|by Mark Aguirre|
|A Chat with Jane Blue
Jane Blue was the Chair of the Splash '05 Dance last weekend. I chaired the Love Dance held around Independence Day for several years, so I have a good idea of how busy she had been leading up to the event. I felt a little guilty asking her to do an interview so closely following the dance. I thought she might be spending some quiet time recovering from all the activity and work. But, she was a great sport about it. The interview went easily, because Jane is so gracious, interesting, and full of life!
Mark: What first brought you to the Rehoboth Beach area?
Jane: Well, I always wanted to retire to the shore but the Jersey shore had too many choices. Friends of mine had already moved here and, during a visit, I can remember going past the development where I currently reside and saying to myself, "gee, I could live here." It's all history after that.
Mark: Is there something that draws you to live near the water?
Jane: I vacationed as a young girl at the Jersey shore and then, after I found my identity in life, I graduated to Cape Cod and the beaches in Provincetown. I actually, at one point, thought I'd like to retire to the Cape but then I found Rehoboth Beach. I have always loved to just sit and look at the Atlantic Ocean or any ocean for that matter. I find it to be very, very relaxing especially at my favorite time of day, around 5:00 p.m. I guess, in my mind, that's when the day's work-related activities should be over and what's left of the day is now mine.
Mark: You were chair of Splash '05. How did that go?
Jane: I've been hard at work on Splash for six months but it's been very, very consuming for the last four weeks. I also feel like I lost the spring of 2005 since my flower pots never got finished until mid-June. That's way too late. I like to enjoy them sooner. Splash was a tremendous success and could not have been pulled off without my wonderful Committee and many generous volunteers. The Committee dropped the word "Mermaid" so the dance would be all inclusive to our community. We actually had some men approach us last year to see if they could attend because it was their feeling that the women have always supported the men's activities and it was payback time for them. We had over 500 people attend the dance and slightly more than 10% were men. Most of the committee heard nothing but positive comments from the GLBT community and, in fact, many said they were already looking forward to next year's event.
Mark: Have you learned anything from volunteering?
Jane: It's a lot of work but also very rewarding. I always said I would do volunteer work when I retired but I just didn't know what. But after moving to this wonderful community, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I came out in the early 60s and for me to be living in this great community filled with so many gay-friendly businesses and people, it's like I died and went to heaven. I never thought back then that I would live long enough to see this day. We sure have come a long way. So, it was a natural for me to want to be part of CAMP Rehoboth. I also have a great love for animals (just as many of us do) and am currently serving on the Advisory Board to the Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary of Sussex County.
Mark: You have just joined the CAMP Board. How has that experience gone?
Jane: Well, actually, I'm looking forward to that experience. I haven't participated in any Board-related activities as of now. My first meeting with the Board will be the annual all-day retreat on July 18th. That will be when I get my feet wet.
Mark: Tell us about what you do.
Jane: I've been retired for almost six years and living in Rehoboth for five of those years this August. I had a long career in the pharmaceutical industry ending it as an operations manager of a large clinical trial testing facility. I guess I'd have to say that my organizational skills are my greatest asset. Since my retirement, I've been happy enjoying my time to do whatever it is, whenever and wherever it takes memy schedule, not someone else's schedule! I love my home, the chores associated with it, putzing around in it, as well as sharing it with other people. My partner is a great cook and I love showing her off. I love the ocean and beach and, thus, they are a great part of my life.
Mark: Tell us about your partner.
Jane: Her name is Louisa Watrel and we have been together for 12 years. We feel very lucky that we were able to find each other at a little later stage in our lives. We spend a lot of time together, with and without friends. We enjoy many of the same things. As I said before, Louisa is a great cook and we love to entertaineven at the drop of a hat. The first time we entertained together, I was a nervous wreck. Well, the dinner went so smoothly that now I don't even know what we are serving (food wise) until the guests arrive. It never ceases to amaze me but Louisa can put on a meal, fit for a king, without any advance notice. I'll share a little secret with youyou can always find at least 30 pounds of different pastas in our home. Need I say more? I also have to share another little known secret with you, Louisa's oldest son, Marc, was Mr. LA Leather, 2004.
Mark: Where do you go when you want to escape?
Jane: If time is limited, I go to view the ocean and beach from the parking lot of the Cape Henlopen Hotel. I try to NEVER leave town without at least a short visit to the ocean. It's just so peaceful. If I need a big escape, I visit my 87 year-old mother in New Jersey. It's always nice to go there.
Mark: Do you have a little known Rehoboth Beach pleasure?
Jane: In addition to the beach, I always call the town of Rehoboth Beach, "my town." That would be my pleasure.
Mark: If there were one thing about Rehoboth Beach you could preserve for ever what would that be?
Jane: The camaraderie of family, gay family that is. I never experienced living in a small town, no less a gay community. While the area around Princeton, NJ was certainly liberal and gay friendly, there was never the small town atmosphere that exists here.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 15, No. 8 July 1, 2005