News from Whistle Stop and Lake Wobegon

Years ago I read the book by Francis Flagg Fried Green Tomatoes.  I loved it all. I recently listened to it on audible. The part I was focusing on was what I wanted cohousing to be like – a newsletter. In the book, the postal office manager writes a weekly bulletin. It’s news from Dot (her name). It’s hilarious. News on what the specials are at the Whistle Stop cafe and goings on in town.  There is even a bite from a creature in the toilet. She also complains each time about her husband!

I was hoping we’d have a newsletter like that. Cute news from knowing everyone in our small town.

I also thought we’d be like Lake Wobegon where all the kids would be above average. I know it’s all fiction but it sounded fun. Instead, our children were completely not normal and caused a ton of problems. Toxic behavior that was not developmentally normal and now I see, only reflected the parents own issues.  THere were plenty of wonderful children, and families, but like a bag of bad apples, they sure made the whole bag rot through.  It still haunts me how it affected the young children who probably won’t even mention it until it comes up in their teenage years or adulthood, in therapy.

I hear lots of people wanting to form communities like in the Golden Girls TV show. We all have to remember, it’s on TV for a reason. I know, I’m a filmmaker. I can control everything that is said, done, and shown in a final cut.  It’s for entertainment and barely reflects the reality of human behavior. I used to wish I could brunch with my three other female friends like they always did on Sex in the City. The truth is the four actresses had a working relationship and one had had enough of the whole show and the story lines to not appear in the reboot And Just LIke That.

So, I”ll still laugh at novels, and radio shows but not allow any thought that it could be reality. The only reality I did find at cohousing was like my beloved reality shows – The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (middle school like girl status fights and rumors) and Sister Wives (how hard it is to make decisions as a group – for them four households and one shared husband).

About CJ

I was a Spanish teacher for 5 years in the Public School system in 3 different states. I homeschooled and taught at a democratic free school. I heard about cohousing in 2010 and wanted to move in right away. I met a group building one in 2018 and got to move in the summer of 2019. It only took a year to want out.
This entry was posted in bad behavior and bullies of any age, movies about neighbors or community, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to News from Whistle Stop and Lake Wobegon

  1. Flower says:

    Toxic behavior that was not developmentally normal and now I see, only reflected the parents own issues. THere were plenty of wonderful children, and families, but like a bag of bad apples, they sure made the whole bag rot through. It still haunts me how it affected the young children who probably won’t even mention it until it comes up in their teenage years or adulthood, in therapy.”

    I recall that movie, but never read the book. I used to feel more hopeful about relationships with people and gradually became more guarded because of experiencing toxic behaviors from a young age that was validated further from experiences with toxic people in adulthood. That eventually led me to therapy and also researching and reading books for ways to cope and deal with the “people” difficulties I encountered.

    I always wonder why it’s taboo to discuss problematic behaviors and the consequences, which negatively spills into other people and their lives, such as the alcoholic neighbor, etc. If I try to talk about it I usually experience someone saying, “There are good people out there,” or some other similar version. They may as well say that they don’t want to talk about as that would be more direct and truthful. It’s also offensive and controlling behavior. I’m not saying that there are not, by openly trying to talk about my feelings. Yet it’s the people who respond like that who I’ve found often create the problems. If potential problematic behaviors are not addressed from the outset then it’s a huge red flag as I wouldn’t trust anyone who glosses over it.

    I agree with what you said as it starts with the parents. Here’s another quote from the book, Emotionally Unavailability, “Without question, the relationship with our parents is the most complicated of all our life relationships. It’s what sets our feet on the emotional and psychological path we travel throughout our lives. It’s the relationship that defines, in one way or another, all our other relationships, and it has profound pull on how we connect with our children.”

  2. CJ says:

    You hit it on the nail! I realized living in cohousing that some members must have come from families that keep secrets (whether alcoholism or whatever). The community was very willing to turn a blind eye or just let bad things continue. I was shocked! If we dealt with the problems head on, it would make us an open and better community. More importantly, it would protect the children from some bad things that were going on! Those toxic systems we learn in childhood are hard to shake. It just upsets me since the next generation pays the cost.

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