Originally from Baltimore, Bonnie has been coming to Rehoboth since she was a child. At that time, she and her mother stayed at a church-run boarding house on Delaware Avenue, called the Betty Newman Cottage for Girls. “Being in elementary school, I had no idea that Rehoboth was already a gay destination for people from Washington, DC.”
Now a retired dental lab technician and former owner of Quesenberry Dental Lab, Bonnie also worked with Johns Hopkins Dental Department and the University of Maryland Dental School.
Bonnie’s hobby is golf, and she and Fay reside in Rehoboth, along with their dog, Windsor, (named for Edie Windsor, the 84 year old lesbian plaintiff whose case saw the US Supreme Court overturn the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013).
When did you start volunteering at CAMP Rehoboth and what events have you been involved with since?
I started volunteering in 1996, and have worked Sundance every year as a table captain. I’ve also been the “technical director” for a variety of shows and performances, ran spotlight for the old Follies, participated as a performer at CAMP Follies, been a volunteer for Women’s FEST for the past seven years, and I’ve set up a lot of chairs in my day.
What’s your best memory volunteering here?
Sundance, it’s always fun. I love seeing how the convention center gets transformed into a New York-style disco and to see how many volunteers it takes to do this incredible event. I look forward to meeting new people every year and we wind up working together and having a blast.
Of the many events held by CAMP Rehoboth in our 25 years, which is your favorite and why?
I loved the CAMP Follies in its day and I wish we would bring it back, perhaps every couple of years. It was great getting creative with a group. I miss those days. We could be so silly and yet raise a lot of money for CAMP. Besides, seeing Steve Elkins in a tutu, made the whole thing worthwhile.
Celebrating a quarter century as a local LGBT non-profit, please tell us about a special anniversary you’ve celebrated over the last 25 years.
I have to say it was my 30th Anniversary with Fay, when we got married, under a canopy right there on the stage at CAMP Rehoboth’s community room. That year was special, as was the following year, to the day, on our 31st Anniversary when we went down to the Supreme Court for Oral arguments in the Edie Windsor case.
Favorite season here at the beach and why?
Absolutely, the fall. Tourists are gone, the weather is great, and we have the boardwalk and beach to ourselves. Also, Halloween is coming and I love Rehoboth at Halloween—the parade, seeing all the costumes at Blue Moon and Aqua, and all of the fun we have.
Name a childhood mentor or someone who influenced you while growing up.
Definitely, my grandmother. At first, she was a little uncomfortable about my being gay, but she came around. Then, when Anita Bryant started saying all those hateful things about gay people in her “Save the Children” campaign, my grandmother wrote to Anita Bryant saying “the gays are our children, too!” I was so proud of her.
If you had an extra hour in the day, what would you do?
Play golf of course.
Favorite U.S. city and why?
Besides Rehoboth? That’s a hard question. I’d have to say New Orleans for the amazing food and fun. We love it there…but then again, our New York trips are great too. I love going to the Broadway shows.
Night owl or early riser and why?
A little of both. I’ll get up early for a tee time and I will stay up late to party. Just not both on the same day.
Best year of your life and why?
My best year is now, and like John Flynn always plays on the keyboard for me, “The Best of Times is Now.”
Favorite holiday and why?
July 4th, especially since Fay doesn’t do the fireworks anymore and we have it back to ourselves.
The LGBT community has made significant progress in the fight for equality over recent years. Did you expect to see this in your lifetime and why or why not?
Never! I came out at age 18 and it was very difficult. It got better but our families never thought we would have their kind of “normal” lives with marriage, which made them sad. But here we are, and I am shocked but so very happy. If you would have told me back in 1968 we would have marriage equality someday, I would’ve laughed out loud.
Name the biggest change you’ve seen in Rehoboth and how long have you been coming here?
I’ve been coming since I was a child, with my parents. My mother and I stayed on Delaware Avenue, at a church-run boarding house, called Betty Newman Cottage for Girls. I stayed upstairs on the third floor in the dormitory. Of course, being in elementary school, I had no idea that Rehoboth was already a gay destination for people from Washington, DC. Later I came here as an adult, and in the early 90s there were still gay bashings here and homophobic T-shirts in store windows. But a lot has changed since then, for the better. Except, of course, the traffic!
Name three events that have shaped your life to where it is today.
Joining the Navy when I was 18, getting my degree in dental lab technology, and meeting Fay Jacobs!
Describe an ideal date night.
Baseball game, beer, and a hot dog.
Yet another long political Presidential primary season lies ahead. Who do you expect to be nominated by each of the main parties?
Hillary and Scott Walker.
What are you most thankful for?
Good health, and my life here in Rehoboth.
On behalf of the staff, Board of Directors, and a very grateful CAMP Rehoboth family, the contributions that both you and Fay have made for nearly two decades is immeasurable.