Gay and Gray? No Way.
This is the first issue of Letters in a long, long time with my name absent on the masthead as either Editor or Feature Editor. For years, former editor Steve Elkins and I worked together, first by (remember?) floppy disk, then by email, text, phone, or running up and down the office stairs, laughing and sometimes even hollering at each other, to plan content and edit each issue.
In the last work-related conversation I had with Steve before he passed away, he and Murray were in the CAMP Rehoboth office late one night in January 2018. I was on the phone from Florida, Steve was ailing, and time was short in many ways.
I asked a question.
“You decide, you’re the editor,” Steve said, matter of-factly, the sad, real meaning of the words stinging hard.
So I edited the February issue and my mentor died in March. Sondra Arkin came aboard with great ideas and a brilliant Letters reorganization plan. Longtime Ad Manager Tricia Massella remained hard at work through it all, designer Mary Beth Ramsey joined up to do graphics with Murray. Mary Shockley was hired as Communications Manager, and Marj Shannon became copy editor. All of us worked together and it was an honor and a pleasure.
And I loved working with our columnists (stellar names on page 2). Each of them creative and wise, with specifically queer points of view. There have been lots of funny conversations over the years about “how far is too far,” the difference between wonderfully edgy and seriously gross, and “are you sure you want to say that???” I’ll miss working with them but I can’t wait to read their columns without a red pencil (okay, red Arial 12pt type) at the ready.
In my two years, or 30 issues as editor, we celebrated Sundances, Women’s FESTs, a bevy of drag queens, beloved local entertainers, everyone’s favorite dogs, Rehoboth Beach Bears, awesome weddings, and the holiday seasons from Halloween to the New Year as we donned our gay apparel.
We covered the hunt for and hiring of new Executive Director David Mariner, current events that stunned or supported our community, Stonewall at 50, Pride, LGBTQ health advocacy, strides made to help our LGBTQ youth, reenergizing the fight for our rights, and so much more. And for me, celebrating the new Steve Elkins Way from Baltimore Avenue to the Convention Center was sweetest of all.
So that’s the scoop. I’m a raging cliché. Retired and in Florida. (Yes, it’s warm here. I’m sorry.)
But I’m not totally retired. I’m delighted to have been asked to continue this column, beginning my 26th year writing for Letters. Naturally, I cannot forget to thank you, our loyal readers, who continue to follow these CAMPout commentaries wherever the heck they take me. Recently it was my car battery pooping out while the car was IN the car wash. Don’t ask. I’ll eventually tell.
So no, not totally retired. In fact, I’m just a Florida snow bird. I’ll be back in Reho April 8, just in time to write about the 20th anniversary of Women’s FEST and the 30th anniversary of CAMP Rehoboth.
You know, we used to have a column called Gay and Gray in this magazine, written by a Rehoboth elder, retired to Florida. Good grief, is that now me?
Don’t think so. First, I’m not giving up my crazy CAMPout adventures. I continue to refuse to act my age.
Besides, Gay and Gray wouldn’t work. It would have to be called Gay and Foil with Two Percent Peroxide. I don’t think my new editor would let that one go. ▼
Fay Jacobs is an author of five published memoirs, among them For Frying Out Loud, and Fried & Convicted: Rehoboth Beach Uncorked. As a humorist, she’s spent the past five years touring with her show Aging Gracelessly: 50 Shades of Fay.