Eve Birch author of “The Art of Being a Neighbor” spent many years chasing the American Dream.  Until one day she fell short and found herself homeless.  Desperate and alone she rented the only lodging her $56 dollars could buy her, an abandoned mountain shack.  What she lost in money, she gained in the kindness of a community willing to give what they could to a stranger.

The shack Eve now called home had been abandoned just as she was.

West Virginia Shack Photo By John Sanderson
The building was covered in broken glass and trash.  Eve cleared away a space to live while she repaired her home.  Slowly neighbors came bringing food, company and a way of life unlike Eve had ever known.  Neighbors taught Eve that her most valuable possessions are relationships.

In hardship and times of struggle, what we need to survive is one another.  Eventually, Eve moved back into town and found a house with space for others.  Many townsfolk were hurting just as she had, Eve saw an opportunity to be neighborly.  In the last few years, 13 people have lived in her home.

“We would all be homeless if we hadn’t banded together”

Eve redefined her American Dream, it’s no longer solitary.  Experience has taught her life is not about “me” it’s about “we”.


Eve Birch

Eve Birch is a librarian in Martinsburg, West Virginia, where she still works with the homeless, while also running a small construction business that provides day work for needy neighbors. Two stories Birch wrote about her life in the shack are featured in the anthology, The Green Rolling Hills.

Advertisements