“I wasn’t sure … I didn’t know what I was until about 1952 or ‘53. I knew that I loved very much my roommate at college, where I had had my first lesbian experience. But it wasn’t until I was a camp counselor in West Virginia that I had the experience that gave me some notion of what my life was about to be all about. I was sitting on a hill … and I was reading a letter from my roommate, the lover of my life, the very first lesbian relationship that I’d ever had. Her parents had taken her off to Scandinavia because they had found out the nature of our relationship. She had written me a goodbye letter, and I was sitting there on Vesper Hill, looking out over the beautiful Greenbrier River, crying like a baby, because I didn’t think there was anybody else in the world like me. I had never heard the word ‘lesbian.’ I had never dreamed that there was anybody else who had any kind of orientation like I did or who loved the way that I did … Suddenly a shadow fell across the paper, and I looked up, hiding the letter, into the face of the camp bugler, a rather butch-looking woman that I had had some questions about. She was standing up there and she was toking on her cigarette … and then she sort of squatted down beside me. And here we were, the two of us, sitting there looking out over the beautiful Greenbrier River. And then she puts her hand on my shoulder, she takes another toke off of the cigarette, and she blows it off and she says, ‘We are growing in numbers every day.’”
– Sally Miller Gearhart, in Last Call at Maud’s (1993).