I was 24 years old before I realized I was trailer trash. I don’t remember how I came upon this realization but when I did, I immediately called my mother.
“Mom, how is it that I didn’t know we were trailer trash!”
Mom, on the other end of the phone, is silent. I think she is shocked. “We are NOT trailer trash!” she finally says sounding horrified.
“Did I grow up in a trailer mom?”
“Was it in a trailer court?”
“Did we have a couch on the front porch?”
“No we did not!” she indignitaly retorts.
“Okay then, I’ll give you that one. But did we at any time wear jean cut-off shorts and tank tops?”
“Well, did we?”
“Total trailer trash.”
“We were not trailer trash!”
“I think I just rested my case mom.”
And so this conversation goes for months. Mom horrified that I am calling us trailer trash. Me knowing that we are.
I don’t know why she was so upset about it however. The fact that I did not catch on that we were trailer trash until my mid twenties says a lot about how my mom raised us and of our community. Let’s be honest, it was a trailer court and there were some, shall we say, dodgy characters that we knew to avoid. But overall, there was a group of us kids who did what kids do. We had bike races over the speed bumps. We played street hockey. We explored all around where we discovered huge cement, hollowed blocks that we imagined were coffins for the Giants who lived in the woods beyond.
Beyond those woods lived my best friend. She lived in a two-storey house complete with a hottub and swimming pool. She had two parents that were still married, a sister, and a cute little Cocker-spaniel puppy.
Yet I was never jealous. After all, I had my mom at home and my dad and step-mom who I got to go visit every holiday. I had my brother. I had a dog who had been abandoned at a gas station, probably because she looked just like a gigantic, hairy rat but I loved her just the same.
My best friend and I shared time at each others houses. We were always together. I would anxiously and impatiently wait for her to finish her piano lessons so we could swim and eat snacks at her house. At my trailer, we watch taped episodes of Days of our Lives and had modelling sessions in front of the faux-wood panelled walls. We never discussed our differing social statuses. She never mentioned that I was trailer trash.
Eventually, my family moved into a small house. My best friend and her family moved to another town. But not before cute, fluffy CockerSpaniel dog and black, ugly rat dog have a trist in the woods. Class and Trash unite! (Combine it together and we have ‘Clash’ by the way.) We still to this day, 15 years later, have the consequences of that rendezvous in a small, fluffy (yet scruffy at the same time) cantankerous, ol mutt that we love dearly.
In a sense I feel like this dog. A combination of worlds. I own my own house complete with a husband (more or less!), a baby, and a dog of our own. But at the end of the day, my roots are in that trailer court where, contrary to popular perception, I learned of community, trust and freedom.
Finally, as cliched as it may be, a picture is worth a thousand words:
That is my bare ass blowing in the wind by the way. Along with a trailer. And trash. Case closed.