Mobile home sparked her dreams

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 6, 2015

When I see mobile homes or travel trailers rolling along the highway, my thoughts flash back to when I was 11 or 12 years old. My parents and I were on our way home from a Florida vacation. We stopped at a motel, only to learn all the rooms were booked. The clerk offered us lodging in an eight-foot wide travel trailer on the motel property.

It was love at first sight for me, plunging my imagination into visions of traveling all over the place with a trailer similar to that one. I think Daddy, a real stay-at-home person, rather liked it, too. He quipped that maybe he would build us one someday. He never did, of course.

My husband was stationed at Fort Jackson in Columbia, S.C., when we married. We moved into a second floor furnished apartment in a private home. It was then that I pulled my husband into my dream of owning a trailer, even though we did not have a car. During our leisure time, we walked to theatres, a favorite ice cream store, and an art museum. Sometimes we went to downtown Columbia to window shop. One beautiful Sunday afternoon, we walked several miles to a trailer dealer lot. And there it was, my dream come true—a 29 ft. long, 8 ft. wide Pontiac Chief travel trailer.

We hardly noticed the heat and humidity on the long walk back to our apartment because we were so absorbed with our “dream home” on wheels. After we bought a car, we made trips to look at the Pontiac Chiefs. Although we could not afford one, my imagination ran wild.

Then my husband received orders for a year’s tour of duty in Alaska. He packed up for his flight to Alaska. I went home to my parents to await the birth of our first child. I put my dream on a shelf for a while.

My husband completed his year’s Alaskan tour and returned to Fort Jackson. Yep, again we visited dealerships with travel trailers and mobile homes. Several years passed and one day we moved into a 10 ft. wide by 50 ft. long three-bedroom mobile home. It was a mistake. With two children and seven years of accumulated household items, it bulged at the seams. The family kept bumping into each other.

The mobile home sat in my parents’ yard during a three-year Germany tour of duty. It seemed to have shrunk in our absence. A new assignment took us to Tennessee, next door to a mobile home sales company where the latest new 12 ft. wides were on display. My husband ignored them. While he was at work, I sneaked over and toured them all.

As his military retirement approached, we sold the mobile home and bought a house. Years later and a couple of moves in Alabama put us in touch with RV enthusiasts. Guess what? My dream resurfaced. And that is another story …


Nina Keenam is a retired journalist.