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Moore's Bohemian Grove protests have become somewhat of an institution

Mary Moore Turns Sixty

I was surprised when longtime Sonoma County political activist Mary Moore turned 60 this past July, appropriately on Bastille Day. Not too long ago real aging appeared reserved for gray-haired parents, wrinkled professors, and pink-scalp corporate execs. Those among us who can still whip up a peace protest faster than our Grandma dished out apple pie appeared perennially young.

But, ah, we're all getting a little older.

So what about turning 60? How does it feel? "It feels like 20 except my teeth hurt," quips the Camp Meeker radical who launched the Bohemian Grove protests near Monte Rio some 15 years ago. "Besides I'm not as surprised as other people are about turning 60. I could see it coming."

In fact when it comes to protests during the annual encampment of the nation's so-called ruling elite and this year attended by Newt Gingrich, Moore's demonstrations have become somewhat of an institution. "We appreciate Mary Moore's efforts to spur us on to greater community involvement," says one Boho, who ducked into camp early to avoid passing protestors at the gate and prefers to remain anonymous. In fact, last winter the Bohemian Club donated over $60,000 toward efforts to help out Russian River flood victims.

She may be an institution, but for Moore, the proprietor of a vintage and ethnic clothing store in downtown Sebastopol, adding years means taking on the welcome cloak of wise woman. "What I'm finding out is that 60 is all about cronehood. And becoming a crone is a state of mind. It's not just age related."

It certainly has nothing to do with slowing down. Moore, who writes a column in the Free Press under the name of Grandma Nudge, can be heard Monday nights on the "Hardcore Fem Lizards" radio show on KBBF FM in Santa Rosa.

And in a few weeks, she joins more than a dozen Sonoma County residents who are traveling to China to attend the United Nations World Conference on Women in China, Aug. 30 to Sept. 8. The U.N. sponsored meeting in Bejing and a coinciding meeting of grass-roots organizations in the nearby city of Huairou could be one of the largest gatherings of women in history with some tens of thousands of women expected to attend.

"I know a lot of bourgeois women from the United States plan to tell the women of China something, but I'm going to learn," insists Moore. Still, she's also bringing along a favorite crowd pleaser -- the latest version of the Boho slide show including pictures from this summer's protests to show to women assembled in Huairou.

"I love getting to this point and finding so many different parts of my life coming together," adds Moore. "And I would love to get to a place where I didn't have to juggle so many things at once."

Maybe next year. Meanwhile, Moore's looking forward to organizing a big united action at the Boho Grove next summer. That is, after she returns from China.

The Sonoma County delegation will report on their findings and experiences in China on Sept. 27, at a community meeting sponsored by the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women. For more information call 527-2161.

Albion Monitor August 19, 1995 (

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