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July 17, 2007


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Bob Allen

I lived in trailer parks both as a kid and an adult, which probably unconsciously enhanced my sense of class--but now I see small, dilapidated trailer parks with Hispanic occupants, and there is one where newer trailers are marketed specifically to Hispanics by my local bank, "even if you have bad credit, you can own your OWN HOME!". Of course this plays into the racial battle under the surface, as whites resent the preferential credit offers. I am interested in who owns these "parks"- and what's in a name ? Not a "park" really , but a "place to park", denoting an impermanence. And I've known people who become more aggressively ambitious in their worklives, to "escape" the trailer park...


I like your point about regarding 'park' as meaning a 'place to park;' there is an ambiguity between recreation and impermanence, recreation is a temporary respite from work, not a permanent condition; a place to park suggests temporary occupancy, that one will leave, yet it also has less of an association with play, re-creation, rejuvenation and more with concrete, asphalt, the non-living.


I remember being in South Dakota as a kid in the midst of a giant Airstream conference or convention. It felt like these strange metallic alien vehicles were invading the highways, campgrounds, and tourist spots (such as Reptile Gardens, I think). They were everywhere. I thought it was kind of strange (and still do) that people come together around the type of camper they use.

Sorry for the non-substantive comment. I think your analysis of class and camping is spot on, and is very seasonal. Where I am presently, Alberta Canada, I read it is nearly impossible to find camping spots near the cities because of high commodity and fuel prices! Not to mention the exorbitant rent hikes!! Because people have less 'free' cash, they still try to get away, but just not as far as usual. My partner and I have been trying to find ways to 'travel' within the city because of money constraints this year.


I recall reading something in the newspapers a few years back on RVs and Wal-Mart - the parking lots at Wal-Mart are so huge that roaming bands of RVers would spend the night (after hours, of course) in Wal-Mart parking lots. The moral of the story was that Wal-Mart banned RVs from their parking lots.

Another use of the RV is that mid-sized bands touring large clubs will often use a bus (like a greyhound) or an RV to get around North America. It's halfway between a cargo van and an airplane, I guess.

There's a TV show in Canada called "Trailer Park Boys" - essentially about the white trash, trailer park stereotype and their dream of making "Freedom 35" from the greatest drug deal of all time.

patrick j. mullins

There's an old Pat Metheny LP called Airstream, which has a cover much like this photo.

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