I grew up in your standard, vanilla house with the hardwood floors and my own bedroom. The laundry room was so large that one half of it was my playroom. When I started school and began bringing home school work, my grandfather built a sturdy wooden desk for me, complete with three roomy drawers. My playroom became my study hall.
I loved the house where I grew up and have many happy memories of my childhood there. But there was nothing exciting or unusual about our house and nothing that said “I’m unique!”
As a child, I always thought trailer parks were the ultimate in living well. If I could have clicked my heels together three times, my wish would have been for a streamlined doublewide, tucked neatly between a million other streamlined doublewides.
I loved everything about the trailer. I thought the size inside was perfect and the use of every single amount of space was efficient and cozy. I loved the tiny rooms and the cramped bathrooms with the plastic toilet seats. I loved that the kitchen was actually a kitchenette and everything inside is covered in fake wood paneling.
But most of all, I loved the sound the floor made when you walked from one end of the trailer to the other. That thunk, thunk, thunk that reminded you that this house, this home sweet home, was lifted off of the ground on wheels. Wheels that meant you didn’t have to stay rooted in one place. If you took a notion, you could hook your house up to the back of your car and move someplace new! Just like a modern day gypsy!
In all of my years of moving around the only time I have ever come close to actually living in a trailer was twelve days at Burning Man. And that was a camper.
I adored the concept that was the trailer park too. You had built in playmates and neighbors! Each square tin box parked at an angle with a tiny covered parking space. A front yard you shared with one neighbor and a back yard you shared with another. You couldn’t help but get to know everyone! The park itself was safe for kids to bicycle in and there was usually a playground to visit and a laundry room where you could get to know your neighbors across the park while you folded your clothes from the dryer. Sometimes there was even a community swimming pool!
I never quite understood the whole “trailer trash” perspective because in my mind, the trailer park was never a trashy place at all.
Trailer parks are kitschy, retro and unique.
It’s true that most of the American population that grew up in the trailer parks dotting the landscape, grew up without having a lot of money, but not everyone that lives in a trailer park is what I would consider poor. Growing up without money is not shameful, but being an adult with this history and not having any empathy for people that are less fortunate, is definitely shameful behavior. Those people are the ones I would call Trailer Trash.
I will always have a deep affection for the trailer and the trailer park. I hope someday my enthusiasm for the slice of Americana rubs off on you and you can appreciate the ingenuity of the aluminum box called the trailer.