Gosh, I'd Love to Do Something Like This


You know me, always stumbling across fascinating articles . . . Anyway, I stumbled across this great NYT article about something going on in Australia. And it really got me thinking about retirement. Now, I'm several years away from retirement, but probably it's less than 10 years away. I've wondered what I would do with myself--aside from reading all the books I'd like to read and also hopefully going on a mission with my dh. Here's the scoop:

"No one really knows when backyard sheds became meaningful to men, as a retreat and a place to tinker. But in the late 1990s, Australia made them communal. Hundreds of men’s sheds, as they came to be known, popped up across the country — where retirees or the out of work could stave off loneliness and depression by working on creative projects, gaining new skills and socializing. All of which got Raelene Wlochowicz thinking: What about the women?

"So in March 2020, she and a few friends opened the first women’s shed in the state. It’s not an actual shed — they’ve taken over the cafeteria and a few classrooms of an abandoned high school. And while there are tools, most of the fixing and improving that goes on here is work that requires more than a hammer. The idea was to create a place where women who had been “sitting on the bones of their butt,” as Ms. Wlochowicz put it bluntly, could be kept productive and engaged. Instead of fixing things, they aim to renovate lives too easily discarded. “There are so many women who have no one, or nothing,” said Ms. Wlochowicz, 63. “Once they come here, they come alive again.”

"Their first project was just getting the shed up to code. The water didn’t work, glass covered the floors, the bathrooms were foul. They pulled in a small local grant, and the rest came from donations of time or goods. One day, Ms. Wlochowicz received a call from a woman whose sister had died, leaving a garage of arts and crafts supplies. Others offered more clothing and home supplies than they could ever need. 

"Some of it can now be found in a “room of love.” To get there requires walking down a long school hallway, past a wall of photos with women of all ages smiling and squeezed together. Inside, Ms. Wlochowicz snapped on the light to reveal a classroom made into an ad hoc store, with beauty supplies, dresses, jeans, towels and linens — all of it free for women fleeing domestic violence.

"“It is a place where friendship grows, and you can get free bread,” they sang. “The garden’s full of possums and beasts, the kitchen’s full of food. If you come here with a heavy heart, we’ll lighten up your mood.”

Wow. A women's shed. I love this concept. I wonder if it could work here in the States?