Growing Up Trailer

by - April 29, 2011

A double-wide.  Dirty white.  Red brake lights stuck to the back-end like a calling card.  Dark paneling and green ceramic.  Planted on an acre and a half of good old Normanby township.  A four-season perennial where the water wasn't orange.  It was the safest place in the world.

An apple tree trumped the front yard.  Wide reaching boughs that bloomed pale pink in late spring and dropped bombs that stunk of old pie in autumn.  Coarse swing rope stuck us with tiny slivers but let us soar - sneakers straining for that hanging limb just beyond the reach of our outstretched toes - Grandma visiting and pushing us, sing-songing Robert Louis Stevenson* while we giggled and stretched.

Branches hid wonderland in shadow - a tree house that smelled of mould and rotting carpet - precarious footholds hammered into applewood flesh, a stairway to hide-and-seek heaven where I would sneak away to chew the Chicklets gum I stole from the drug store counter.

Raspberries grew along an old foundation line and blackberries grew behind the barn.  We harvested plums in the backyard and picked currents along the road.  We boiled beneath summer sun in the neighbors strawberry patch, plucked potato bugs from the garden and ate sugar snap peas straight off the vine.  We milked the cow, strained the milk and churned our own butter in an old washing machine that sat near the piano.  We skipped to The Candy Man's doorstep and caught the short bus at the end of the driveway beside the pealing black mailbox.

We read stories, curled together on the old plaid couch.  We ate dinner, squished together around a table built for four.  We decorated the refrigerator with finger-paintings and built cityscapes with lego.  Jigsaw puzzles and rag curlers.  Dad's potato pancakes sizzling on the cast iron wood stove.  A banana crate toy box.  Rubber boots.  Fights over toys.  Uno.  Crokinole.  Love.

It never mattered that it was a trailer.  The stigma didn't touch us.  We were happy.  We were family.  We were home.

And that's what mattered.


*How do you like to go up in a swing, 
Up in the air so blue? 
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing 
Ever a child can do! 

Up in the air and over the wall, 
Till I can see so wide, 
River and trees and cattle and all 
Over the countryside-- 

Till I look down on the garden green, 
Down on the roof so brown-- 
Up in the air I go flying again, 
Up in the air and down! 

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© Alanna Rusnak