Once upon a time, not so far from now, there was a Little Apartment building. It
wasn’t all that glamorous, just designed to meet the basic needs. The Apartment was built when this part of the city was full of hope and life: new jobs being promised and people of all sorts coming in from around the world. They opened restaurants and ran little shops, worked in groceries and at offices filling out reports.
Soon everyone wanted to live in the Big City, but the jobs kept moving further and further away from the Little Apartment. People moved their homes and businesses to fancier neighborhoods and began to ignore the simpler parts of town. They stopped watering the grass, or picking up the garbage. The kiddos left their playgrounds, and paint began to peel. The Little Apartment was feeling very lonely and feared it would be torn down soon.
Just when the Little Apartment was about to lose hope, a kindly looking lady, Janite, happened by. Janite had grown up in this part of town, walking to school in the shade of the trees and getting ice cream from the corner store. She loved this little part of town and her memories here, but felt trapped by the bustle of the Big City. “The commute to work might be longer,” Janite thought, “but maybe here the rent can be cheaper.”
Janite loved plants and color and animals, but more than anything Janite loved to see smiling faces. “I wish I could see more smiling faces around this part of town,” she thought, just happening to stand at the doorway to the Little Apartment. The Little Apartment made a wish, as strong as it could, for Janite to choose to live there. But the wish was stronger than the little apartment knew, for upon seeing the little building, Janite had a wondrous idea. A fantastic idea! “You know all my friends are tired of the hustle and bustle of the city- they work all day and for what? They are just as lonely, just as uninspired as this little apartment here!” So Janite got all her friends together and they decided yes!
They pooled their money and bought the Little Apartment for them all to live in. Janite liked gardening, and started planning vegetable gardens on the roof. Marcus liked to paint and touched up the walls and outside to be bright and colorful. Joan liked building things, and tore down walls to make more space where everyone could be together. Tanya likes playing with electronics, and put solar panels with Janie’s garden. Tom was a teacher, and worked on the plumbing in his spare time.
In no time at all the Little Apartment became something new, and grander than its plans had ever expected. The vibrancy of the place started attracting more and more people back to the neighborhood. They had food, they had teachers, they had games and work that didn’t involve filing boring reports all day. And the more they built, the more they had. Soon they had water tanks, a communal kitchen where they fed the needy, and they were able to start bringing life back to the rest of the community. Everyone contributed and everyone did their part. In return they followed their passions and learned about all sorts of city folk who never even knew how much they wanted the freedom to do things for themselves.
The Little Apartment who had almost given up was now full of life and the center of the community. And while most stories would end with “happily ever after,” this isn’t most stories. No, the Little Apartment that became the Happy Commune continued to need work and new people with dreams, ideas, and their own special skills to help keep it going. Work hard and be good to folks, and maybe you’ll build your own Happy Commune one day.