Mary Margaret is a Jersey girl, growing up in White Horse, New Jersey.
She said she was, “comfortable in a gay and lesbian community”, where she could be herself and unwind, so she moved to New Hope in 1973. Mary said New Hope was full of “down to earth and accepting people.”
She had met Johnny Francis, then owner of the Canal House Restaurant, and ended up renting one of his apartments for 10 years.
Mary was one of the first transgendered residents in New Hope and fought hard to keep her job. She said life as a member of the transgender community was very difficult back in the 1970s and 1980s. Mary said it was difficult living in a world that was not gay friendly.
She worked with disabled youth in a facility in Fort Dix NJ for 25 years until her retirement. She chose to commute 2 hours a day so she could live her life in New Hope. She said,” New Hope molded me into the person I am today. Without living in this community I would not have had the strength to be who I am today.”
She is also an avid tennis player and brought gay tennis to Bucks County. It was the first time in history a gay tournament was held, bringing players from around the world to this area. Her tournament was held for 14 years. When Mary wasn’t playing tennis she would perform in drag.
Mary also worked the doors and checked IDs at all of New Hope’s famous places. She said she met thousands of people working at the Baron, Cartwheel, Prelude, Raven and John and Peter’s. She was a familiar face to all those who frequented New Hope’s clubs.
She said her fondest memories of living in New Hope were starting the New Hope Open Tennis Tournament, being crowned the first Miss Gay Bucks County, and being Crowned Miss Cartwheel 1990-91.
Mary loves eating at the restaurants along Main St. She reminisced about the early days of New Hope and said,” It felt like a little gay community in a woodsy farm- like community on the river with one big Main Street full of gay friendly businesses! Just a dream like state of mind! Today it is a bit more built up with housing communities and bigger businesses.” She has been in New Hope for 40 years and has seen all the changes throughout the decades.
She lives in the Poconos now but visits New Hope several times a month. Mary said she is still a “fixture” in the community and without New Hope would not be the woman she is today. She said,” I thank New Hope every time I think what I went through, and have the many friends and community by my side. I owe my life to New Hope and it will always be my home! A place where I can always click my heels three times, and always call home!”