think through there is in terms of the quality of friendship. Now I'm not that I don't want to say that heterosexual women don't have very good friends, and I'm sure they do and bosom buddies and so forth. But I think we cultivate more friends, and perhaps more [00:04:00] deeper friendships. [00:04:03] Even with ex lovers, perhaps, that you know, and unlike our next often either can like what may not be unlike the hit world now. But it was unlike the heterosexual world when I was younger, and then us and you didn't have any secrets. been tough after. But you know, we do. And we can still be very, very close. Indeed. And I think [00:04:27] that business of having deep good friendships and friendship circles, is one place where we may will have an advantage, although you often see a lot of heterosexual a group of heterosexual women that you often see at things together. And you know, they're doing it too, but it is a big thing. And sup for some of us who don't have children, it's a compensation. You of course, do have kids makes you less similar than some others. That's right. But, [00:04:54] but I was thinking about that, you know, I've got my children, I've got four children, and they've all been scattered around the world. And now they've all come home. This I've got three of them. partners and two cases, families and Auckland. And what one has always been the Wellington with her two children. [00:05:15] But people have been saying to me are so you'll be moving to Auckland. Right? response is, why would I moved to Oakland, my friendship circles here. I love my children. But I don't want to be in their pockets. I'm sure they don't want me to be in their pockets. I mean, if I got terribly old and decrepit in my health did go. It might be my children, I'd have to look after me. On the other hand, there might be a couple of friends, younger, lesbian friends who would be happy to take on that role for a while. I don't want to have to leave my house if I can possibly avoid it. [00:05:47] Yes, I think that's one of the interesting things that we get to our sorts of ages thinking. We may not want to think ahead that much. But one has to do a little bit. And looking ahead, what happens if things fail. Hello, whatever. And you've obviously done a little of that, at least indeed is, is I think, Well, you know, the tuning. So the thing about thinking about being 70. And how be able to believe it. Also, I'm actually thinking about this not so far away, even that's 20 years away, or 25 years, it's locked close to the [00:06:21] board, which is great the other day. And good health is only a slow way of getting to do [00:06:29] that, like taxis are inevitable. Yes. But you would like to stay in your own home. Yes, as long as you possibly cooled off wherever it [00:06:37] is I work and and whether that happens or not. [00:06:42] It depends [00:06:42] on what happens to my health here. I have, I have quite a good role model and a neighbor who lives who's right next door who's just coming up to AC and is very staunch even though she's had quite a lot of bad health, she keeps coming home and does show that siloed wanting to live. [00:07:02] you'd like it to be this home. I mean, you're up the hill a bit in Brooklyn is it easy [00:07:06] is but it's very good best service at the moment I drive. But if I didn't drive the bus, which is cross the road, and it's a good service, and this is a flat section. In terms of this world, I've got a few steps to get to the house, but nothing much. Nothing like a lot of houses and Wellington. [00:07:27] Yeah. And how about your activities as they changing much as you get older? [00:07:33] Well, the only thing that's changed is I'm working this really I do a lot of walking, which I've always done. I'm hoping to do the route Boone later in the year. [00:07:47] I've been able to take out piano lessons again, because because I'm semi retired. And that's a drawing to light because I've got a really good teacher row speech and Oh, yes, wonderful. And such a good piano teacher. And even if I've done no practice every listen as a joy. [00:08:08] And again, you have it's not about being this being ideas, but [00:08:12] I think we [00:08:15] as I was thinking about this before, and I think we might be a little bit more adventurous than our history, sexual. [00:08:23] friends who've been in marriages and events been tied to capital, activities and so forth, that we've made our own way it whether or not we're in a capital relationship, which are not. [00:08:36] Presently, [00:08:38] I think we're prepared to do things for ourselves and make our own way. And I think that probably stands us in good stead when we're getting older. What can change, of course, if you've retired, [00:08:57] and you haven't had a very lucrative job is that you may find that you can do some things as much as you'd like to because of lack of money. Fortunately, I had quite a good job. And I was able to save quite a person at the moment. And I believe I told him so much money because