Southwest Feminists Reunite ~ “40th Anniversary Event” • Artemis Childcare: Interview with Pam Hyde Nakai, Roberta latham, Debby Hamolsky, Tina Efron, and Char Latham

Dublin Core

Title

Southwest Feminists Reunite ~ “40th Anniversary Event” • Artemis Childcare: Interview with Pam Hyde Nakai, Roberta latham, Debby Hamolsky, Tina Efron, and Char Latham

Subject

lesbian, Tucson, activism, history, feminists, 1970s, collectives, media

Description

Southwest Feminists Reunite ~ “40th Anniversary Event” • Artemis Childcare: Interview with Pam Hyde Nakai, Roberta Latham, Debby Hamolsky, Tina Efron, and Char Latham

Southwest Feminists Reunite celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Southwest Feminist Festival Retreat held north of Tucson. That powerful experience in March 1973 and the dynamic creativity and political action that followed sparked feminists and lesbian feminists to reinvent their lives and organize for change over the next four decades. This collection consists of oral histories and digital scans of photographs from the past 40 years.

Creator

Jamie A. Lee, Project Director, Arizona Queer Archives
Anastasia Freyermuth, video producer

Source

MiniDV tapes recorded on Panasonic DVX-100A digital video camera

Publisher

Jamie A. Lee, Project Director, Arizona Queer Archives

Date

16 March 2013

Contributor

Southwest Feminists Reunite, Lavina Tomer, and Deborah Dobson

Rights

Rights given to the Arizona LGBTQ Storytelling Project and the Arizona Queer Archives

Relation

Southwest Feminists Reunite

Format

H.264 300Kbps streaming QuickTime movie, 320 x 240

Artemis Childcare: 15:14 and 35.4MB

Language

English

Type

MovingImage

Alternative Title

Interview with Pam Hyde Nakai, Roberta, Debby Hamolsky, Tina Efron, and Char

Date Available

6 January 2014

Date Created

16 March 2013

Rights Holder

Rights given to the Arizona LGBTQ Storytelling Project and the Arizona Queer Archives
Jamie A. Lee, Project Director, Arizona Queer Archives

Oral History Item Type Metadata

Interviewer

Jamie A. Lee

Interviewee

Pam Hyde Nakai, Roberta, Debby Hamolsky, Tina Efron, and Char

Transcription

Transcription by Courtney Martinez


Interviewees: Pam Hyde Nakai, Roberta, Debby Hamolsky, Tina Efron, Char

Interviewer:
I’m going to have you introduce your names for the camera so we can recognize and also your voices and then we’ll go from there.

Pam Hyde Nakai: Hello I’m Pam Hyde Nakai.

Roberta Lathium: I’m Roberta Lathium

Debby Hamolsky: Debby Hamolsky

Tina Efron: Tina Efron

Charlotte Lathium: Char or Charlotte Lathium

Interviewer:
So tell me about Artemis, we’re here to talk about Artemis, what is it?

Roberta Lathium:
Well I just got through saying that it saved our children from being abandon by their parents when we went to work…co-opt daycare.

Debby Hamolsky:
So as a ton of other things from that same period, it was an idea that blossomed out of a) the reality that there were kids amongst us b) the reality that there were working parents amongst us and c) that some of us had different kinds of commitment to education and thinking about the next generation. So uhm…we had some of those conversations and decided we really needed to do some form of childcare. And the original group actually that came together around that was Pam, Dash whose not here, Jack/Nick Lathium, her ex (points to Roberta Lathium)….

Charlotte Lathium: Charlotte

Debby Hamolsky:
…his dad….her…her dad (points to Charlotte Lathium), I’m getting gender confused here, I’m not at confused about you being a woman Char…

Char: We’re not really into gender…

Debby Hamolsky:
…And we had initial conversations, Tina came in very shortly after those initial conversations, joined us and this…it rotate from house to house to house. I…in looking over all the stuff in preparation for coming here today, found the original proposal that we wrote which is out on the memorabilia table that has on the one hand…this was so sweet to go back and find…on the one hand was our statement of philosophy which was this lofty thing about how…

Roberta Lathium: Feminist, non-violent…

Debby Hamolsky: all of it…

Roberta Lathium: All of that stuff right…

Debby Hamolsky:
Visions for children, visions for the future expressed in our kids and you know…what we were committed to and then…we got it even then…that the proposal that we would try to write for funding couldn’t say all that.

Group: (Laughs)

Debby Hamolsky:
So the proposal for funding. Uhm…was much more…was a piece of work that was grounded in a lot I think, the fact that Pam and Nick and I were teachers, had been trained as actual teachers so we kinda knew something about that education world.

Pam Hyde Nakai:
And I had just…I had taught second grade in Chicago…inner city Chicago and I came to Tucson from there and was getting a Master’s degree at the U of A in multicultural education and I took these classes and the whole focus was on an open classroom…

Debby Hamolsky: Right…




Pam Hyde Nakai:
Which is very much the way that pre-school…or is that what we called it? Pre-school?

