One Big Family


Jeanne Visser

HULL, IA - 4/19/00 -- The Homestead Cooperative in Hull celebrated its five-year anniversay last Tuesday with an open house. Many people opened their homes so visitors could see the individuality and uniqueness of them. And visitors learned that there is a feeling of family in this building.

Hendrene Zoet, site manager for the Homestead, explained that there are 16 units or "homes" in the Cooperative. Hr job includes everything from keeping guest room reservations to taking people grocery shopping and organizing social events. "We have a lot going on here," she said. "It's important for this place to be very personal."

The place to find out what's going on at the Homestead is coffee time, every weekday morning at 9:00 in the commons. News and upcoming events are shared and discussed. Last Monday the topic was the road construction on Highway 18. Hilda Ten Haken was sharing pictures taken at her 85th birthday party in Phoenix. The tables were decorated with Easter baskets.

Monday evening is game time with everything from dominos to card games and it was no surprise to learn that the Homestead does have a few card 'sharks'.

Thursday mornings have a time for hymn singing. Anna Dykstra accompanies on the organ and since they got new song books, is challenging herself to learn new slongs.

Tillie Tensen can often be found working on a quilt stretched out on a rack in another room. Ladies at the Homestead have a list of people waiting to have their quilts finished by these master quilters.

Early morning is exercise time for many. Clarence Koele and Bill Pollema use the exercise bike and treadmill faithfully while many of the ladies walk in the hallways.

Harriet Moss described the Homestead as "just like home without the responsibilities." She added that the responsibilities she didn't miss were shoveling snow, mowing grass and washing windows. Another advantage, she said, is being able to leave for a week and not worrying about the security of your home.

The people here travel a lot. Bill and Tena Pollema spent three weeks in California during March. They were able to attend the baptism of their 35th great-grandchild. But the best part of the story is that they traveled in a semi-truck with their son who is a truck driver.

And they travel locally, too. Zoet has organized road trips to Timmers gardens, Knobloch Greenhouse, Prairie Rose Inn, the Tulip Festival and others.

She mentioned that celebrating social events is also popular at the Homestead. On Valentine's Day they had a special catered meal eaten by candlelight with background music and red and white decorations.

At Christmas they look forward to Frances Van Veldhuizen's family decorating an evergreen outside and seeing trees inside filled with Anna Dykstra's tatted ornaments.

Events are easy to plan because the Homestead has an elected board that holds quarterly meetings. Harriet Moss is the chairman and says the meetings are a time when things get brought up and group decisions are made. Last year it was decided that more trees were needed around the building. In the fall 18 trees were planted and Bill Pollema kept them watered.

An Advantage to having the large commons room in the Homestead is being able to host large gatherings such as birhtday parties, wedding showers and family gatherings. According to Zoet, this room is used a lot.

All this activity ikeeps the people in the Homestead close. Evelyn Dykstra stated that it's wonderful to be living in a place with friendly, caring people. "And our kids don't have to worry about us," added Tena Haken.

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