It’s said that you can “never go back,” but last weekend I took the 90-minute ride from Palm Springs to Mount Baldy to see if I could recall the dozens of times I visited my mountain cabin and enjoyed the special company of hundreds of gay men and lesbians during the approximate period of 1955 to 1990.
Those were some of the most special years in my life because I had the privilege of offering the use of my mountain cabin-secluded hideaway not only to my friends but also to every Hollywood organization. They included Morris Kight’s group Christopher Street West (several times), the Gay and Lesbian Community Center, the Radical Fairies (with Harry Hay), Hudson House (the shelter for the homeless), the United States Mission (many times), SPREE and many other groups that had no official names but heard so much about the Mount Baldy cabin that they wanted to be included in the fun.
The Cabin, as it was affectionately known, was the place where friends and organization members could enjoy complete privacy in a lush mountain setting (that also included a cool running stream that often turned into a clothes-optional experience, and much more than that, if you know what I mean.
These outings were often used to discuss the good and bad about numerous organizations and how to improve on them, in a relaxed setting for everyone, and also to enjoy the camaraderie of like-minded men and women who were trying to improve and expand experiences of being gay.
Many thought this heavenly place in the mountain was an experience they’d never forget and talked about it for many years. But the time came when my partner, David, and I had to make a change and move out of Hollywood. It was a difficult decision, and we also had to sell the cabin because there was no one we knew who could take care of its year-round upkeep. Eventually my years and years of work in Hawaii became less and less enjoyable for me, so making the big change from Hawaii to California became essential.
That brings us back to my need to recount the joyful times at my cabin on Mount Baldy and to pay it a visit once more to bring them back to life for at least a few minutes of my visit.
It was worthwhile, and I hope those of you who read this and had participated in the visits to that cabin hideaway at Mount Baldy also have some wonderful memories brought back to your mind. Some of those people are no longer with us. An example is the Rev. Troy Perry. He organized friends and cars to go to the cabin with me when it and Mount Baldy were in danger of being destroyed by a forest wildfire so that I could save many of the priceless objects and pictures and other memories before they all went up in smoke.
We took everything of value back to our cars and trucks only to find out the next day that the forest fire had stopped short of the cabin. All was not lost. That meant that those people who still had not experienced the fun of the cabin would have the opportunity to do so.
After that David and I moved to Hawaii for 26 years and then back recently to Hollywood, where I found that things had drastically changed in the LGBTQ community. Prices of homes in the West Hollywood area had gone up outrageously and were way out of reach for David and me. So we chose Palm Springs, which has a large LGBTQ population, extremely low rental and purchasing prices and is not that far from Hollywood, as the place to buy our new home.
Now David and I can immerse ourselves in the local Palm Springs LGBTQ community as well as visit the not-too-far-away West Hollywood. We look forward to making new friends as well as revisiting old friends in the months to come. Revisiting the cabin at Mount Baldy and all that it once stood for was not such a bad idea after all. I would like to hear from you those of you who might have shared in that cabin experience so we can share those moments together. Please contact me at my email which is firstname.lastname@example.org. And let’s enjoy those wonderful memories.