What is that shiny object? Is it my trailer? No, it is my conscious. I’m all good with the karma universe.
In the spirit of True Revelations, I am going to backtrack a little. The trailer has always been promised to my Canadian half- sister, Erika. I had previously talked to Daddy about the trailer and he claimed that Erika did not want it and it was plenty fine up-for-grabs. But I got to thinking about my Dad, and while he has many sterling qualities, communication/ emotional perception is not one of the higher ranking ones. There was nothing for it: I called up Erika and asked her if she was ok with my trailer takeover.
Now, with her blessing, I can officially say, Yup, I’m a trailer owner.
It’s funny… my Dad had three marriages and a total of 6 children spanning a 20+ year gap between the oldest and the youngest (c’est moi). The common denominator to all of our childhoods? The Spartan + The Open Road. I personally remember seeing Niagara Falls, The Grand Canyon, The Rocky Mountains, The California Redwoods and Mount St. Helens- still spewing little puffs of ash, no less- while traveling in the trailer. Canada. New Orleans, LA. Yellow Springs, Ohio, McComb, Illinois. My Dad was a college professor so we took some looong summer road trips. Often with my three half-sisters- which was dazzling to my young self. I worshiped them. A big part of the amazing trailer summer lifestyle was that is was so wildly different from my placid, only-child, suburban childhood. It was chaotic. Baths were much less regular. Other than salad, no pesky vegetables. But loads of fresh fruit. Chedder cheese and tomato sandwiches with mayo. Salami. Cold Coca-Cola.
What is really bizarre is that I am just now noticing this. It was so much a part of my childhood, that it was almost invisible. Ya know how some Dads are all about the Garage? Or the Basement? Or the Bowling Alley? Well, my Dad was all about the trailer. It is his Baby. He spent hours tinkering in it, lavishing care on it and keeping it in working order. Thus, he is a little mystified about all my questions regarding the mechanical/ structural and road-worthiness of the Spartan. He insulated it and rebuilt all the wood interior using the old wood as templates in 1985. (Still light honey-colored birch) He gives it a polish/ good clean every few years. All the lights/ exterior and interior work. Propane stove and oil heater are original and still work. It has had many fridges, Thank God, and the current one is about 10 years old. He rebuilt the frame/ hitch early on so it would be stronger. He bought new stainless tanks from Airstream “a while back” but they don’t have the correct safety valves on them, so we may have a project replacing the valves. In short, she is a pretty much a Go. He even has the original owner’s manuals, because, of course, he is the Original Owner.
In case you are wondering, he paid $4099.70 for it in 1950. A diligent 60 second search on Google tells me that is equivalent to $35,300.66 contemporary dollars. To further put it in context, my Dad was an Associate Professor at the University of Oklahoma at the time and he made $8,000 a year. He bought it at the Spartan factory in Tulsa. Hummm… I wonder if that is what really happened to his first marriage? “Honey, I’m Home. BTW, check out the new trailer in the driveway. It cost half my annual salary.”
In light of the fact that I am spending half a year (or possibly more) not working, I think a “free trailer” is just the thing to compensate my family. After all, the memories are guaranteed for a lifetime.