they pay me back slowly. But I really think I'll be dead before they've paid at all because [00:09:18] it leaves you enough to do it. So. So that's you know, that's not a problem for me at the moment. [00:09:28] But I do see that that could be a problem for some people. But for me, semi retirement, I say see me because I'm still missing a little magazine for women's group, and it comes out every two months. So I'm, that takes about a quarter of my time, basically. So I've got a lot of time to walk my daughter's dog, which I do every day. [00:09:51] Do my piano practice, read and friends have lunch with friends and so forth, [00:09:58] which I enjoy doing. Sounds like a good life. [00:10:02] It's a good it's a very good life. Actually, we do a bit of overseas travel too, don't you? Yes, I didn't really start doing that until much until after I retired, I really have this belief that if you're going to be overseas, you should live there for a while. And that's what I did in my younger days. I mean, when I was still married, before the age of 45. [00:10:28] we'd spent three years three and a half years in Cambridge, [00:10:32] when I was in my 20s had my first child there. And then about 10 years later, we had a year in the States, both in terms of my ex husband's work work. [00:10:44] And that was fabulous. I mean, you do get a much better feel for a country than you do just by being a tourist. But after I retired at the end, I had a what was a very sad breakup. For me, I actually just wanted to get out of the car for a while. So I went to [00:11:05] summer as the president because at least in frame was taking a little group and I thought he saw God. And, and it was lovely, I really enjoyed and I really enjoyed the company. And I got a bit of a taste for it. It's different, it's more, I don't know, it's like a [00:11:27] I've lost the word which which is nothing happens actually, as you get older, the [00:11:32] sort of laid back this [00:11:33] began and that's what you know, now, I was trying to think what you are as a tourist as you are if you look at [00:11:43] your, I suppose which is a separate bus. But on the other hand, they do like to capitulating and a lot of countries but and and I've been to some stunning places and and just left it. And also I before I stopped work, I did go overseas for work as well. And that was that was more in a way interesting and then put holidays into the into that. But I've been to Italy couple of times I've been to Paris. And I've been fortunate enough to go to Paris works with one of my children whose his colleagues that he's friendly with the so that was lovely. We stayed at the grandmother's house of his colleague actually gets it out. And it was standing behind one of those, like Paris walls that look very dreary, when you open the gate, you go into the and it's a little street with a great fine grain right appetite. And every house belongs to a member of the family but like Mary found out in a way and and we've done it with him and and it was not like being it's quite I wasn't quite happy to her. So that was lovely. I don't know how I got on to my travel Pro. [00:12:55] I devote thinking about the activities. I knew you did. Yes. But what about the community and sort of broad sets political law and feminist activities? I know you've been involved in some you've done interviews yourself is [00:13:11] that changes you've got old old what's happening this I have to say that that's changed probably from my viewpoint for the word is because really, I'm not doing anything very political tool. Now, I popped into I've been doing some deep cluttering, you know, rather than people do it when I die, why did I do it while I'm alive? And I was I've been waiting out my books, two books that I'm going to read again, oh, Boss, I couldn't get hold off again, if I wanted to. And, and the others which can go [00:13:43] and [00:13:44] there are a couple of books, two or three? Well, we're about eight or nine lesbian themed books that I decided I didn't really need. And I rang and got hold my look while ago and said, Would you like these, and they have seven of them. But I've had the other one lying around for ages. And finally thought last night, Wednesday, local be open. And so I went down to the pilot rooms. And I used to be a member and I used to be a helper. But I'm not even a member now. I'm and I think that's because I'm a book crew, at least in women. And we will swap books all the time. So I don't feel the need to capital. It's been lovely to get books. But I must say it was it's a delightful room that they're in now. Yeah, it's just lovely, and very light and airy and welcoming. And I was delighted to hear from them at the taking now taking books up to the lesbian potlucks at the coast and trying it for two times. Otherwise, I would have known because I was the last the last time but it's I suppose it's I suppose I do social things with the community now but I'm not doing anything political. [00:14:53] And what about broader