Life in a Trailer Park
Things have changed since I was a kid.
The sense of community that existed when I was a child feels like it is no longer a part of mainstream society. One can now only seem to find it in places where it is not expected and in places that at a glance would not be desirable, like a trailer park.
When I was a kid my friends and I had quite a lot freedom when it came to playing outside, my only rule was that I had to be able to hear my mom’s whistle. She had one of those whistles with the two fingers that you could hear for blocks, so again “free reign.” There was a sense of community when I was a kid maybe because my mom knew at least one person in all the areas I played, so that meant that she also knew people were watching out for me. It feels as though this is lacking in this day and age.
I’m going to start with a bit of a background into our previous living situations so that there is an understanding of what we came from and how we could really know the pros and cons about lacking community and finding in unexpected locations.
There and back again around BC from the Okanagan to the Coast and back
I have two boys, a 10 year old (Boo) and a 4 year old (Bean). My oldest was born in Vernon and, though I grew up there, it was very difficult to find kids or have him go to kids’ places. This was before he went to school and since there weren’t a lot of kids in the areas we lived and because he was so young it made it tough to set up playdates. Then we moved to Kelowna when Boo was 4 turning 5 and he started school. I thought that starting school would lead to way more social interactions for my child. Turns out that starting school doesn’t make a difference if you don’t drive or have viable playing space. I also found Kelowna to be cliquey and I struggled to obtain reliable friends for either of us. Eventually when I got pregnant with my second son we moved to a basement suite, which at least had a yard my son could play in, but again not many kids his age to play with and on yet another busy road of which he could not have freedom to roam. When Boo turned 7 we bought him a bike but there was no safe place to learn and there were so few kids consistently around that he had no motivation to ride it.
We moved away from Kelowna, to the coast, when my youngest was just over a year and again found similar struggles, though Burnaby was more friendly than my first experience with Kelowna. Again we would try and try to encourage Boo to invite kids over and to learn to ride his bike, without success…
In 2013 I separated from my husband, we moved back to the Okanagan, my “security blanket,” and ended up moving into a trailer park, in Kelowna.
Here is where the story begins…
Once we settled in, right away you could notice/see the kids all over the place. It instantly reminded me of when I was growing up. Of course at first I wanted Boo to stay close; we didn’t know anyone and from all the experiences of our other living situations I didn’t know what to expect. As kids are, there was curiosity and between my friendly son and the kids around, he started to play with kids. Our park has over 100 trailers and there are “blocks” set up, but when a new kid moves in the other kids come from all over the park to meet and check things out. We have been living in the park now for over a year and there are many more pros than there are cons.
Now I know what you are all thinking… Trailer Park Boys and where do I fit in that scheme of things, well I must say that seems to be a very American way of seeing a trailer park. I am not saying some parks are not similar or contain characters like those, but I am not similar and in fact there are very few people that would resemble any of them here. What I do have though is a community in which I know my kids are relatively safe and in which I know people are watching out for me and mine.
- Neighbours mostly visible.
- Friends with neighbours.
- Many kids of all ages.
- Close to a beach, literally a hop skip and jump away haha
- Yard and grassy areas for kids to play.
- Small wildlife ecosystem (Great learning experiences).
- Close to amenities and the buses.
- Speed bumps and a low speed limit.
- Safety for all living in the park.
- Neighbourhood BBQs & gatherings.
- An overall sense of security and community.
My oldest son not only can ride his bike but asked to learn how, and within one day he was riding as if born to do it. This was such a relief to me, I was worried for a time that Boo would not have any interest in bike riding and miss out on a fundamental aspect of being a kid, but thankfully he will not.
- Everyone is “nosy.”
- You can be “tattled” on.
- Bubbles may borrow your lawnmower and though he lives across the way you may never see it again…
I just have to say since moving here my children have benefited from the community feel that was my experience as a child and they, as well as myself, have grown as people. If I could do it again I would and I will if the option to live in another park comes up in the future.
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