My First Trailer
In 1980, I graduated from Crescent High School. I applied to several colleges and, lo and behold, I was accepted by the University of South Carolina in Spartanburg. The problem was they did not have any dorms.
My family owned several houses and one trailer that we bought to be rent houses. At the time, most were rented, but before we could rent the trailer it would need to be renovated.
It seems that the woman that owned the trailer had died in the back bedroom. Her son sold the trailer. It was on a rented lot when we bought it, so we towed the trailer to the large lot we had at one of our other rent houses. This house was on Lee Street.
Soon after we got the house moved to the new location, my father and one of our store employees, who happened to be an excellent carpenter, went to look over the trailer.
The trailer had not been hooked up to electricity or any other utility yet. When my father and Author “Ott” went to look over the trailer, it was just about dark. The sun was setting and it was a little dark inside.
Both my father and Ott were acutely aware that the lady who had owned the trailer had died in the trailer in the back room.
Both Ott and Papa Bruce were extremely averse to anything what-so-ever to do with death.
There was still some light in the trailer, but not much. One of them accidently kicked a wire clothes hanger with their foot and it went sailing into the back bedroom where the woman had been found dead.
Independently from one another, both men decided they had a good idea of what needed to be done at the trailer at that time. Seconds later, both men were looking at one another across the seat of the truck. Both had very wide-open eyeballs.
Ott said to Papa Bruce, “Did you lock the door?” Papa Bruce responded that there was nothing in the trailer to steal so it did not matter if it was locked or not. To the best of my knowledge, neither man set foot in the trailer again until it was moved to Spartanburg.
A couple of days later, my father ordered a couple of loads of gravel and had it delivered to the Lee Street lot. He sent me and my brother Daniel to the lot to make a driveway with this gravel.
I loaded two shovels in the truck and off we went to the lot and I started shoveling gravel as my brother sat on the tailgate of the truck and watched me. After I had most of the gravel moved to make a driveway for the trailer, I sat down on the tail gate of the truck. I was still holding the shovel in my hands when I sat down.
A few minutes into my rest, my brother says to me, “Let me hold your shovel, David.” He got up and scooped up one shovel of gravel and then my father pulled up in the other truck to check on our progress.
As he pulled up, Daniel dropped his one and only shovel full of gravel back on the pile and approached Papa Bruce in the truck.
Papa Bruce said, “You boys really have gotten a lot of work done for just two people." He said, "Finish on up, then I have something else for you to do." Papa Bruce left. Daniel sat back down on the tailgate and I finished the driveway.
The trailer sat vacant. There were still no interior renovations to it. Then, Papa learned I would need a place to live in Spartanburg and he thought the trailer would be a perfect idea.
Me and some friends of mine cleaned the trailer and fixed things in it. One thing was that the mirrors in the bathroom had to be replaced, but that is another story.
The trailer had been built in the 1960s. The back bedroom had very thick, red shag carpet. There were two pendent lights that hung from the ceiling with faux gold on them. Some of that was scratched off.
There was a large mirror on either side of the room. The paneling on the wall was dark and shiny. There was a bit of white wallpaper on one wall and it had light blue flowers on it. There was a slight pink tint to some of the flowers in the wallpaper.
I decided to go with the flow and decorate this room in as tacky a way as I possibly could.
I bought a velvet-like bedspread with red dingo balls on it. I also bought orange sheets and yellow curtains. I was determined to make this room as tacky as possible. My friend Phil Brown dubbed it the Pimp Room.
Somehow, word of my effort to make the tackiest room got around and elderly ladies, who you would think did not know what a pimp was, began to approach me at church and at the store and give me tacky items for the room.
There were green throw pillows and one of those silk hand painted pillows one gets when they go on vacation. I forget what it said.
I was given strobe lights and black lights galore.
I drove to Spartanburg and found Green Acres Trailer Park right across the street from the University. This was a controlled access road, so it was not like I could walk right across the street to school though.
I rented the lot and arranged to have my lights, water, and phone set up. While I was
I still remember my very first electric bill. Back then we called them light bills. It was from Duke Power Company and was on one of those old time computer punch cards. The bill was for $1.01. I have never seen one so low again. This was my first piece of mail in Spartanburg.
Soon I will tell you about my first night in the trailer.
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