Linda grew up in Bucks County, PA and lived in New Hope, Ivyland, and Glenside. Linda met her wife, Donna Whiteside, in 2000, while helping a mutual friend do some house painting. “While she has forbidden me from revealing the details of that event, let’s just say that what I saw in her that day led me to pursue her, and we married in Toronto, Canada in 2004.” Soon after, the couple moved to Collingswood, NJ.
They bought a seasonal home here in 2006 and planned to retire to the beach in 10 years. As with most plans, “some things went awry, and we found ourselves moving here full-time in 2009, and are still working!” Linda is employed with the Christiana Care Health Systems as a Nurse Practitioner.
A big part of what drew them here was the opportunity for outdoor activities, and all the protected wild areas that Delaware works to conserve. “What keeps us here is the strength of the community. People help with everything, from support for health problems, to chipping in to look for your lost dog, or fundraising when a tragedy strikes. There is a real sense that we are responsible for what we want our community to be, and a willingness to work and make changes happen.”
Linda and Donna reside on Lake Shore Drive in Lewes, along with their dogs, Fletcher, Taiga, and Scout, their cat, Gilly, and parrot, Kiwi.
When did you start volunteering at CAMP Rehoboth and what events and activities have you been involved with since?
I started volunteering at CAMP in 2006. I have volunteered at Love, Sundance, Women’s FEST, and other events whose names I don’t remember.
What’s your best memory volunteering here?
Sunday afternoon as Women’s FEST comes to a close, drinking a beer on the front porch of CAMP with some of the other volunteers, reflecting on a very successful event.
Of the many events held by CAMP Rehoboth, which is your favorite and why?
Women’s FEST and the Broadwalk on the Boardwalk. It’s very moving to see how far we’ve come, to see so many cancer survivors. It’s also cool to see that this “women’s” event is so well attended, and supported, by the men of our community.
Favorite season here at the beach and why?
My favorite season would have to be spring. As the days get longer and we come out from hibernation, the businesses become active, and the beach is wonderful. When we first talked about moving here, we thought our favorite time would be off-season, but we have found that we actually love the summer, too!
Name a childhood crush or idol.
Most inspiring moment?
Every morning, watching the light begin to hit the trees, I’m reminded that it is a good day.
You’re a fly on the wall of any room, who’s in that room and what are/were they talking about?
Hmmm. Well, I don’t know about being a ‘fly on the wall’ but I would have loved to have been present in November of 1989 when the Berlin Wall fell.
Favorite U.S. city and why?
Philadelphia, because it’s my home.
Name three of your “bucket list” items.
Visit the Galapagos Islands, drive a front end loader, and go storm watching off the coast of Vancouver.
Best year of your life and why?
This year! Because it is now. There’s no accounting for tomorrow.
Favorite holiday and why?
Christmas Eve. Donna makes it a very special holiday, with lots of fun and decorations. Plus, Christmas Eve is our anniversary!
You’ve been given the ability to name the 11th commandment, what would it be?
Be kind to each other.
Name the biggest change you’ve seen in Rehoboth and how long have you been coming here?
I think the biggest change I’ve seen is how the community overall has developed into an all-year community, not just a seasonal one.
Name three events that have shaped your life to where it is today.
Meeting Donna, the AIDS epidemic, and the Stonewall riots.
You’ve been asked to appear in a fundraiser for CAMP Rehoboth and need a drag name. What would it be? (If you’re having difficulty…pick a childhood pet’s name and the street you grew up on).
Your best vacation ever was to?
Nova Scotia. Great scenery, wonderful people.
Most embarrassing moment?
When the salesperson at the swimwear store suggested a two-piece was not for me anymore!
What are you most thankful for?
Today…and maybe a tomorrow.
CAMP Rehoboth is incredibly fortunate to have the ongoing support of wonderful volunteers like you and Donna (a prior Volunteer Spotlight). Thank you very much! On a personal note, I’ve been asked this question often and couldn’t agree with you more about what keeps you in this area…the strength of our community. Isn’t that a fantastic feeling? We are truly blessed.
Know someone whose efforts should be considered for the CAMP Rehoboth Volunteer Spotlight? Email your suggestion.
Photos: Linda Dean with the cast and crew of Red Hot Patriot at the CAMP Rehoboth Community Center.