At the age of 3.5, my dad was reassigned with the Air Force. We moved from the country of England to a Red Neck area, of back woods Sumter, South Carolina.
My parents did not have a lot of money and so they bought a trailer.
You know, a house that could be pimped out with some sweet rims. (We never did that, but that would be awesome!)
We lived in a community of other mobile domiciles, which is French for “Trailer Park”.
We lived in the trailer for a few years. During that time my second brother and I had quite a few adventures.
I am not sure if it was because there was no Internet, or that all the danger in the world was not as publicized, but we used to roam around that trailer park with absolutely no fear.
We would navigate our way through all the long, rectangular, propped up houses like little Navy Seals in search of action. Sometimes we would play for fun and other times we would get into mischief.
Trailer Park Ninja
There were always tons of wild blackberries growing in the brush along the perimeter of the trailer park. We would pick them and eat them.
Sometimes, we would climb up into trees and jump out of the lower limbs like trailer park ninjas, attacking our imaginary arch-nemesis.
We played in the dirt with my “Johnny West” action figure complete with horse, holster, pistol, shotgun, chaps and hat. Hey, it was South Carolina y’all.
A couple times during the summers, my dad, brother and I would get so sunburned that as it started to heal, we would all take turns peeling the sheets of skin off our backs.
We had a couple of really deep pot holes that filled with water after it rained.
You guessed it, “Trailer Park Oasis”!
We swam around in them to stave off the heat from the blazing South Carolina sun.
Muddy as a couple of pigs straight off the farm, we tried to enter the house.
Our mother recoiled in horror and exclaimed “You will not be coming in here like that!”
She marched us to the back of the trailer and stripped us down, buck naked, grabbed the hose and sprayed us down until we were squeaky clean.
I can understand, she did not want us to destroy the fine interior of our stately residence.
My dad had to go to Thailand for a year and so my mom had to take care of us on her own.
We drove her CRAZY and so she would send us outside and lock the door of the trailer.
It was like 10,000 degrees outside and so every so often the hatch of our land yacht would open and a couple of lemonades would appear on the steps.
Immediately the hatch would slam shut, and I think I could hear my mom say “Dive, dive!”
When she would finally let us in, we would plop down into the crime scene, dead body position with our faces placed directly over the AC vents to drink in the arctic blast of rejuvenation!
I don’t know if it was all of South Carolina or just our neighborhood but, we experienced a flat frog anomaly.
There must have been like a million frogs living around the trailer park. Kind of like a reenactment of the second plague of Egypt.
For some reason, they never seemed to be able to make it out of the way of cars.
This meant that the sides of the roads were always paved with many, very flat frogs.
They wouldn’t decompose, but rather just turn into frog chips.
They were so flat that you could pick them up and throw them like Frisbees.
So we did.
One of the benefits of having frugal (broke) parents was that we were allowed to wear specially selected, fine garments from only the best stores.
My parents would order us some manly Tough Skin jeans, with the reinforced knees patches, from none other than Sears.
(By manly, I mean that they come from a store that sells tools.)
Because we were sure that the knee patches were like Kevlar, the first time we wore them, we ran right outside and tested them out.
We scraped our knees vigorously on the cement slab driveway just knowing that they would be impenetrable.
When we stood up and inspected the brand new holes in our jeans, the gravity of the situation sunk in.
Let the whuppin’ commence.
Now a days, you would hear: “Stay within eye distance, wash your fruit, don’t climb trees, toy guns are the devil, put on your SPF 90 or you’ll get cancer, don’t STEP in the puddle, keep your clothes on, don’t touch dead things on the ground, and you are going to pay for that out of your allowance, but for right now you are in a time out, no Instagram for a half hour!” (Overprotect much?)