Debby Hamolsky: Early Childhood Education…yeah…

Pam Hyde Nakai:
That was…I mean that was how it was done. That was one of the things that was fairly popular at that time and I was just very interested in putting this to work.

Roberta Lathium:
Well and we knew there was also an open classroom elementary school that we all wanted our kids to go to so we wanted them in that…

Charlotte Lathium:
And it was just starting…and that was Miles…Miles was just getting started.

Tina Efron:
Well and I think what maybe didn’t get mentioned cause it was so obvious was the point of this was to have what we called non-sexist childcare collective because we were so aware of how limiting these uhm… expectations were upon us based on whether we were girls or boys growing up and so we were kinda unraveling that kinda stuff, so the idea was that we’re not gonna visit that on children that were growing up at this time and so…you know…everybody was gonna get to be…you know…whoever they were regardless of their gender right? So that’s just in it right?

Roberta Lathium:
Well and some of the kids were entered in (inaudible) my kids were and the boys were on one side of the room and the girls were on the other side of the room. It was just fostering that whole division right from the very beginning. You know when this group became aware of it, I didn’t pay much attention, I was so stressed trying to get myself through school and to work you know…they said, “Oh my gosh…this is not healthy, it’s not good, we’re gonna change this.”

Interviewer: And what years…’72/’73?


Debby Hamolsky:
So I think more like seventy…I didn’t get there till like ’73 so it was seventy…the actual proposal was written in the summer of 1973.

Roberta Lathium: Really? Okay, I thought it was before that.

Debby Hamolsky:
And we rotated…(looks at Roberta Lathium:) lots of conversation before that…we rotated through all…a bunch of different houses…

Roberta Lathium: Play groups…

Debby Hamolsky:
Play Groups and then there was work to actually get a site which it got a year of getting…it took at least a year to actually get a site. And all the while learning what it was like to actually do it and how hard it is actually…

Roberta Lathium: To run a business…

Debby Hamolsky:
How really hard it is a) to do childcare in that way and b) to uhm…day to day act out you know…I remember our having a big conflicting meeting about the fact that here we were engaged in teaching non-violence and the kids were playing guns with their fingers…

Group: (Laughs)

Roberta Lathium: Didn’t know how to stop’em…

Debby Hamolsky:
So we had this big meeting were we talked about…you know in my position at the time was that they were doing a lot of stuff out of boredom and we had to re-look at the curriculum and …

Charlotte Lathium: Redirect…

Debby Hamolsky:
…and yeah like what else…what were we not giving them that they were shooting each other with guns of course ignoring the fact that kids see stuff in the world and you know…

Pam Hyde Nakai: That’s what they do.

Debby Hamolsky: That’s what they do…

Roberta Lathium:
Got there to pick up my son one day and he had a piece a bread he had made into the shape of a gun and he was terrorizing everybody…

Group: (Laughs)

Charlotte Lathium:
…And we still joke about that…”we were raised by people that didn’t let us make guns out of a piece of bread.”

Group: (Laughs)


Roberta Lathium:
And then we had the little kid named Jihad….now that was interesting….

Group: (Laughs)

Debby Hamolsky:
Jihad gave me a nickname. I remember Jihad came in the house with his little cowboy boots which he would never take off and he was two at the time and he would walk in and go…he had the lowest voice of any two year old I’ve ever known and he’d go, “Dobbi, Dobbi.”

Group: (Laughs)

Interviewer: So with this what do you feel was the greatest success?

Tina Efron:
I guess just for awhile people were caring for…having their own children cared for in this sort of environment of sort of experiment I guess and hope of sort of freedom for them to like grow and be themselves and uhm…those of us who didn’t have children but who were drawn to kids were getting to be a part of that and children like this (taps Charlotte Lathium on leg) who were in that…


Charlotte Lathium:
These guys all raised me…I mean…it was…you know…this was…and I told a friend when I was getting ready to come here I lived in New Mexico now and she says, “What are you going for,” I said, “I guess you could look at it like a family reunion.”

Group: (Laughs)


Charlotte Lathium:
And uhm…so being…I was one of the older kids in that group, so I didn’t really get the full benefit of it getting going but I did go on to that…to Miles which is still in existence, I don’t know how open classroom it still is…

Roberta Lathium: I think it still is…

Charlotte Lathium:
But uhm…we were kind of the incipient kids for that too. I told a good friend in high school once and uhm…I’m still in touch with her and I said….we were talking about our childhoods…and you know…we realized later things we had been protected from and I got out of Miles and I did not know that there was a world outside of where I grew up where people were judged. I grew up protected in the opposite way of what these other kids had been protected from…us. The other kids had been protected from us and I didn’t know that world existed. And so as far as…as far as I can attest to what you guys tried to create was a complete success because I think that all of the kids from that would probably say similar things like we did not know that we were going to go out into the (uses finger quotes) real school and not fit in, be judge because we didn’t have judgments against those other kids. So that’s…


Pam Hyde Nakai: That’s very cool…

Roberta Lathium: That’s good.

