I had a strange childhood John. I was raised with multiple parents. Multiple family members and multiple people taking care of me and my brothers and sisters and multiple people taking us to school and generally taking care of our well being.
My parents were also there - so don't get me wrong, they were just as loving as you would expect but when you live in a commune - everyone helps out with raising the children.
My parents met at the commune when they were young and marriage was frowned upon although children were encouraged. With 70 people liuvign within the commune and 20 of those being children, it was never lonely for someone to play with and there was always someone there if you needed a shoulder to cry on.
All walks of life were represented - gay and lesbian, straight and even trans - Jewish and Muslim, Buddhist and Christian and mostly though - spirituality was followed and not the limiting beliefs of religion.
Many were vegan and some eat meat and no one frowned upon others and it was a very acceoting environment.
I left when i was 19 for university and my friends as Uni couldn't believe some of the stories I would tell as for them, living in a commune all my ( then ) life - was normal for me but very at odds with the world outside.
There was hundreds of acres of farmland and we all took our turn at working the fields, cooking, cleaning and all that goes into keeping a place running and safe and there was no hierarchy, although some were more revered for their input than others.
There were fights and there was jealousy when relationships being open - caused friction with some of the women who were attached to a certain partner who also shared himself with others - as everyone did, and it wa snot without its problems.
For the whole, I wa sunaware of most of that and was a happy contented child.
We had several doctors and lawyers in the group and people from all walks of life and regardless of your education or telents, everyone was equal. Everyone offered what they could and everyone helped out.
I read your piece about Community Living at Hamilton Hall for gay men and thought it a brilliant idea and I truly wish you well with it.
Keep well John and well done.
Terry. ( Australia )