The Ecphorizer

You Can Go Home Again
Susan Packie

Issue #58 (September 1986)

Welcome to the Realm of the Free Spirit. All who enter must shed their weary souls at the door and don the mantle of love. Here we live in true brotherhood, and don't forget that.

Our tiny commune is located in Northern California. If you glance at a map, you can get an idea of its size by locating the Pacific Ocean, Sacramento, Reno and Southern Oregon. It is in there. So you can see, it is quite modest in size.

There are just a few rules and regulations which we would like our members to obey. Upon entering our portals, those shiny pearl gates you may or may not have noticed, please render unto the gatekeeper all your worldly possessions. You will have no use for them here. We will provide you with everything you could possible require.

That includes your clothing, jewelry, comb and toothbrush. Personal property is anathema to us, as it will be to you in due time. If you are married, kiss your spouse good-bye. From now on, we share! If you have children, drop them off at the learning center-playground. I'll bet you'll be glad to get them out of your hair! Of course, hair is to be kept short and straight. No dying, no plaiting, no curls or twirls. We're simple folk.

Now, about your daily activities. If you have a trade, anything you produce becomes the property of the commune, which will sell it and spend the profits for the betterment of society. If you are a professional, you will practice solely for us. If you have no trade or profession, the commune will assign you a job, perhaps picking vegetables in the commune's garden or scrubbing clothes. We will surely make use of all your hidden talents.

Meals will be served in the commune's dining hall. Breakfast is at 6 am, lunch at noon and dinner at 5:30 pm. Please be prompt. Snacking is frowned upon, and weakness at work caused by missing too many meals is ample justification for incarceration.

Yes, we have our very own jail for malefactors and malingerers, for those with too many of their own ideas and those who malign our ideal life. If you don't like it here, you can always go back to the smog-filled cities from which you came!

Very few leave. All agree that they find what they seek in the Realm of the Free Spirit — rags, privies, and absolute deprivation of liberty. Home! 

Essayist and Poet SUSAN PACKIE, a regular contributor in these pages, has a number of self-published books out now.

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Susan Packie

Susan Packie teaches anthropology at Malcolm-King College, which is located in America's premier anthroplogical site, New York City. She has had her work published in more than 80 magazines.