Peyton Street Co-Op
My first two weeks in Santa Cruz, way back in the summer of 1987, I sublet my friend's room at the Peyton Street Co-op. I have no idea how many people actually lived there, there were so many girlfriends,boyfriends, lovers, renters, sub-letters, sub-sub-sub-letters. All I knew was just how many bicycles could be jammed into one hallway.
It was a crash course. Everyone was experimenting - with drugs, bisexuality, polyamory, and being gluten free.
I learned all about about macrobiotic diets. Introduced to tofu, tempeh, satin, and mung beans. Bulk foods - whole wheat flour, brewers yeast, tamari, tabbouleh, tahini, soy sauce, peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, remember to bring your own containers. Vegetables like eggplants, bok choy, the purple heirloom tomatoes, golden beets and my first encounter with goat cheese.
Everybody contributed. We shopped together and divvied up the bills. We took turns cooking and cleaning, much like the Womanist House at Wesleyan. We took amazing walks around the neighborhood, a sense of being a part of a group, a sense of belonging.
Once, we cooked a huge stir fry and realized the pan had not been seasoned, so we had all just ingested engine oil. A quick call to poison control assured us we would not get sick, but might feel a little more lubricated.