Over many years, Billye Talmadge was there for many, many people. Starting with her years of work on "The Ladder" for the Daughters of Bilitus and into her years working as a Mentor of The Prosperos she touched the lives of hundreds, perhaps thousands of individuals.
At the age of 84 now Billye needs support to live out her days in dignity. She received a great boost this March when Suzanne Deakins flew in from her home in Oregon and helped Billye pack up a few belongings and moved her to Portland. She also got preliminary medical treatment going and has successfully gotten Billye integrated with the Oregon social service programs. All of this cost money which Suzanne and some others contributed.
Here's an excerpt from Suzanne's latest update (3 April) :
"Billye continues to improve. Today she was evaluated by Medicaid and Elder Care. It appears she will qualify for Medicaid and Elder Care. There are a few legal and financial papers I must get together for her. We anticipate her moving into Fernwood (122nd and Glisan) around April 15th. This is an assisted living building.
. . .
"She has one more interview to go through before it is finally settled.
"We will have to furnish the room. So I will need donations from anyone who can afford to give to this cause. Once I see the space I will know better what she needs.
"Off hand I am planning on her needing bed, small table and chair; sitting chair, dresser for her clothes, small book case, electric kettle, and small micro wave (so she can fix her self snacks between meals.)
"A TV and laptop (thinking that one of the new Google books will be good).
"She was very enthusiastic about playing bingo and joining in the group activities.
"Medicaid will furnish her with a new wheel chair and a good walker. Physical therapy or other needs.
"I am so excited about these developments they are better than I expected.
"Phone calls are good ... you can reach her directly at [phone redacted]. If she doesn't answer wait a couple of minutes and call back."
When I wrote the chapter dedicated to Billye in Before Stonewall I had a 45-minute conversation with Phyl Lyon who captured Billye's spirit in a single phrase, "She always had an eye for the one in need."
It's my pleasure to return the favor, and I hope you'll help, too. Please kokua.
Mahalo nui loa.