Re: Exciting News From Bay State Commons Malden MA
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Fri, 6 Dec 2019 14:06:32 -0800 (PST)
On Dec 4, 2019, at 6:54 PM, Valerie Paul <valerie.paul [at]> wrote:
> After years of planning and more than a year of permitting issues, the
> members of Bay State Commons in Malden MA <>
> are excited to announce that we have received the demolition permit for the
> old building on our site and will be breaking ground in early January.
> Move-in is projected for early 2021. We are incredibly excited!

This is a major hurdle jumped — congratulations. 

I manage the BSC website and hound them for more pictures, so this will be 
repeated advice for them but still I remind everyone — TAKE PICTURES. Chronicle 
this process. What is there now? What is required to get to the point of 
raising walls? Records of the two million early inspections. First tours by 
members. Social events. Children growing. Development of landscaping and 
furnishing of the CH. 

This is for the original residents to remember and share for decades, but is 
also a way of bringing in new members who were not part of the initial 
planning. People who move in in ten years will have no idea how much work has 
been done to develop a homey atmosphere in in a blank cold building.  How you 
managed to celebrate holidays with one lonely decoration on the wall. The first 
fire in the kitchen. The flooded basement. Everything. So many pictures I wish 
I had — Bob on top of a mountain in the Alps walking the tech pod through 
replacing a switch in the commonhouse basement. The two-year-olds comparing 
their brand new underwear — Dora, Super Heros, Bunnies.

The suspicious look on the health inspector’s face when the kitchen needed to 
be approved.

One of the most impactful things we had for the 15th anniversary was a list of 
all the things we had developed and initiated in all those years. What it took 
to get us where we were. I think this would also be useful to new communities — 
reminders that they won’t be the only ones who discovered there were no carving 
knives for the turkey until you took it out of the oven. Or that the plan for 
dining room tables and chairs was totally inadequate and some people had to sit 
on the floor. You planned for 12 bikes and have 32. That when the check for 
cleaning the storm sewer needs to be signed, all the signers are out of the 

New residents have no attachment to the history of the community unless it is 
shared. They have to be able to see the beginning. Their only viewpoint will be 
the state of the community when they move in. It will always have been that way 
for them. If you think back to the days when you learned about your families, 
it was the stories about Uncle Abe and his red sled that tied you to him as an 
elder and memories of his siblings, some no longer living. Memories of 
Grandmother Willis and her cherry pies. And the sauerkraut she insisted 
everyone eat at barbecues. At almost 20 years after move-in, I see how much 
attention was required by the “great families” to stay connected for 
generations. Building on their long histories.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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