politics, though? I know you work as [00:14:56] well. I was very active in the 1970s. I was in I'm very active in the Labour Party. I was on your council and the women's Council and the policy council and I stood twice. But [00:15:11] I forgotten that [00:15:12] the 7891 in Hamilton and 81 not kind of thing that I would ever forget. That was the game. [00:15:22] Tour. And [00:15:24] yeah, but I must say that, like many people on the Labour Party, I became a little bit disenchanted during the early 80s. And also I was being I was climbing up the ladder as a public servant. And really, you couldn't be active politically, you couldn't be active politically. And I didn't know that I liked the Labour Party very much anymore at that stage. So I resigned at that stage. And I haven't even rejoined and I'm not see. I mean, I often toyed with the idea that green might be the right ago, I always do end up fighting labor. [00:16:04] But you know, it's not I said, I couldn't not do this. I belongs on the field. So it's I haven't [00:16:12] Rachel, what about pressure group politics, though? You're involved in anything political? Nothing. [00:16:17] at all, I was saying to somebody recently, the only worthy thing I do is give blood occasion. [00:16:23] Yeah, quite interesting. [00:16:26] I was thinking about legacies as well, which is one of the things I discussed with people talking about, you know, what we all we've got both the business of tidying up, which is still doing if you're getting rid of books and things. But also, you know, what you want to remember you want to leave? [00:16:48] Not only money, but how do people, people can remember you how you want to be remembered. [00:16:57] I mean, [00:16:57] I suppose my mind most active political time was first in political parties in the 70s. And then also at that time, I was involved in women's stuff. And then I had women's jobs and the public sector in the early 80s. If you saw it was the women's advisory officer. Now the fact vocational training Council. And that was I suppose, in many ways my proudest me that was the girls can do anything campaign, which I ran during that time. And I think that's it's quite a legacy, although I must, it's fascinating the way the phrases stayed on [00:17:38] more, and women can do anything. But it has taken on much wider meaning than it did at the time at the time. I was talking about tribes. Right. Yeah, jobs. But I think I think it also at that time, there is a person involved in that kind of work didn't realize how deep rooted attitudes about means work and women's were. And when things change, I think it's the middle classes who lead change. And so what really happened at that time was you started getting women lawyers, and women, dentists, and women counselors and all that stuff that even when I was young, but you still haven't caught a minute you women, carpenters, or plumbers or electricians, many of those jobs, which they could do perfectly well, there are a lot better paid than they even now than the receptionist and secretaries and so forth that they do still do instead. Absolutely. And I think both men and women are socialized so heavily, but it's a constraints are harder for women who want to do that. It hadn't they were when [00:18:46] we were young, we think, certainly harder than they are in any middle class job. I know, we've got all this here. I think I think [00:18:53] in some ways it has really, but yeah, so. So those were the kinds of things that, you know, I like to talk about my. [00:19:03] And I'd like to [00:19:05] talk about the fact that, you know, [00:19:07] the least being community is I think it's a great community to be. And you know, I'm not talking about those friendships, or really, and I think [00:19:18] you do make a lot of deep friends and [00:19:22] the extra extra connection of sexuality, which perhaps gets a free song, even with people that you've never been sexual with. [00:19:34] And that's a nice thing to have as you grow older. [00:19:40] It sounds like you don't feel very much constraint on anything you want to do. Now, does it worry you in terms of possible constraints from hell for aging later? Oh, [00:19:54] yeah. Well, I'm concerned about whether, you know, get worse, I wouldn't be able to do as much walking in circles as I as I'd like to, but I don't see that happening very quickly. I mean, you know, just use various [00:20:11] ways of dealing with all these things. And I suppose that's what I do. Rep walk around the toes that [00:20:21] takes me longer to get ready for the for the for the day that it used to in the morning, and I don't think that's particularly it's, it's, it's true. [00:20:31] If you couldn't manage in your own home, on your own least because you live alone? If you couldn't manage that, have you thought about what, what your options would be or what you want them to be? [00:20:45] No, I really haven't. I haven't considered that option. I mean, I know that a couple of my children would be very happy to help me move it with