Thursday, December 30, 2010

City Girl, Country Girl on Trailer Homes

Not the house from the story, but a very good replica.

I was born and raised just outside of Washington, DC. I'm a Northern Virginia girl to the core. I came from a place where when my sister and I were little girls, our parents would wrap us up in blankets, put us in the "way back" of our Ford station wagon, and my mom would drive my dad to the nearest Metro stop (for my DC friends- we lived in Fairfax City, and the nearest stop at the time was Ballston). Subways, freeways, and going to museums was always just a way of life for me. What can I say? I was born a City Girl.
But every summer my mom would pack us two little girls up, and off we went to my grandparents' house in Mississippi. Sometimes we drove, sometimes we took the train (but we never ever flew. Those were back in the days where my mom just
We'd spend our summer days visiting the old folks, going to cemeteries, setting off fireworks (which were legal year round), living in fear of the snakes under the house, learning to shoot BB guns in the yard, helping Grandpa burn the trash (possibly one of the most exciting events of my summer days- we had a large trash pit where you burned your trash. No county waste management out in the boondocks!), going down to the grocery store where you never had to pay, cause they put everything on your tab, and watching a LOT of tv.
The TV was all satellite, and really amused me. The commercials were from all over Alabama, Mississippi, and even as far as New Orleans (about 3 hours away). The commercials were so strange to me. They were some for houses that only cost $20,000 and could be towed anywhere. To my Northern Virginia ears this was incredible stuff. And there were car commercials for car dealers four hours away! I used to wonder how people would get all the way to those dealerships if they didn't have a car yet. And there were a lot of really long commercials that ended in "Praise Jesus!" But it turns out those weren't commercials at all. Those were actual TV shows. And people sent them money. Bizarre.
It was the commercials for the mobile/trailer homes that really intrigued me. My suburban lifestyle had not yet exposed me to such concepts. Houses on wheels. It was an extraordinary concept. I even went to see if our house had wheels under it. (Our house, like all homes in that part of the world, are not flush to the ground, and are actually elevated a few feet. So I really could look under it, Except I was terrified of the supposed snakes and bobcats that lived under there.) But sadly, our house did not have wheels.
Then one day as we were driving back from town I saw it. A real live trailer house! It was up on bricks, but I could still see the wheels under it. I was enthralled by this concept- a house you could pick up and take anywhere with you. Think of all the cool places you could go if your house had wheels! Every day when we drove past I looked for this house. I was just certain that one day it would be gone. I had big dreams for the people inside that trailer. Someday they were going to fly the coop and go see the world in their house on wheels.
But alas, one day I learned the truth about trailer homes. They are nowhere near as glamorous as my little head had imagined them. My little heart was broken.
So today one thing lead to another, and I found myself playing with Google Maps Street View. And sure enough I found myself looking at our little town in MS. I started on Main St, and worked Peg Man down the road towards our house, looking for familiar sites. And there it was- the trailer house, wheels and all. It is still there nearly 30 years later. It made me a little nostalgic.
And a little sad. I was still hoping it would get up and go see the world someday.

(this also explains my lifelong fascination with RV vacations)


  1. I love this post! These are great little thoughts and moments to capture.

    I used to think trailers were kind of cool, maybe because I thought I could have my own little trailer.

    We do have one "token" trailer park near the Kmart in Fairfax City. It always jerks me back into reality when I see it because you just don't see them around here like everywhere else in the US.

    Never fear - you can buy a motor home in the future and drive your little house all around the country! (-:

  2. That little trailer park was actually in my elementary school boundaries. I even had friends that lived there. For some reason though, I never associated that little park with the trailers I saw in MS. They were so different and in neighborhoods that it never clicked for me.

  3. Hey, I am from NoVA too, but now live out west. I find myself being disappointed when I visit a museum out here and it comes to an end. I tell people I'm spoiled because I'm used to never-ending museum exhibits.


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