After much searching around for a new meeting place the executive settled on a small motel in Coquitlam, now part of the Holiday Inn chain. The management, eager to embrace any business that came their way, took to the Cornbury group like ducks to water. A small restaurant was attached to the premises and suddenly their business went up 100% as the Cornbury members began using it regularly, not just on the evenings when meetings were held. The staff, at first a little dazzled by the influx of so much glitz and glitter in quiet Coquitlam, rose to the occasion and went out of their way to provide first class service.
Unfortunately, the meeting room was located downstairs in what amounted to an airless dungeon. It was not exactly the most hospitable environment and one had to be careful not to trip in their high heels while descending the narrow stairway.
Most meetings were attended by twelve to twenty five members, depending on who was the guest speaker that evening.
At this time many of the members, eager to spread their new-found wings, began attending Friday night dances at Celebrities, then one of Vancouver’s largest gay clubs. The staff there were always pleased to see our group, as we were always the quietest and best behaved ladies in the building. At first the many resident drag queens could not figure us out, our less than flamboyant appearance and almost total disinterest in the gay males did not seem to impose much of a threat to their domain, so they mostly just ignored us.
These evenings did give many of us a chance to get together in neutral surroundings and generally be ourselves and have a good time. It also provided new members with a safe place to socialize and wear their finery more than just one evening a month.
Despite the fact that most of the membership were now going out and about in public without much fear the executive still insisted in holding club functions behind locked doors. Paranoia about being “outed” was rampant with certain members of the executive and holding dinners in public restaurants was an unthinkable step.
One such Christmas party was held in a downtown hotel whose meeting rooms were largely unmarked so it was easy to get lost. Many of the members managed to do just that, meandering around the hotel, amid the hordes of guests, dressed in their finest attire, asking for directions in deep male voices, and causing a kerfuffle I am sure the hotel still remembers. So much for secrecy.