Tim is a freelance writer, poet, artist and storyteller. He always tries to find and include lessons for everyone in his writing.
It was one of those summers, hot and steamy, and the trailer park was abuzz with activity. In the trailer park summer was a time of picnics and barbecues of swimming in the community pool and hanging out with your friends.
In the trailer park each of the trailers is a story waiting to be told. That blue double wide over there belongs to Mr. Jonick. We all think he is a mass murder because he is always so nasty to people. Across the street from him in the grey single wide used to live David Johansson.
He was an OK guy until the government man sent him to that Viet Nam place. When he came back he was not himself. One day he flipped out and the cops took him away. Across the cul-de-sac lives the widow Jones; she knows more about the people that live here then the other people do. She is what we all call the trailer park gossip.
I have come to learn that the trailer park is not just a place where people live. The trailer park like everyplace else is a place where people have dreams they are sure will become realities, and realities they wished were dreams.
The only difference is that in the trailer park the realities dreams are built on usually do not go away. I guess that is why for the parents of my friends it is their present reality they hope their children do not have dreams of and for the older people it is the reality that this will be the last place they call home.
I don’t really live in the trailer part but because of my poor background I can relate to what goes on here. I have also found that for teenagers like me, reality and dreams kind of blur together to create the moments we would remember in times to come. Good or bad this is our life and the summer of 1972 is just a few moments in that life.
The summer of 72 for me, like a good many of my friends, was the end of our first year as freshmen in high school. We had made it through another grueling year of school made even worse by the freshman pranks we had to endure.
School was out, which for my friends and me translated into the fact like the rest of my friends my reality, my here and now, was built primarily on what we could do that summer. On how much we could party and how much we could score with the opposite sex. Our reality was built around the knowledge that we wanted to be like every other guy or girl we knew, popular and in what we thought of as love, but which in retrospect was probably just glorified lust.
Our justification comes in the knowledge that throughout time every adolescent boy or girl needs someone of the opposite sex they can hang with or take to the movies. In my little section of the cosmos most of my friends had girlfriends. It was only my friend Pete and I who were left to ponder the dateless existence of lonely Friday nights. So this one Friday night in particular found Pete and I hanging out in the trailer park with slim pickings for conversation.
You see Pete was not much of a conversationalist and our talks usually consisted of too many I guesses and numerous uh-has. This one particular night Pete and I were hanging at our usual spot, talking about rock music when this girl I knew from the bus rides home came walking by. She lived in a section of the trailer park that sat across the highway. I knew her from school but I didn’t really know her name. I looked to my friend Pete
“Hey who is that”
Pete turned to where I was pointing and told me her name was Brenda.
“Wow, she is cute,” I said in my best whisper.
“Yeah I guess if you are looking for cute. I am looking for someone who satisfies my inner self.”
In other words Pete was going to be dateless for a long time. I had other ideas like getting to know Brenda a little better. In the coming week it seemed liked I saw Brenda everywhere, in the trailer park even at the mall.
The problem was I still did not have the courage to talk with her. In fact it was her that eventually broke the ice. It happened one day when we were hanging out in our usual spot in the back of the trailer park by the fire sore.
Brenda came walking up and asked if it was ok to hang out with us. We all said ok and she took the only available spot on the ground, which just happened to be the one that was next to me. For a few minutes after she sat down there was an awkward silence until she looked at me with the coolest brown eyes I had ever seen and said.
“Hello I’m Brenda”
I was quivering in my size nine and a half Chucks, Converse sneakers for anyone that doesn’t know. My mind was racing as I contemplated my next move. Finally seeing no other course of action I simply looked at her and replied, “ Hi my name is Fred”
She smiled at me and I don’t really know what happened after that because all time got lost in conversation until she got up to go home. I watched her walk away wondering what life would be like married to her. I know I was jumping the gun but I was doing a little of that what if dreaming that all teens.
Over the next few weeks I ran into Brenda a lot around the trailer park. We talked a lot and I soon found myself growing quite attracted to her. The only problem was I did not know how to let her know my true feelings. I spent the rest of the summer hanging around at her place. Her father I found out raced those horses that have the little buggies behind them and a few times I went with them to the racetrack.
Even though we had grown closer as friends I still did not know how to get up the courage to ask her out, even though we were informed that technically we were going out. The end of the summer also brought and end to the relationship between Brenda and I. We just kind of stopped hanging together.
I don’t really know why but maybe we both knew that we came from two different sides of the same world or maybe she just got tired of me not asking her out, whatever the cause I soon found myself hanging around with a whole new group of people from the next trailer park over.
Pete and I stayed friends for a little while but that summer in the trailer park was one that will go down in my personal history as one of the best and also one of the worst. The trailer park is where I met my first crush and made my first enemy. It was a place of hope and a place of failure. Life was what it was in the trailer park.
© 2020 Timothy Whitt