Friday, March 29, 2019

Prairie Hill, the "E-Harmony of Housing"

Serendipity some might call it. Karma or destiny, maybe? Finding a new way of living and a soul mate in one fell swoop is almost too much good fortune to believe. But it seems to have happened not once but three times here at Prairie Hill. Six individuals looking for a better way to live became three couples finding just that.

The first couple, Barb and Del, met in 2012. Del joined a group that gathered, hoping to create a cohousing community founded on the principles of sustainability and shared resources. As Barb described it, she and Del sort of "danced around each other" for four years, agreeing to not risk jeopardizing the fulfillment of their cohousing dreams to explore their personal relationship. They worked side-by-side through all the ups and downs, frustrations and victories, to develop the plan that would someday be Prairie Hill. Throughout that process, their connection and feelings for each other grew and they recognized their synergy.
The small group of believers began to grow and Prairie Hill began to take shape. In 2016, when the major pieces of planning for Prairie Hill were in place, Del and Barb decided to explore their relationship on a deeper level beyond cohousing and found the loves of their lives, the first couple brought together by Iowa City Cohousing. Now they live here at the top of the hill where they can see what a strong partnership can achieve.

The second pair, Marcia and Craig, came together in the middle of the development stage of Prairie Hill. Marcia had been part of its planning for a year or so when an inquiry came to the membership from a man in Decorah. He had taught social work at the college level and was a Sustainability Coordinator. He was clearly a good fit for Prairie Hill. Craig had found Iowa City Cohousing on the internet and it seemed to fit his desires for an environmentally conscientious, socially responsible community. Little did he know it would answer a desire he wasn't yet aware of. Craig came for a visit and even before there was a road graded or a foundation poured he embraced the dream. He joined committees getting to know the other members, but there was one member in particular who caught his eye.
Marcia's husband had died five years before. She managed a household, ran her landscaping business, volunteered and enjoyed satisfying hobbies. Her life was settled. Then Craig arrived and all that didn't seem enough anymore. She and Craig will marry in April, 2019, and all we Prairie Hillers will help them celebrate.

Jeanette and Dick are the most recent couple to find each other through Prairie Hill. Dick lived in northeast Iowa near Dubuque and Jeanette in south central east Iowa, south of Fairfield. It would seem highly unlikely that they would ever meet but lightning struck once more. Like Marcia, Jeanette had nursed her husband Don through a devastating illness that ended in his death a short time before. Dick had recently divorced and hoped that there was something more out there for him. Through "a miracle" both made their way to the same August 2018 information meeting and open house where they toured homes and met with members of our sociable group. And there they met each other. Each recognized a surprising connection to the other and they shared phone numbers. Their first date was to the Iowa State Fair, where they spent the whole day together. No "red flags" were evident but Jeanette felt it was too soon after Don's death to have a new relationship. She told Dick he should make some lady friends in Dubuque. But he kept calling her "to talk about Prairie Hill," and they saw each other at Prairie Hill events.
Soon Jeanette realized that Dick was very special and it would be a mistake to walk away from the possibility of a real relationship. Now Dick and Jeanette occupy the 515 square foot studio apartment and are very much in love and so happy together. They enjoy playing chess or pool in the Common House living room and both have added richly to the community of Prairie Hill.

Now we can't promise you that lightning will strike again, but it can't hurt to give the Fates a chance. Every person who has become a part of the Prairie Hill community has brought skills, passions, and talents that make all our lives better for having them here. Come visit Prairie Hill and find out what a special place it is.

Donna Rupp

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