By Cindy Nickles
Here’s a short excerpt from an article by Oakleigh Meadow Cohousing, a cohousing community forming in Eugene, Oregon, that first appeared in Communities magazine #164 (Fall 2014) – Community Conversations.
“The Sneetches and Other Stories,” “Hatchet,” “The Happy Hollisters,” “The Secret Garden,” “The Little House,” “Henry Reed, Inc.,” “A Child’s Garden of Verses,” “Paddle-to-the-Sea,” “Bone Games,” “Black Beauty,” “Nancy Drew mysteries,” and “Native American chief histories.”
Were Oakleigh Meadow Cohousing members and friends at a book club meeting?
Not exactly. Reminiscent of grade school students at circle time, we were answering this two-part question: “What book did you read as a child that was important to you, and how did it affect you?”
That opening exercise served double-duty as ice-breaker and group introductions at a Communications Workshop facilitated by Anita Englise in Eugene, Oregon.
As we took turns sharing our favorite childhood books and their impacts on our lives, we were already well on our way to “Building Community, One Conversation at a Time”—the title of the workshop designed and facilitated by Engiles, a local mediator and trainer.
It was also a trip down memory lane. As individuals talked about their favorite books, we found ourselves nodding our heads in agreement as we remembered the stories too.
“I got a sense of adventure from reading those books,” one cohousing member said about the Nancy Drew mysteries. “I also read every Hardy Boys mystery there was.” Ditto for another member.
When one cohousing member was 13, he read Hatchet, a book about a kid his same age who survived a plane crash, left with only a hatchet to survive. He said, “I thought it was the coolest thing in the world to be out in the wilderness. Somehow he found wood, food, etc.”
Each of us in turn shared similar fond recollections.