Besides the morass of degenerating house plans, many of us were now facing actual graduation from college. Being so rudely thrust into full-fledged adult life was pretty much the final nail in the coffin of the Blackwood commune.
I’d like to finish this reminiscence with a look at what life in the commune might have been like. We all knew that establishing rules up front was crucial to ensuring domestic tranquility, so we drafted a contract that all prospective members would agree to. Sadly, only the first three pages of this historic document now survive. I can’t remember if we never finished, or if the remaining pages were just lost.
HOUSE CONTRACT I. The Community. Membership. The Community is the body of persons inhabiting the House on a permanent basis. The Community will consist of members and dependents. Any others living in the House are guests (see I.G below). A. Members of the Community to date are: James Purnell Davenport, Jr. Elliot Thomas Grant Peter Acton Hammond John Parker Manwell III Matthew James Shibla Sheila Kent Smith Katherine Irene Sullivan Jon Claude Thomason B. The only way to become a member is by a unanimous vote of acceptance by all existing members. 1. Any member may nominate any non-member for membership. a. If a consensus vote of all members agrees to the nomination, the prospective member (or candidate) will become a member immediately upon fulfilling the obligations of article I.B.4. b. If a consensus vote denies membership, that's it. c· Alternatively, the candidate will be allowed to live in the house as a guest for a grace period of one week. At the end of the grace period, all members must reach a unanimous decisian whether to accept the candidate as a member, deny membership to the candidate, or extend the grace period (exact length to be determined by consensus). If the grace period is extended, the same decision must be made at the end of the new period specified. 2. Any non-member who is or will be the spouse of a member (or common-law partner) is a candidate for membership. a. If the candidate is accepted, the couple is entitled to inhabit a double bedroom in the House. If one is available, the couple may take possession immediately. If not, the Community is under obligation to make one available (whether by remodeling, addition, or internal moving). i. If the marriage or partnership subsequently dissolves and the ex-spouses agree to continue living in the House, each is entitled to a single bedroom. a'. If both ex-spouses agree, one may retain possession of the double bedroom (unless a couple of members are waiting for a double). If they cannot agree on who will retain the double, both must move to singles. ii. If the marriage or partnership subsequently dissolves and the ex-spouses cannot agree to continue living in the House, all members must reach a consensus decision on which or both leave. Whoever leaves forfeits his/her membership entirely and unconditionally. a'. If all members feel that the House fund (q.v.) will allow it, a contribution will be made to the departing individual(s) to enable them to begin a life outside the community. 3. Any candidate denied membership may not be re- nominated for a period of one year. 4. Any candidate accepted as a member must, if able, make a contribution to either the House fund (q.v.) or a departing member. a. Ability to contribute shall be determined by the existing members, as will the amount of the contribution (said amount shall not exceed a percentage of the House construction and maintenance costs equal to the percentage of the candidate's potential ownership). b. The contribution may be paid over a period of time (length to be determined by concensus vote of all members). The original amount of contribution will not increase from interest, inflation, or other adjustment. C. A member is entitled to a single bedroom to him/herself or a double bedroom to be shared with the partner of her/his choice (subject to I.B.1-2 above and I.G below). D. Any member may choose to leave the community at any time. 1. A member who chooses to leave the community permanently forfeits her/his membership entirely and unconditionally. Any money spent towards House construction and maintenance is likewise forfeited. a. If all members feel that the House fund (q.v.) will allow it, a contribution will be made to the departing individual to enable him/her to begin a life outside the community. b. Should that individual wish at any future time to become a member again, he/she will be treated as any other prospective member (see I.B.1-2). i. Upon reacceptance, the individual must return any contribution reeceived at his/her departure. 2. A member who wishes to leave the community temporarily for a period of fqur months or more must receive approval from all other members. a. During the member's absence, she/he must continue to meet all financial obligations of membership. Failure to do so will result in a loss of membership. E. Should a member, by his behavior or temperment, prove impossible to live with, a concensus vote by all other members can strip him/her of membership. 1. If all members feel that the House fund (q.v.) will allow it, a contribution will be made to the departing individual to enable him/her to begin a life outside the community. As with voluntary departure, all money spent towards House construction and maintenance is forfeited. F. Individuals who are younger than 18 years and/or do not share the Community's financial obligations are dependents. G . Any individual living in the house and not belonging to the Community is a guest. II. Responsibilities. Each member must make available towards construction (including purchase of land, equipment, labor, legal fees, etc., up until the the community
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