My life has been a series of fortunate events that have led me to Prairie Hill and the co-housing community. It makes one a great believer in fate… or at the very least serendipity. I have three children who by chance divided themselves somewhat evenly between Des Moines and Chicago suburbs. More significantly I must admit, the grandchildren, all five of them, drew me to Iowa City from which I could make short work of a trip to any of them in 2 to 3 hours. That’s what grandmothers do. Molly, Maggie, Maci, Carson and Abbey call me “G” when I drop in every 2 or 3 weeks.
My first exposure to Iowa City came as I studied dental hygiene at U I. After twenty years of being down in other peoples’ mouths and an amicable divorce I had a chance to reinvent myself. I became a teacher with a reputation. For 10 years I taught elementary school in Mt. Pleasant and then good fortune led me to the Rio Rancho, New Mexico to support my mother after my father’s death. While there I reinvented myself again by becoming a school librarian. It is the best job in teaching and the only thing I could bear to do given the trends in education. But after 13 years, I was ready to get back to Iowa, to my kids and to the best state and the nicest people. Retirement 4 years ago allowed me to return “home.”
My sisters worried I would have a “period of adjustment” at retirement. But no, I took to it with relish. No angst, no dreams of walking the halls again, no longing for little faces looking up at me hopefully. The new me was excited to read an adult book in just a day or two, address my itch to be creative, and live simply. As luck would have it, I moved into my little apartment the summer of 2012, the summer of the drought. That meant NO INSECTS to make a meal of me as I sat on my deck for hours reading. My dog Buddy and I took long walks and I got reacquainted with Iowa City by joining 100 Grannies for a Livable Future and the Senior Center. There in the elevator was the sign inviting me to consider Iowa City Co-Housing. It took me three years to take up the invitation.
I’m a maker and a problem solver. I knit, weave, read, and write occasionally. I make assemblages and signs from repurposed and recycled materials.
I’m good at being a friend. But I like my self-time too, and given the choice of a party or a walk, I’ll take a walk every time. Co-housing came along at the point when I admitted I needed to be part of a closer community. That’s the serendipity I can embrace….and sort of count on.