Through the looking glass, #1
From: PattyMara (
Date: Mon, 3 Aug 1998 11:42:36 -0500
Dear cohousing list and friends,
In a most celebratory mood I am happy to announce that our escrow closed and
was recorded Friday, July 31 after receiving final inspection on the first
Tierra Nueva Cohousing home.  Just in the nick of time to avoid the dreaded
capital gains tax. 

Needless to say champagne and chocolate was plentiful Friday night as we
gathered to celebrate a ten year journey for the group, and seven years of
participation by my family.  We toasted and danced while a gang of coho kids
played hide-n-seek outside in the twilight under a half moon.

Within the next four weeks the other 5 families of phase one will be closing
their escrows and moving in as well, while construction steams ahead on the
remaining 21 homes.  My family will begin moving in within a few weeks, and
will experience living in a construction zone during the day, while enjoying
the relative quiet at night as the only residents (for a limited time) on our
five acre site.  

I would like to submit short journal musings to the list as my family steps
through the looking glass and transitions into community living.   I hope to
continue this story until the end of the year, and possibly longer if energy
permits.  I can promise irregular entries that will offer a candid view of
both the pros and cons of this crazy venture.  

I will begin with this observation:

All through the design phase,  my family (two teenagers now, but they were 11
and 7 when we began attending meetings) participated in designing the 3
bedroom units.  As time went on and cost estimates ballooned we found
ourselves priced out, along with a few other families.  As a response to our
dilemma, a "budget" 3 bedroom unit, with a narrower lot and smaller square
footage was created.  This new design was affordable, and we felt it worth the
compromise to be able to stay in the community.  Nonetheless, for me, this
unit design has never seemed to be "mine".   

When we gathered at our newly purchased home last night and began to uncork
the champagne I noticed a shift in my perception.  As I looked around the room
and saw my friends raising their glass in a welcome home toast I began to
experience the alchemy of community in a new way.  The architecture, with all
its glitches and compromises and inadequacies really did become less important
than the energy of extended family that filled the room.  I finally began to
feel a tiny glimmer of hope that this condo could become a nourishing home for
my family.

Hopefully, this glimmer will grow.  We'll see.  

Patty Mara Gourley
Tierra Nueva Cohousing, Central California Coast
All units sold, with a waiting list of eager latecomers
and where the the common house Wolf (stove) arrives on Monday.


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