Nothing Gold

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay. -Robert Frost

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Location: Arlington, Virginia, United States

I am a white American middle class suburban housewife trying desperately to tell herself that that is not who she is. One time I was a glowing young ruffian. Oh my God it was a million years ago.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Let's Just Do It Already

There have been a lot of conversations among us about cohousing. About how we should someday get a house together and wouldn't that be cool. Well, I'd like to actually talk about doing it soon. I'd like to guage who's actually interested and if you are thinking along the same lines as me. I'm not thinking about building a huge commune type building with church and gym and theater etc. I'd like to go in with whoever is interested and buy a house that already exists and is perhaps not perfect, but that we can make work. I think making it work will be a great part of the experience. So, if you'd like to eventually cohouse, but are thinking along the lines of "well, we'll need this and that that we have at home now," maybe you should hold off for now. If you would like to join me and just go ahead and jump in let me know. Maybe we can start meeting and talking about where we'd like to be, what we can afford, how much space we'll need, and when we'd like to move.
Ideally, I'd prefer to be in a neighborhood that is older and not extremely safe or white. I'd like to be in the district. I am open to discussion on both of these points.
Practically, I'm thinking that we could list our homes for sale in about June (for those of us who'd want to sell), and buy something sometime during the summer. We may be able to get more for our homes in the summer and there will probably be more on the market for buying.
I'm not sure how it works legally, but we may be able to set up the home as a coop. We'd have to talk to someone who knows about these things. I don't know if we'd cosign on one mortgage or get separate ones.
I know my thoughts here are a little disjointed (I'm tired), but I think you probably get the idea. So let me know what you think and here are a few links to start thinking about. (Not that we would buy one of these, just so we can start to see what might be available in different areas).

house 1
house 2
house 3
house 4

7 Comments:

Blogger Israel said...

I like this idea. Here are some reasons why: http://tortilini.blogspot.com/2006/01/some-pros-of-communal-living.html

11:40 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

I like the idea of communal living, but I'll be honest. After three years in Hoboken and 12 years in Jersey City; I'm really, really burned out on inner city living. Ugh! Dealing with parking!!!!!!! UGH! Noise UGH! Safety Issues UGH! The dirt and the grim and the grayness UGH The schools!!!! Oh and I don't know why but people in big cities are so, so much ruder. Even with their neighbor's they're rude. I HATE, HATE, HATE IT!!!!

If we could do it in some nice, quiet, clean, suburbs I'd be all for it.

6:17 PM  
Blogger bfine107 said...

Wow this sounds so cool. I'll be honest if I lived in D.C. I'd jump in right away. Wish I new some folks in Nashville who would be interested.

9:28 AM  
Blogger kate said...

Questions: You may answer or not, Maggie.
Well, Liz beat me to the "which schools would you go to?" punch. I tutored some kids who went to one of the best public school in D.C. (and it was in N.W.). And these were the kids who were seeking (tutorial) help. And they weren't bad kids. But ... let's just say, I beg that please please God let Lizzy not be a minority at her school. Nor do I want her to be in a vast majority, or to go to a school that is regularly lauded as having super-fantastic college preparation. Anyway, just wondered about your thoughts re: school.
Also, and more pressingly: I got the impression somehow that you and Schuyler were only here for another year or two. Is that not true? Or is it up in the air? I would love to have the three of you for longer... Just wondering.

10:01 AM  
Blogger Maggie said...

It is up in the air whether we will leave or stay. We are currently thinking about the track we are on and whether we ought to change it.
I understand how people feel about the city and how suburbs are safer and cleaner etc. At this point, I'm really ready to jump in and get my hands dirty in the city, however. Schools, though, are a big concern. I don't have a problem with Levi being a minority, but I don't want to send him to a bad school. I don't want him to worry about being unsafe at school when he should be learning. However, there are some good schools here, and there is always private school or some kind of shared homeschooling. I do want Levi to go to a good school, but I don't want to teach him the lesson that we need to separate ourselves from the "kind of people" that live in the city, as if we are somehow different from/better than them. Not that I think that that is what you are doing. I guess I just don't like suburbs in general. I tend to see them as culturally and racially whitewashed. But, I would be willing to move there to be closer to my community of friends. Let's talk more and see where this goes.

3:13 PM  
Blogger kate said...

I really miss living in the city. I just can't imagine doing it with a small child. But I very much respect your desire to do so.
I must say, though, if it's racial diversity you're after, my neighborhood in the suburban hinterlands is anything but culturally and racially whitewashed. Unless you want to argue that it's mostly Hispanic.
In my time in D.C., I have observed -- feel free to debate this point, Maggie or anybody -- that the concept of moving right into a neighborhood of poor black people has been a wee bit glorified. As opposed to, say, being in a more diverse (not just black) community. Maybe that's the nature of who lives in the inner city, as opposed to the 'burbs.
I'm not even sure where I would go to find a predominantly white community in the greater Washington area. Except perhaps -- Northwest D.C.?

10:22 AM  
Blogger Maggie said...

Kate,
You are absolutely right that the neighborhood I live in is overly white. It is practically a suburb, with the exception that people live closer together and the food is better. The racial nondiversity here is one of the reasons I want to move.
BTW - according to 2000 census data, Manassas is 72.1% white. Mclean is even whiter that my neighborhood at 84.6% white. But that is not really what I mean. It is not so much a numbers thing as a culture thing. The suburbs (my neighborhood included in many ways) are created so that people can escape the city and the diversity there. People there act the same as one another. There is much less of a sense of community, and that tends to whitewash the culture. Manassas (in my opinion) does not have a neat mix of hispanic and white-american cultures. It has a white culture with a separated hispanic community. Attempts to blend the cultures (especially in schools) are frowned upon. Most white people (probably not my more liberal friends there;) ) want to see any hispanics that stay conform to their white cultural expectations.
I agree that it may not be an ideal, wonderful thing to move into an all black neighborhood. (The city of DC, btw, is 30.8% white). But, I would like to move into a neighborhood where people need help and where a sense of community can be fostered. I don't want to move into the worst neighborhoods in DC, where we will be looked at as complete outsiders. But, I don't mind being a minority and there are neighborhoods in the city that are closer to the actual demographic of the city and there are a lot of people there that we may be able to help in some way. I want to be among a wave of people that does not need to segregate ourselve.
Also, I just wanted to add that I don't think everyone that lives in the suburbs is racist. I think that many of my feelings about the suburbs are more about a difference of opinion than about ideals.

4:08 PM  

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