…That song played on our portable record player, in the sparsely appointed living room of our first house. Rob and I sang along, changing the words slightly, “To have a little trailer that’s green!”
All right, so it was white. But, in some areas, you could see the original avocado green paint peeking through.
When we got engaged in 2000, we did not make enough money to afford a house. Apartments were definitely an option, but we liked the relative privacy (and the small yard!) that trailer parks afforded. Our parents had started out in trailer parks and often told us sweet, romantic stories. So shopping we went.
There was the park with the cute little lamps on each lot and the tennis court. There was the park full of dilapidated homes next to a smelly waste lagoon. And everything in-between. We were seriously considering the tennis court place, or a park with newer homes and very large lots. Then, on a whim, we took a drive through Albright Shores.
Albright Shores is not actually a town (or village, or hamlet) anymore. It has a cute, independently-owned grocery store, two gas stations, a meat market, a bar and a restaurant. The first neighborhood we drove through had a sideways refrigerator blocking the road. Hmmm….
As we drove along the lake, we encountered cute cottages and a subdivision on a man-made island on the canals. In between these two neighborhoods was a trailer park. It was filled with tightly-packed older homes. The sign said, “Pleasant Beach Mobile Home Resort.” We had to check it out.
The streets seemed to be completely random. To the left were slightly newer (1980’s vintage) homes with larger lots. To the right were two very random roads, older trailers, and campers. A green building sat in the middle, with resort cabins on either side. They had boat slips and a beach with a raft and a playground slide (in the water!). We took down the number on the sign. The only word I could think of to describe it was “insane.”
When I called the number, I got the Billings Township burn permit line. Ok… After some Googling, I was able to contact the park manager. She recommended that we go to the park’s rummage sale.
We did, and everyone talked about how much they loved the park. There were weekenders, seasonals, and year-round residents. They were mainly retirees, but there was also a corporate executive and a few families. A man showed us his house on the right-hand side. His lawn was covered in Astroturf. The park manager showed us an empty RV lot, that could take a trailer. The only catch was that there was this scrubby little tree, that the trailer couldn’t hit.
Off to Chuck’s Reliable Mobile Homes we went. We found a 12X60 with pull-outs spanning the length. It was essentially a double wide, and it was $1500. We measured the house. We measured the lot. It would hit the tree.
Next to the used trailer lot was a used car lot. They had a white 12X60 with pillars on the front. It was in good shape, in spite of being built in 1968, and it would fit. $1000 later, we had it hauled in.
When we got there, we saw that the hook-ups didn’t reach. It would have to be pulled forward. The park manager decreed that the tree would have to go.
Living in what is essentially a campground on a lake, in the summer, is great fun. Everybody met for a bonfire every Saturday night. There were potlucks, and the 4th of July was a crazy party. Everybody talked to everyone. It was my first taste of marina life, and it wasn’t even in a marina! Winters got lonely, but our road was always plowed.
We finally sold the house when we wanted to have children. “Kids need more space,” everyone told us. It didn’t take long for us to realize we were fools for believing them.