Living the Dream

This is a story sent to me by ex-Twin Oaks member Koala, in response to a fundraising email.  Thanks Koala for a your support, kind words, and your story!

In 1976  I had  graduated high school, barely, and was looking to  join Twin Oaks. My teen years had been VERY rocky but I was committed to one thing. JOINING  and LIVING AT TWIN OAKS. That was my dream and that  was why Ingird Komar (my mom) wrote  LIVING the  DREAM, (even though I adamantly disagreed with her  conclusions about Twin Oaks in the book.)

Back to  T.O. There was a waiting list. I was impatient. There was a  July 4th Weekend Communities Conference and I thought, “well at least I could  see the place I have  been  dreaming about for like three years.” I had actually spent the last  2 years of high school at a community  free school in northern California  so I could graduate and live in a commune. I CALLED it “COMMUNE  PREP”  rather than college  prep.

After graduating I wrecked a friends car and it took a year to pay it off. But now I could head to Twin Oaks. I was convinced this was the  right thing for me and  IT WAS. So I went. So did Gareth. We  were both 19. Tamar and  Piper among others  were  doing a radical  shift to start another branch and ran a whole series at the conference and we volunteered.  It was called Tupelo.

old TO pic
An early assembly of the Federation of Egalitarian Communities. Koala is on the near left.

We  stayed on after the conference  and started  next door on Tommy Anderson’s farm.  There was a lot of controversy about this but hell, I was  at Twin Oaks!  Yeah!! We  had to leave for a month and then came back as members, living in a shack (Old Tupelo) that  formerly been used as  a barn. We patched the place together  with old  parts from cars and such,  froze our asses off  in the winter and  lived the life. IT WAS GRAND.

Twin Oaks  changed my life and  I learned  to be  a  socially  responsible businessman by working management and sales in Hammocks and starting (or cranking up ) Fairs and  other  ventures. THIS WAS NOT MY EXPECTATION WHEN I CAME AT ALL. I have been  employed in my own business, with many fits and starts along the way , in energy efficient lighting ever since  I left Twin Oaks in ’82.

WE may have not done enough to avert  Global warming AS A PLANET so far but I sure have  done my part! My business has  saved enough energy to power  a  city of 50,000  homes or more.  Not  bad.

The conference  was key .

I will always be grateful.