by Gloria Celestial
This is another story I wrote soon after coming to the commune in 1981.
It’s very scary giving up everything I’ve ever known about how to live. In the same way there is no competition in the communal volleyball game, there is no attachment to possessions. This really bothers me because I’ve already attached to all the stuff I brought with me.
I have a nice set of dishes, bowls, kitchen utensils. I have a lot of albums I’ve been collecting over the years. And, I’m beginning to notice certain ones missing. The same thing began to happen in the kitchen. Then I notice that while some of the matching dishes are missing, there are still plenty of dishes. In fact, many more than when we moved in.
While some of the albums are gone, they have been replaced with different albums. Ones I’ve not heard before and I didn’t have to spend any money to get new music. Wow, what a new concept.
I realized that it really didn’t matter if the dishes matched, as long as I had a plate for my dinner. It didn’t make a difference that the albums had changed. There was still plenty of music to listen to and I knew that eventually the others were drift back through the collection.
Learning to share was a challenge, but I was sure having fun letting go. It really isn’t necessary for each of us to have a car when we can share them. The commune owned two campers so we could trade the station wagon and have a camper for a weekend. So many times in life, cars just sit there. If we shared fewer cars, we’d all have the transportation we need, and there wouldn’t be so much waste. So we had transportation to sign up for, but it worked.
The same was true for the lawn mower or the washers and dryers. Everyone didn’t need one, we just shared what we had. This really is ecological, economical and working.
I thought letting go of the car would be a hard one, but it wasn’t. We arrived at the commune with a Volare station wagon, red, of course, and agreed to add it to the commune fleet. We, however, would remain the principle coordinators for the vehicle. Things were going fine until one of the teenagers borrowed the car while it was loaned to another commune member. Unfortunately, the kid totalled the car by running into a tree.
The car was gone, no insurance, luckily no one was hurt. We did, however, get a bill from the City of Stockton for the tree. The kid had to pay that. I was really stressed at first to have lost “my” car. But the other vehicles were shared with us and so we had what we “needed”. To each according to ability and to each according to need. We got what we needed.
Because Stockton was so flat and the weather was warm a lot, biking was a major activity. Many communal members or households had bikes. One day Beldon showed up at my door with a bright purple 3-speed old fashioned girls bike. He brought it for my birthday. He’d paid 5 bucks for it, cleaned it up and got it going and I loved it. It may have been old fashioned, but so was I. I had a big wicker basket I fastened on the handlebars. I could be seen pedaling all over town doing my grocery shopping and bringing it home in my basket. Of course, since we bought in bulk, my daily needs were small and would easily fit in to my basket. I even did the banking by riding my bike up to the drive-in window. I sold the bike a few years later to upgrade to a 10 speed. You guessed it, it was never as good as my purple people eater. To this day, I wish I could find it. The cool part to the story, however, is that what I needed was provided. I wanted a bike and God gave me what I needed.