Over 70 friends, alumni and members gathered to celebrate Heathcote Community’s 50th Anniversary on Oct. 10, 2015! The day’s activities began with a drumming circle in the Farmhouse, followed by a yoga class in the Mill. After lunch there were tours of the community and a music jam outside in the kid’s play area. The afternoon ended with a Heathcote history sharing circle and a silent auction. Before dinner the whole group gathered in a circle in the children’s play area for a ritual where we shared what we value about Heathcote. Willa and Dan Lefever, the two alumni who had been affiliated with Heathcote the longest, and Avin Newswanger, the youngest current Heathcote member, blew out the candles on Heathcote’s 50th Anniversary cake. Dinner followed, with an abundance of delicious vegetarian food. The day culminated with a talent show where Heathcoters past and present performed.
One of the highlights of the gathering was the presence of a group of alumni and friends of Heathcote who were involved with the community in the 1960s and 1970s. They shared stories of their time at Heathcote and how what they learned at Heathcote influenced their lives after they left. Many shared that living Heathcote had been a transformative experience and that they continued to live according to the values they learned there. For example, Helen Kay Farwell Kennedy said that, “I think that my life-long values were formed there: community; simple non-consumer oriented living; healthy foods, healthy soil, loving the land; always searching for the higher good. If Heathcote had not formed me in these ways, I do not know if I would have found such a basis for life otherwise. I am forever grateful for these things and for the friendships that were part of that intense time.” The stories of the alumni affirmed that Heathcote has an important gift to offer the world as a place where people can experience community and learn healthy ways of living in connection with the land. At the end of the sharing circle many of those present volunteered to form a Heathcote Council to advise the current community and help it continue to carry out its educational mission into the future.
Heathcote Alumni, 2015
Third Row: Herb Goldstein, Renee Howared , Anna Mullen
Second Row: Willa Lefever, Bill Glasner, Nancy Downing, Ruth Grover
First Row: Dan Lefever, Martin Tilton, Helen Kay Farwell Kennedy
Heathcote Members, 1970
Top left: Paul Salstrom, Cathy (visitor)
Second row from top: Bill Glasner, Herb Goldstein, Anna Mullen holding Asha, Henry Mandal, Renee Howard, Tim Armacost, Tony Norris
Third row: Robert Mernick, Mildred J. Loomis, Luke the dalmation
Bottom row: Connie Sayles, K.C. Winstead, Larry Lack, Nancy Downing, Helen Kay Kennedy, Sue Norris with Aaron on lap