I Exist Because of Co-ops.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

By: Kurt Nordback – BHC Board Member.

My parents grew up poor in Michigan: my dad, Orval, in the mining country of the upper peninsula; my mom, Nina, near Detroit. During World War II, Orval was in the army in the Philippines, and Nina worked in a factory. After the war, both enrolled at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor — the epicenter of housing co-ops in the US — and both looked for affordable housing.

Nina joined a co-op first, I believe. Orval got a job washing dishes in a fraternity house, and in exchange lived in a mostly unheated room in the attic, where (so the story goes) he covered himself with newspapers at night because he couldn’t afford a blanket. But he eventually joined a co-op as well.

In the co-ops they found affordable housing. They found community, including friends they stayed in touch with for decades afterwards. And they found each other. I don’t know the exact story, but I imagine their eyes locking during a 1940s version of a BHC Board meeting, losing concentration during a dry discussion of budgets or chore assignments or the like. They were married within a couple of years, and I came along quite a while later, after many older siblings

The purpose of co-ops lies in the convergence of affordability and community and sustainability. But occasionally there are ancillary benefits, including romance. And I’m sure grateful for that.


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

  • Openings

    Mango Manor: 2 (August 1st)

    Masala: 1 (Now)

    Ostara: 1 (Now), 4 (August 1st)

    Our Mission

    The BHC is dedicated to creating permanently affordable, community enhancing, cooperative housing for the people of Boulder County

    Support the Mission

  • On Key

    Related Posts

    Join the BHC Team!

    Director of Operations Hours: Part time, estimated at 20 hours per week  Pay: $20/hr Reports to: Executive Director Location: Mostly remote, but there is some in-person work so you must

    Mango Manor Goes Solar!

    Thanks to generous grants from several local and regional sources, the BHC was able to install a solar array on the roof of Mango Manor in late 2021. The Boulder

    4 Pillars of How Cooperatives Improve Mental Health

    Living in community can drastically heal people’s personal wounds. Cooperative residents with social anxiety, self-consciousness, trust-issues, and other social ills notice great personal healing after living in community. They don’t