Friday, April 24, 2009
What do you do if you're a latchkey kid after school in Georgia? You look for good times in a trailer park. I was lucky enough to have two small mobile home communities within biking distance for my afternoon amusements. Once the Bicycle Gang was assembled, we'd pedal off to explore. Although I may not remember all the exploits, I have another person's memory to draw from for future tales.
This was a mainly neat and quiet collection of streets. There was a trailer with a great garden where we would pillage fruit. I distinctly remember trying to get a palmetto fruit and stabbing myself in the eye with a palm frond and the scar still remains. There was a persimmon tree with the bitterest fruit you could ever imagine. Then there were the scuppernong grape vines. We called them bullets and would suck out the pulp and spit the skins on the scalding asphalt. I guess Tiffany Lane can be known mainly for illicit fruit gathering although there was also the terrifying allure of Roach Wismet's home. In the front yard, there was a giant puppy graveyard, only the owners never really got around to burying their dead. If you got anywhere near the vicinity of the yard, fleas would party in your socks for the rest of the day. Luckily, Roach Wismet wasn't part of the Bicycle Gang and most of the fruit we could steal without attracting her attention and her invitations to the corpse visible Pet Cemetery.
The Bumpy Road
The Bumpy Road is the Mecca of all trailer parks. It was surrounded by trees dripping in Spanish moss. There were speed bumps all throughout the circular street, thus giving it its name. Those bumps were the biggest appeal for the Bicycle Gang. They were great for riding over with no hands or doing awesome pop a wheelies. I'm not sure if I ever managed to do a pop a wheelie with no hands, but we could all imagine that I did. This park also had a stunning view of the salt marsh. Generally, I'm sarcastic as hell, but I really did enjoy that view. I loved riding fast and hard through the bumps and then gazing onto golden waving cattails that inspired a very famous poem. (For the sake of anonymity, I will refrain from mentioning it).
The park also contained this je ne sais quoi smell about it. I couldn't say exactly what contributed to the scent, but I would recognize it almost immediately if I came upon it again. Of course, my town had a smell to it anyway, but this smell was mixed with that, maybe salt marsh, definitely garbage, cigarette smoke, mildewy homes, beer, oil fumes and much, much more.
There was a small room in that trailer park that housed a public phone and a soda machine. It was always fun scavenging for coins out of the phone and the machine or telling the trailer park manager you lost money in the soda machine and getting yourself a free generic orange soda. I also had one friend who lived in this park for about six months and she lived across from the "unlimited free soda room as long as you use a different kid everytime". Her name was Michelle, but I insisted on calling her Mickey, from that annoying cheerleading song. She probably hated me for it, but I needed to have a pal with that name and I was only slightly envious of the green jeans she wore all the time.
I think I've written enough parts of The Bumpy Road to make it appealing for everyone, but can you imagine the biggest draw for us there? It was our own personal club house, an abandoned trailer. I wouldn't exactly call it breaking and entering since the door was unlocked. This place called to me. There was a sign outside that said "The Willoughbys" and being a girl who read way too much Austen, it seemed serendipitous. No, we didn't recreate Sense and Sensibility in the ruins of 70s decor and lingering mold on the walls, but we did have a place to call our own. I believe a policeman nearly caught us there once, but we were fleet on our bikes and could handle those bumps on our flight from the law with grace and aplomb.
Posted by Jessica at 12:46 PM