Pam Hyde Nakai: I’d say there was success

Charlotte Lathium: Yes, absolutely, absolute success.

Roberta Lathium: Created some leaders

Debby Hamolsky:
I think…You know…I mean…now I’m involved in all this formal program stuff right, which would never do anything without a pre-test and an evaluation and proving how it worked right? And I think it’s an expression of the fluidity of that time. That it worked for the time that it worked and then morphed into the next thing and looking back on it and having to ask that kinda of…in my way my head works now, how would you evaluate the success of it? I actually wish I could sit in a room with all those

Roberta Lathium: Those kids

Debby Hamolsky: … people who were kids then..

Charlotte Lathium: We should have an Artemis reunion…

Debby Hamolsky: Right…and ask them what they remember….

Roberta Lathium: We’ll have Watermelon…

Charlotte Lathium: Lot of watermelon.

Debby Hamolsky:
Right have Watermelon…a lot of watermelon…and we once had a potluck and the only thing anybody brought was watermelon.

Roberta Lathium: Everybody remembers that..

Charlotte Lathium:
And we did we had it all the time, we had these potluck all the time and that had never happened before but nobody…I mean it was always a just bring something and everybody brought watermelon…Catlina park, over there on fourth..

Roberta Lathium:
Yeah, I was wondering about that too…was Judy not asked to sit in with us?

Debby Hamolsky:
I asked her if she wanted to come she said she wasn’t signed up for it. So it’s fine…

Interviewer:
Any last thing you think people who might dive into the archives should know about?

Roberta Lathium:
Well I think the community…the grown ups in the group if you wanna call us that…that developed out of it. Now I haven’t stay in close touch with these guys at all but I remember fondly, that the whole group of us that lived around fourth avenue and a lot of things that were starting around there businesses and so forth and people were all working together and supporting each other and it was pretty unique. Non-competitive you know and the people who didn’t have kids were appreciating the kids, those of us that had kids were appreciating those that wanted to take care of’em and I think it was an essence of a developing community at that time. I think you still see the remnants of it.

Debby Hamolsky:
So I have a question for both of you (points to Roberta Lathium:/Charlotte Lathium), we did childcare for the retreat at fifth avenue house. Do you have any like memory of that at all? Cause the men in the men’s collective took care of you guys at fifth avenue while the rest of us were all off at the retreat.

Charlotte Lathium:
I would say probably thirty percent of my childhood memories were at the fifth avenue house…

Group: (Laughs)

Charlotte Lathium:
Honestly…and there’s…and there all …..yeah…and it seemed like there were always like the staple people were always there in some capacity so I don’t remember there being a specific time when it was just the men but they were always so present also and in such a cohesive way that there wasn’t a gender discrimination there at all.

Roberta Lathium:
I wasn’t even really involved yet, so I’m not sure you were even there you know because I was in school or has some place to go…

Charlotte Lathium: I probably was because you were in school…

Roberta Lathium: It was right at the time I was graduating…

Charlotte Lathium:
If you just dropped the kids off at the fifth avenue house, somebody would be around you know…Tina was always there, Deb was always there…I think it was sort of an open door policy I don’t know…

Pam Hyde Nakai:
It was just another thing that came out of that community spirit at that time and a lot of the other people you’ve interviewed…the organizations…or the groups, not the organizations – groups that they participated in was all part of it and we just felt the need to create the kind of situation we wanted that didn’t seem to exist in the outside world…so and the world at large.

Charlotte Lathium:
So there’s a need and there wasn’t a pre-existing spot and so we made one for all of these things.

Roberta Lathium: Cool

Tina Efron:
I always like to tell people that I was part of the non-sexist childcare collective I don’t know why…

Charlotte Lathium: It has a great ring to it..

Tina Efron: Really?

Charlotte Lathium: Yeah it does

[Group chatter inaudible]

Debby Hamolsky:
The official name…and we spent hours…I mean on the list of suggestions was giant peach but the name that landed was Artemis childcare experience center.

Charlotte Lathium:
And then we went on to go to Miles exploratory learning center…


Group: Thank you…thank you.

[End of Interview]

Files

Citation

Jamie A. Lee, Project Director, Arizona Queer Archives Anastasia Freyermuth, video producer, “Southwest Feminists Reunite ~ “40th Anniversary Event” • Artemis Childcare: Interview with Pam Hyde Nakai, Roberta latham, Debby Hamolsky, Tina Efron, and Char Latham,” Arizona Queer Archives, accessed September 20, 2018, http://azqueerarchives.org/items/show/20.