“Trailer Trash”, Oh yeah, that was us back in 1966. I was 10 years old when my dad bought our trailer. Our family comprised of a single dad with three kids. I was the youngest. Our home was a 10 ft. by 54 ft. motor home in a trailer park in southern Ohio. There were about 50 or 60 trailers in the park. These were not your double wide homes that later became identified as manufactured homes. No, these were small single wide homes of varying lengths and widths. A 14 ft wide trailer was considered a mansion on wheels. Our trailer was affectionately called the boat. It had 3 bedrooms. Dad slept in the master bedroom at the front of the trailer. My brother and I shared a closet sized room in the middle. My sister got the bedroom at the end. That left a small kitchen, living room, a single bathroom and a space outside the bathroom for a stacked washer and dryer. It was compact living. At least one trailer in this park burned down every 2 years. We lived there for about 8 years.
There were a lot of kids living in this park. Go outside and it would not take long to find someone to hang out with – which is what kids did back then, we hung out, we talked, walked round and rode our bikes. We had an empty field that we mowed and cleared and set up a baseball diamond on. Softball was king, as we had mix teams of girls and boys of all ages. Plus, very few kids had baseball gloves. We did have great games though. There was a road down the way lined with small homes with a lot of kids on it too. We would challenge them to some tough summer games. Of course, we played football in the same field in the winter time.
We had a lot of fun during those summers. When we were not playing sports we were riding our bikes. Fixing bikes was a frequent pastime. Most bikes were second hand bikes. Even my first brand new bike needed repair frequently. We rode them hard. My bike was a Schwinn Sting Ray. This was before BMX and the X-Games. There was a two lane road next to the park with an incline of about 6%. The park was at the top. We would ride our bikes to a bridge at the bottom of the hill. The standing order was to go all out, no braking. Near the end of the route there was a blind turn. It was tough to stay in the right lane. Crossing over into oncoming traffic was always a risk. We had many a close call and mad driver. Once you got to the beginning of the bridge surface, you slammed on your pedal brake. That would leave a black streak 50 to 100 feet long. The bridge was covered with them. The ride back up the hill sucked. It was as much a walk back as it was a ride.
Kids will be kids. Most all of us were latch key kids. We got into a lot of mischief. Once we climbed down a make shift ladder in to a dry cistern under the concrete ramp to a barn. We had some Lysol cans making torches out of them in the dark. Our lighter failed and everyone was still spraying about. When the lighter lit, it was one big fire ball and nothing but elbows and A holes up that ladder.
Another time someone got a hold of a case of condoms. We didn’t know any better. We made balloons out of them and hung them all over the park. The nice policeman had us go around and collect and throw them away.
It wasn’t always fun and games. We were poor, my dad made me buy my own clothes. I mowed grass with a rotary push mower and collected bottles for the 2 cent refund. There was a golf course a mile a way. My caddying every summer week end earned about 60 dollars.
These were my teen years I would catch snakes and tease the girls. I would spend many an hour climbing trees. Drugs and alcohol were all around this trashy park. My dad instilled fear in us. Getting caught doing drugs or alcohol was not worth it.
Looking back, my memories actually make the title Trailer Trash a badge of honor.