Phoenix Country Club Gets its Due

by francine Hardaway on June 28, 2008

When I was a young mother (before Mommy blogging) I belonged to Phoenix Country Club. Well, I didn’t, but my husband did and I got to go along for the ride.

I made several key mistakes at the “Club”: I showered my children in the Ladies’ Locker Room with me, instead of at the pool showers. I took them to watch my tennis matches. And one of them got loose on the golf course at age 2. I also crossed the threshold of the Men’s Grill one day to retrieve my husband, who was having a coke with some friends. I couldn’t get his attention without yelling, so I just walked in, past the (female) waitresses.

Later, I got divorced and started a business. When you get divorced, your name gets wiped off your locker at Phoenix Country Club. It took a long time for them to realize that a woman (not a widow) could be a member on her own. But by 1980, that had happened, and a client of mine put me up for membership. We thought it would be a slam dunk, because many of the members were my clients.

He was asked to withdraw me, because I was considered a troublemaker. The men told Ed their wives didn’t like me because of my behavior in the locker room. Ordinarily they would have blackballed me, but they were afraid I would sue, because they knew I WAS a troublemaker. So they begged him to get me to withdraw.

You pick your battles in life. I didn’t want to get him in trouble, so I withdrew. But I never forgot. I have been waiting all these years for karma to assert itself. And of course, it has, because it’s a law of the universe.

Not only has Barbara van Sittert, a colleague of mine from thirty years ago, challenged the segregation of the Men’s Grill. but she has gotten the New York Times to write about it, and tonight I see that it is one of the NYT’s most emailed articles.

How perfect? What corporation, in this day of diversity, would pay for a golf membership for one of its executives at a club that has segregated dining??? It took thirty years, but I predict these barriers will fall, and I will not even have to personally bring them down (although I must say I would be proud to).

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Andy Mabbett June 29, 2008 at 1:52 pm

The world needs “troublemakers”!

It’s a pity that its age means that this George Bernard Shaw refers to men, and not people, but nonetheless it’s apposite:

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

Francine hardaway June 29, 2008 at 4:18 pm

Whether the world needs them or now, I am one of them!

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