Why am I Here?

23 02 2008

This blog is to document my life in the trailer park here in East Central Florida. As a child I grew up in a few trailer parks and vowed never to live in one as an adult. Notice I said “trailer parks”. I once counted the number of places my family lived by the time I was 15. If memory serves me there were at least 11 (more if you count the various times we moved in with my grandmother). Much of the time we lived in rented houses, but towards the end we lived mostly in mobile homes. The “end” came for me when I moved to Florida to live with my biological father. He and my stepmother lived a stable life and only moved when they had built a new house.

In the small, high plains home town trailer parks didn’t carry quite the stigma as I have encountered in other parts of the country. They were generally tidy and not terribly run-down. The population was more transient and everyone’s dogs ran free. Otherwise the trailer parks were not too bad.

Still, it was embarrassing for me, and I vowed to be successful and have a nice house when I grew up. As an adult I have come to appreciate some of the lessons I learned from moving around. Not only does change not frighten me; I have come to thrive upon it. Growing up poor taught me that it is possible to be happy with only my basic needs fulfilled (sustenance, shelter and safety). There is no bitterness because the love and affection we enjoyed growing up far outweighed the lack of money.

Growing upĀ  this way taught me the value of hard work and earning my own money. As a youngster I would drag my little brothers along and solicit the neighbors to let us scoop the snow from their sidewalks or rake their leaves. At the age of nine I began begging the owners of the local ice cream/hamburger joint to let me work there. By the time I was twelve I had gotten a job washing dishes for their competition and at thirteen (the legal working age at that time) they had hired me, as well. I worked both places after school and on the weekends.

These experiences shaped me into a person who has a hard time staying in one place and who has worked many jobs. I’m an entrepreneur and get easily bored working for others.

Later I’ll delve more into how I have found myself in a trailer park (again) in my forties. But for now, I’ll just explain that it is more of an RV park in retirement central: Florida. My husband and I live in a very comfortable and large fifth-wheel RV which we have parked in a safe and community-oriented park, in a quiet coastal village.

Because our park is so affordable and well-located, we do see our share of interesting characters (which is why I started this blog). The permanent residents are primarily military veterans and other retirees. My husband and I are the youngest people, as they bent the 55+ rule to let us in. This was a good call, as we have contributed my helpfulness and my my husband’s troubleshooting and repair skills to benefit the community. At any given time many of the residents here are career alcoholics. We have seen our share of drug addicts, but they don’t last long before they are kicked out. I’ve developed a much greater sympathy for alcoholics and their struggles with booze. The violent drunks don’t last long, either; so most of my neighbors are the pathetic and happy lushes who weave their cars through the park and stagger into their trailers with cases of beer. The emptiness in their lives makes me appreciate my own life all the more.

Later I’ll share some photos and more details about my lifestyle and how we arrived here.