I think I'm trailer trash. But then, I don't get the "trash" part of it. Basically, I love trailers. My family of origin did a lot of camping when I was growing up. And then one time when I was around 9 and we were camping on the Mc Cloud River in Northern California, a huge bear came into our camp. Have you ever smelled a bear? There's really no missing it. Thank gawd he/she bear was content with the Hershey bars and milk cartons found in our cooler (which he/she easily smashed like an accordian!) When my dad could hear it sniffing about outside our heads, and smelled it , it was pretty scary with only a thin sheet of canvas between Bear and Family. We had met only one other family downriver. And after that trip, my parents always owned a trailer while I was growing up. Of course this decision was 98% mom-directed.
Shopping for these trailers was a Fantasy Land to me. Mom and Dad viewed and haggled, while I was invited into one open door after another. Each interior a virtual playhouse, where I was hostess to a plethera of make believe friends and imaginings.
And once we owned one, off season it became the clubhouse of sleepovers and slumber parties out in my driveway. Little girls, laughing until late into the night in our own little fort. Music and hair styling and sweets and soda and nail polish. The garish turquoise patterned curtains that felt like home in there, but Mom wouldn't be caught dead with in our house on Cedar Avenue.
And delightful summers at the Safari Trailer Park in Avery, CA, which (at that time in the sixties, but sadly shabby last time I drove through in 2001) hosted green sprawling lawns, huge shade trees, crystal clear swimming pool, horseshoes, shuffleboard, and exploring-paths galore, through huge rocks, manzanita, and pine. There was Squaw Rock, along with the legend that an Indian Maiden was buried underneath it, and from atop it's heights, I expected Little Joe Cartwright to call down his deep love to me anyday now. There was the deserted old shack, where we kids shimmied through a broken board, into a treasure trove of old colored bottles and trunks of old linens. The quiet, stuffy sunlight of summer pouring though the cracks and resting on the spiderwebs and dust mites in the sleepy air.
And always back to our very little home bedecked with a huge piece of astroturf under an awning strung with colored plastic lanterns, a long picnic table with benches, chaise lounges, a transistor radio, a barbecue, kerosene lanterns and laughter. Breakfast cooked in the electric skillet that plugged into the outside wall of the trailer. Bacon or trout caught fresh that morning, and eggs, and pancakes. Quick lunchtime sandwiches with iced tea or Kool-Aid at the picnic table, while we took our short break from the pool area each noon. Card games, 16 Magazine, roasted marshmallows, star-gazing and warm cocoa by night.
In the evenings we would walk through the park when the air finally cooled, and nod friendly nods to other families enjoying the evening in their astroturf yards. Folks from all over the state, all leaving work and school behind to live together, for this short era called summer, for rest, and slow living, and family time. Good Neighbors, in this little tin can town in the Calaveras Redwoods. A place of pure enjoyment that boasted a single, dusty path through a dried, thigh high, grassy field into the "real town" which consisted of one general store, a one-window post office and a gas station (with "pops" for sale in the bright yellow refrigerator cooler where you could pull out a wet, icy bottle of pop, and reach down and flip off the cork-lined bottle top and listen to it clink down into the receptacle. Life was "tidier" then, a place for everything. Then along came pop tops, and Jimmy Buffet, and...well you know the rest.)
All of us visitors to this simple place, no one living in the park regularly with the exception of the managers. Our trailer was an Aristocrat. And then we had an Oasis. And then when we moved our "summer home" to South Lake Tahoe, it was a 2 bedroom Broadmoor. All these perfectly tidy, easily maintained, one-room homes on wheels that hold my heart. Tin treasure chests full of shiny memories. Once before the official "move" from the Redwoods to Lake Tahoe, we were pulling our trailer from one place to the next so we could enjoy both places on our vacation. I remember we took a "short-cut" and ended up on a desolate road high up there in the mountains and our trailer couldn't make the turn. We all had to get out of the car and stand by the side of the road while dad sweated and cussed that trailer into submission. I was pretty young, but I remember it vividly. I think I even remember it was "Highway 4". (I have no real idea, and I'm going to check out my accuracy after I finish posting!)
And someday? I will own a little camper trailer that rides on the back of a truck, that I will drive to anywhere and everywhere, stopping where I damned well please, setting up camp next to a stream, a river or the ocean, or in a park with swimming pool and green lawn; reading, knitting, barbecuing, walking, with my kids, and grandkids, or just my dog, nodding hello to the other folks from other places...that is my dream. My simple dream.
The one that makes my heart sing.