them. And I'm not sure that I'd want to do this [00:21:00] mean if it does it ever come to this that might be the time I'd relapse ago, too often, where there are three of them to share me around Robin poor one recorded one here who would be all on her own some looking after me. [00:21:15] On the other hand, if I had lesbian friends who are prepared to kind of flight [00:21:21] be largest or something for perhaps a reduced rates and, you know, cook the dinner if I couldn't do this. And that would be another option. I mean, there's still other options to help us stay in the house rather than and hack on children. Indeed, we, [00:21:37] my partner, and I talked about that around Parker very key, because there's quite a lot for you, what's the the local community? Do you have a Brooklyn community or Is that necessary for the community, it's [00:21:48] a broad community, really, I mean, I suppose my as well as I am, I'm very aware of your communities up the coast, because a lot of my friends have moved up the coast and keep urging me to move which I'm not going to do. [00:22:00] So I'd say, you know, my nearest and dearest, in some ways, a couple of lots up there. [00:22:06] I've got seven down here in the middle of town. [00:22:11] Now, I mean, there are a few tax in Brooklyn, but we don't big drinks or donuts or anything like that. It's I go down the end of my street and I say, Robin, I'll be there. She's right on the end, Vicki was just down the road a bit. so forth, but without [00:22:30] your fridge close to the city any want to go to the lesbian drinks along the means or [00:22:37] whatever that's so when I said that, you know, I do social things. I go to drinks parties. Occasionally Gareth [00:22:45] for contacts at the coast, occasionally. I tend not to go to the singles dinners, but I certainly we have meals out, you know, my friends and I will eat out or eat at each other's places or have potlucks or writings to us. So it is quite a social time. [00:23:05] And that's good. It's really keeps you in touch. [00:23:09] So piano, going back to piano seems to be one of the things there any other things that you want to do that you haven't done over yet? Well, [00:23:17] you talked before about the fact that I've done all those oral histories A while ago. [00:23:22] And I and you're aware that I did write them up as a book at the time, and I did try I tried the up. And after a long time it was at the time that one of these Nigel cuts was dying. And the experiment was very involved with that. And I think that you know, didn't get around to reading for a long time. But anyway, I did finally get it rejection notice, which wasn't just a slap he'd taken the trouble to write at Lisa. And when I read it, I thought is it agreed with that my thought way? I thought that it was boring. Basically. It's very hard oral histories. Not to be boring. Because either I remember reading the breaking. I don't know if this is relevant to getting old. [00:24:09] Nevermind [00:24:13] is if you do, you either do it by which I'd done by DK. It's in what happened to all the people I've looked at and the decades and why being lesbian might have made them different from other people in those decades. But that was confusing to the reader. I think people had to keep flicking back to see who the hell I was talking about. Or you do it one by one. And some of the some of the tape recordings really didn't allow that wasn't an atmosphere on them. And also, I think that gets boring. I read that book about release in Dan's bleeping the wall. And after about chapter three, I thought, Oh, God, more of the say, David finishes. And it's been a capital letters like that, too. So that's not the way started. And then two or three years ago, somebody is suggests to me, you could do it by things. And let's take one woman to illustrate this theme and just prefers the others. And I thought that that's one way that it might work. And I should get back to it. It's just the thought of redoing it. But every now and again, I have a couple of hours free time. And I think I really should look at that. And I think Oh God, I need to do the garden. [00:25:24] Or I haven't done the ironing for six months. [00:25:28] So it is a shame for the things we lost all together though other than the original text, which I know will be available eventually years where do you contemplate putting it up electronically? Even if you don't change it? Or somebody suggested [00:25:39] to me In fact, I think that they g back place it to me that pets have done that recently with a book patents published? [00:25:49] Yeah. And could perhaps, you know, guide me, and I said, Well, if you know if it's boring as a book would be boring, it's an online book. [00:25:58] And if I can, I guess what I'm saying to you Pro is that at some stage I do actually want to bite the bullet and redo it. And and I could either readers that way and still make it fairly well it's you know, the kinds of [00:26:13] it's not academic because but it's [00:26:17] more non