Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Return of the Barbizon Hotel

My dear friend Eleanor passed along this article earlier this week and it was so "familiar and comforting", to use the author's words, but such an interesting concept, and I felt compelled to share it.

Any group of female friends I've ever had has landed on the idea of living as a group—beyond the college dorm—naturally. Plans for a "commune" of close friends and their families have been a long-running dream. I guess these days, with increasingly broad technology, education and opportunity leading people to be spread far and wide away from their original homes, it's more of a Utopian idea than it was long ago, when people grew up and grew old in the same town alongside their lifelong friends and neighbors.

For some reason Anne Shirley of the Anne of Green Gables books comes to mind. As a female character at the turn of the century, she was among the first generation of women who began to leave their hometowns to go to school far away, and then marry and live even further from her original home and her closest friend. Our "modern day" ability to move freely about the world and make plans and achieve things independent of our families or others is freeing and empowering, but sometimes it's a little bit solitary in a lonesome sort of way too. It might be nice if we still lived in some modern iteration of a fancy girls boarding house.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mean to sound malcontent with independence, I quite like having my own space and my own things and my own cat. But it would be awfully nice to have all my friends on the other side of the wall.

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