So my parents were here for 15 days. Sleeping on a sofa bed in our study. Waking up at the crack of dawn thanks to tiny early risers. Waiting for my decaf to finish brewing so they could brew their regular. By day 2 my father had declared that he was going home. We understood. It’s not easy staying in other peoples’ homes, especially a family of four. Especially our family of four. But they did it. They sucked it up and stuck it out. On their last night we all went to the beach to celebrate.
We looked up at the hillside homes over-looking the pacific ocean. A light-bulb clicked on. That’s it. They needed to live right up there.
We were looking at a trailer park.
That’s right, a trailer park. 200 yards east of the pacific ocean and 200 yards south of some of the most expensive homes in Los Angeles is a piece of land filled with mobile homes: single-wides, double-wides and perhaps… my parents future vacation home.
I know what you’re thinking. Trailer parks— bad. Drunks banging on doors screaming obscenities at their exes… hookers on every corner… unsupervised kids experimenting with household chemicals…
Please. That’s just Saturday night in Beverly Hills.
Besides, this trailer park is different. Before my parents headed to the airport, we called up a realtor friend and saw for ourselves.
Not only are the trailers steps from the ocean, they’re complimented by fully-restored VW buses and electric cars in their carports. Some look plucked from DWELL magazine. They’re owned by a peaceful, diverse group of people– some of whom were smart enough to have found a way to beat the system and reap the rewards of an affluent neighborhood without paying property taxes. The only person banging on your door might be your neighbor to say “Dude! