In my previous post, I talked about how my family has recently moved away from the beautiful two story home on Minne Lusa Boulevard that we lived in for 10 years. It felt a little like the end of an era for our family. At the same time we were dealing with all of the feelings of ending a decade-long chapter in our family’s story, we heard from Beth Richards that the ladies who have long been the heart of the neighborhood would be closing the Minne Lusa House – another significant ending.
After spending years working on casting a vision for the neighborhood, attending countless civil and community meetings, giving up family time to attend events, and seeing a tired community wake up, I began to panic a little that maybe things were headed in the wrong direction.
I was feeling uprooted. My family was doing a little grieving at moving away from a house filled with so many memories. The main community engine in the neighborhood was shutting down. What would this mean for me personally? For my family? For the neighborhood? Not to paint too bleak a picture, but I really questioned if all of our neighbors’ hard work from the previous years would end up being undone. That’s a scary thought for many families in Minne Lusa who have begun to feel the benefits of the stability and upward trend of the neighborhood.
But recently, it has become clear to me that what I was seeing was not the end of things. What was happening was a series of new beginnings. When we sold our home on the Boulevard, we had originally planned to move out of the neighborhood to a home that was a little more conveniently located to our extended family. Instead, we bought an adorable long-vacant pink bungalow on Mary Street. We moved in at the beginning of December and have been working on waking the house up from a long and neglected slumber. Our family has been building memories here as the work we’re doing is helping the Bungalow feel more and more like home. At the same time, neighbors around the neighborhood have volunteered to keep up meeting on Saturday mornings after the Minne Lusa House closes its doors. Instead, friends and neighbors will be meeting in individual homes on rotation as front porches around Minne Lusa will become new touchpoints for visitors and longtime friends. The Minne Lusa House as a location may be closing, but the original mission of the house – to create community – is actually coming to fruition in a more complete way. As individual neighbors invest their time in welcoming people into their living rooms for coffee on Saturday mornings, the ownership of the Minne Lusa House becomes widespread.
At the pink bungalow on Mary Street, we continue to scrape and sand and run wires and undo 50 years worth of time. Our goal as a family was to give this home “another hundred years”. So with every bruised knuckle and filled plaster crack, with every stroke of paint and repaired window, we remind ourselves that we are helping get this home into its next century of life. And outside of the pink bungalow, neighbors are taking the same kind of ownership of our community. With every cup of coffee and planted flower, with every decorated Boo-levard island and neighborhood cleanup, be reminded that the community here is helping get this neighborhood into its next century of life. What’s happening in my family’s life and in Minne Lusa is not the end of anything. It is a new beginning for everything.
If you’re not already a part of what goes on in Minne Lusa but you would like to be, don’t wait to be approached. Feel free to come to coffee any Saturday morning and throw out your ideas. Contact us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/MinneLusa and tell us what you want to see happen. We have a great network of people in the neighborhood who all give varying amounts of time and resources as they are able to make this place one of the coolest communities you’ll find in Omaha or elsewhere. Take pride, and take ownership. There’s some new beginnings happening here and you won’t want to miss out.
Here’s a quick video about why taking ownership in your community is important. Check it out if you get tired of listening to me yammer on at you about it: