The third space

I style my life around that of Rumplestiltskin. You remember him, dont you? He was the man who squirreled himself away forever, never interacting with society, and finally at some point, joining society after missing decades. Another memorable point of Rumplestilkskin was his amazing beard and appearance. I am somewhat in that mode too (without the beard). However, it is his total cluelessness that I relate to. Having kids, having a job and not much else, put me into this place where I was not hip, not clued in, not on trend, on point or in any way relevant except to the ones I interacted with. Now, with that dynamic changing, I am coming out of my cave and discovering all that went on during my hibernation.

We spent 24 hours at Sagamore with some amazing and engaging people to talk about the value of conversation, what it means, how it can change lives, how it can be the quiet underpinning for personal and public change, engagement. Conversation can make us more human, more humane, and more thoughtful creatures than any media we have. Rob and I knew it was a wonderful thing as we talked and planned, plotted and imagined ideas around conversation and how programming and awareness, quiet teaching and involvement could be so galvanizing and so right for a place like Sagamore which is the soft place that people can go and be fearless.

From this talk, everyone took something different home. For we Trumansburgers, we were so amazed and delighted to see that the concept of the third place (part of my Rumplestiltskin lack of awareness)—was something we had in spades in our little village. If you need a little help with “huh? what is the third place?” this is what Wikipedia says:

“The third place (also known as Third Space) is a term used in the concept of community building to refer to social surroundings separate from the two usual social environments of home and the workplace. In his influential book The Great Good Place, Ray Oldenburg (1989, 1991) argues that third places are important for civil society, democracy, civic engagement, and establishing feelings of a sense of place.
Oldenburg calls one’s “first place” the home and those that one lives with. The “second place” is the workplace — where people may actually spend most of their time. Third places, then, are “anchors” of community life and facilitate and foster broader, more creative interaction. All societies already have informal meeting places; what is new in modern times is the intentionality of seeking them out as vital to current societal needs. Oldenburg suggests these hallmarks of a true “third place”: free or inexpensive; food and drink, while not essential, are important; highly accessible: proximate for many (walking distance); involve regulars – those who habitually congregate there; welcoming and comfortable; both new friends and old should be found there.”

It is important that we all have a third space. We have Gimme! and the Farmers’ Market. We have the library and Shur Save. We have had Simply Red and the Pourhouse. The Rongo also used to be a third space, but it has not been cultivated. I guess we Tburgers love our third, fourth and fifth spaces and actually, we go about creating them. One of our favorite spaces is happening this week. Yes, folks, its the national holiday for the Evil City (Ithaca) or even the hamlet of Rongovia! It is GrassRoots week! May the walls of beer be built, the tents set up with tie dyed goodies to buy, and the locals are posting parking signs at the school, on their property. Rob leapt out of bed as if it was Christmas morning to get up to go to the community build—with a bounce in his step and safety glasses on his nose.

The community build for this year will be the market managers booth for the Farmers Market. It is going to be adorable. It is a 10’x10’ footprint that will enclose the eyesore of the market electric box, and will accomodate the manager and one other, with a tall window to sell our shopping bags, our teeshirts, and to do the token sales for EBT. We have had a folding table and wonderful Alan V. suggested that this years build at GrassRoots was to be for the market. Two years ago it was for our wonderful bandstand. So, Here it is, day three (Monday). The structure is solid (Larch, the favorite wood of all Tburgers), and they are beginning to frame it in. I took doughnuts, fresh peaches and beehive pins to them today…and plan in a few minutes to take a bunch of cold and frosties over to make the afternoon a little better. Gotta sign off for now. Beer run!