Three blocks from my subdivision, I can throw a stick in any direction and hit a mobile home. And a chainlink fence. And some curious tire “art” formed into flamingos. And that old man in torn boxer shorts, standing wobbly near his bottle tree (yes, that’s a thing) that keeps his barking doberman company. But that’s not the point. The point is that none of the dozens upon dozens of mobile homes look like this swanky residence.
I want to live in this mobile home. I want that couch and those views of what appears to be a golfcourse (because most mobile homes usually have views of the green), and those curtains, and that record player, and throw in the little girl, please. I don’t have one of those yet.
And while I’ve driven past a whole mess of trailers in my lifetime, apparently my state doesn’t have nearly what the top ten states do.
Last year’s Miss South Carolina announced her home state with pride: “From the state where 20% of our homes are mobile ’cause that’s how we roll, I’m Brooke Mosteller, Miss South Carolina.” Here, she demonstrates how to prop one up during a thunderstorm.
Come on, you know they are not safe in high winds (and fires, by the way). This is not news. And they depreciate instead of appreciate. But none of this mattered when I was young. Back then, I romanticized mobile home life, like an adult version of a fort. No attic, no basement, no five thousand dollar roof to replace every ten years. Just my size. And heck, you can take it with you when you relocate.
Come to think of it, while every home in my subdivision has .20 acres of land, our mobile home neighbors down the road all have a sweet acre. Enormous expanses of land on which to put all sorts of things, but mostly immobile vehicles. Next to a mobile home. That is ironic, right? I am not trailer-bashing; this is reality. I have been inside nice mobile homes. But dang–not that nice. Not 1952 nice. I just want to know where those trailers are, like the one above. I never see those. Do they exist?
Well, they sort of exist. Parrish Manor in Raleigh, North Carolina boasts manicured lawns (sans vehicles and tire art) and a nice pine-lined creek. Looks pretty peaceful and clean, huh?
An estimated 20 million Americans live in mobile homes, more than any other country. And they aren’t living in new ones. According to the Manufactured Housing Institute, in the late 1990s, nearly 400,000 new manufactured homes sold a year, down to 55,000 now. This necessitates more upkeep and maintenance on existing homes. Do not neglect your mobile home.
Whether it’s motivated by the freedom and mobility of the American way or simply a cycle of poverty that prevents site-built home ownership, mobile homes are here to stay. Just please–put your shirts back on.
Need more trailer posts? Check out last year’s Teepees and Trailer Homes.