I’m sitting here now resting my back from helping to haul an especially heavy dead water heater up some ancient stone steps. The guys had to reach consensus at points in the process, and– what I really appreciated– no one told me I couldn’t help because I’m a girl. We got it out of the cellar without anyone getting hurt, but I have taken some preventative Ibuprofen. Haven’t done that since I took karate.
Many hands make light work, they say. The work was still pretty heavy, but Occupy made fast progress with a much-needed Spring cleaning at House of Compassion today. Bringing the spirit of an old-fashioned barn-raising, we cleared out and sorted furniture and assorted cardboard and stuff that really never will come in handy.
I brought some compact florescents to bring the cellar into the 21st Century. Artemis Moonhawk was directing the crew (as much as you can direct a crew largely composed of philosophical anarchists). She showed me the room that was a part of the Underground Railroad. The room had a small window with wooden bars. Artemis said that the Abolitionists would fool the fugitive slave hunters that they were keeping prisoners there– instead of helping them escape.
I have an interest in old houses, especially the cellars. My first place away from home was the Kingston Inn, near URI. That house was older than the USA. So is the House of Compassion, built around 1730, according to the residents, maybe at the time of the Revolutionary War, according to the National Register of Historic Places. It’s listed as the Luke Jillson House.
Lived in for over 250 years it’s a home, not a museum. It shelters about ten people who share this beautiful house in Northern Rhode Island.
House of Compassion has always struggled financially, more in these times of budget cuts. There are nursing homes and high rise buildings, and these are necessary, but not the right choice for everyone. House of Compassion is more than just care and housing for a few people. It’s a model of alternative housing. Small and personal, respecting the individuality of the residents.
One focus of Occupy Providence is homelessness and preventing evictions. Coming to the aid of House of Compassion is very much in keeping with the spirit of economic justice and direct action.
This is a work weekend. Cleanup continues Sunday. Occupy Providence can be reached on Facebook, here.