Apple Community was a collection of people who started a free university, the Apple Skills Exchange, where people offered classes in their homes and workshops all over the city. It grew quickly and soon Apple Community started Apple Farm, a learning cooperative in the Catskill Mountains for rural skills. The Farm hosted a theater group, the Apple Barn Players.
Here’s a picture of the original Apple group. Look closely and you might sense the friendship and solidarity that kept them together. If you were in New York in those days you could hardly have missed The Apple Skills Exchange. Its bright green apple logo was everywhere. Apple became the world’s largest free university with headquarters on Fifth Avenue and branches in Chelsea, Brooklyn and the Catskill Mountains.
At Apple Farm all work was shared equally except for the dishes. That was a job for the Apple Barn Players, in return for room and board. And since Apple Farm attracted students during the week and guests from the City on weekends, it was a chore. Rehearsal schedules among other things often led actors to postpone doing the dishes. But cooking and eating continued and so the dishes piled up.
There were many meetings, sometimes stormy, about fairness and doing the dishes, but only a few people (all of whom had other jobs) would lend a hand from time to time. In the end, the dishes sank Apple.
The sometimes bitter struggle over who had responsibility for what at Apple Farm quickly spread to the Apple Skills Exchange in the City. And after many, many long meetings and appeals for cooperation, people just started drifting off.
Soon, the doors were closed and locked, the lights turned off.
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