Fellow Baby Boomer Allan Berube recalls in "White Trash" (edited by Matt Wray and Annalee Newitz) growing up in Sunset Trailer Park in Bayonne, New Jersey. Like many optimists in those post-war times, his parents assumed they were just passing through and on their way to a real single-family house. They weren't. And Berube chronicles the stigma of being trailer trash.
He is right on. I lived just across the city line in Jersey City. My dwelling, a cold-water tenement downtown, wasn't much better. But we assumed it was. Grandma and Mom warned us kids to keep away from those trailer kids in Bayonne. Most likely the kids in uptown Jersey City were getting the same kinds of warnings about us tenement trash.
But, times change. In some free-spirited and practical circles, double wides aren't a cracker joke, particularly for a second home. Depending on the square footage and the lack of lux, one can be had for $20,000. Yes, there is the plus charge of renting the land and accommodations but that appears manageable. Also, there is usually an option to purchase the land, providing a lord of the manor feel to the whole thing.
On Route 35 at the Jersey Shore I saw a beauty. The real estate agent was convinced I could snag it for less than $20,000. Not too too far from the ocean in Rhode Island there was another gem, just a tad above $20,000.
So, why aren't I on my lawn chair with my dog, outside my trailer enjoying the sea breeze? Changing weather patterns, my pretty. Double wides may be acceptable but the threat of hurricanes isn't. "They" are predicting the big one for the northeast. The last big one put whole cities under water. With the winds, the trailers didn't have a chance.
Clearly, this is a tragedy. Many of us have risen above the class prejudices of our youth only to be ensnared by the 21st reality of global warming. In 2008, Al Gore will be declared King, the first one to hold that title in the US.