fictional. Or I could do it as a more conversational way and put myself in more what was happening for me and what's happening for lots of people. The only thing is that I am sort of like rather late I remember when I was doing that book. I there was one woman who was really impatient with as I was you know, transcribing and Sookie magic goodness sake, couldn't she realized a bit sooner I never realized actually that she was [00:26:46] younger than me when she finally came. [00:26:51] Well, of course that's that's back to the born or made or political somehow we don't all have the same experience. So if you credo Absolutely not. [00:27:01] But I sometimes think that you, you take your makeup, your life's history, according to what's happened later, that, you know if I hadn't ever discovered my lesbian as my guess. Because I certainly had the opportunity to earlier when I was still married and living in Hamilton [00:27:23] I would have had a different life life story about myself, you some incidents become more important when you reflect on the, in the in the light of what's happened later. You know, and I can now affect that. Oh, yes. Why I was keen on very soft me in it. When I was at university and the young and they never had it, you know, they're always like, they're always beardless and, and smooth skinned and quite young locking is because it wasn't really an opposite result, all that kind of stuff. And I would never thought of that you. [00:28:00] Yes. They would all revise our histories at different [00:28:05] times, according to what has happened at that time. [00:28:08] People talk about you know, novels and nonfiction and almost all non even non fiction is perspective. Absolutely. Absolutely. And I hope you do do something with it anyway. [00:28:21] So I guess that could be by one political singer. But I would like to because actually, there's been virtually nothing done on a on a, in a way it was about a community it was about women all in Wellington. And they weren't they were certainly not the same class, and not even in the same friendship group. But there are links between all of them. And even Facebook know them. I mean, it was quite amusing it to me is that our historian to think of what should happen to somebody who's, who was being talked about is having had an affair with somebody early on, and it wasn't happening to them, and they didn't kind of stuff but [00:28:57] your family tree stuff again? Yes, absolutely. But, [00:29:02] so and, I mean, there was was one about a working class community in the States. And then there was a book by somebody else in the States, called older lesbians. And she was it was so and precise. It made me very cross. You didn't know how old they were. [00:29:21] It was just not very well done. And I thought, you know, as a different time, I think even the book that I didn't do boring as, as it as some aspects were, I think, would have been published if I'd been in the states and 10 years earlier. [00:29:35] And I remember the paper you gave on it, which I can very well, [00:29:40] yes. It's what I mean, it was what I discovered was interesting, I think, [00:29:45] absolutely. [00:29:48] Well, we're nearly there. I just want one more thing, because you You talk as though you know, you're hardly been political at all now. But before we put the tape on, you talks about, you know, yeah, the thing about when we go so annoying, you want to know what's going to happen about climate change. So you've got you've obviously got political interest. [00:30:08] Well, I forget about the pilot. Yeah. [00:30:12] political environment, political, it's also linked. [00:30:17] So [00:30:18] indeed, it's all I am. I am interested and i'm i'm very distressed at some of the things that carrot cabinets doing so district was talking about, you become politically political again. I mean, I just cannot believe that silly merger that is being talked about. I was delighted to hear that they've changed their mind on you know, the merger between for [00:30:40] the ministry but even puts housing in with [00:30:43] executive development or labor, just such [00:30:49] doesn't take into account all kinds of [00:30:51] things that what we've gone back on the impact, not required. So cup [00:30:56] is still 150. And not good. But and is it just the Cavalier way that? Well, the treating environment and all sorts of things actually are and it also just before he resigned next month stuff about local government, so they're not allowed to do anything but the capsule social environment, or, I mean, excuse [00:31:21] me, ridiculous, but they can do libraries. They can do this, they can do that. All those things. I suspect it's more cosmetic than real, but I hope so. But [00:31:32] yeah, just the rhetoric around it is is appalling. It will soon get you going again, I might bring it Green Party. [00:31:43] Well, it's lovely to hear that far. And lovely to talk to you, Louis. Thank you very much. Thanks for
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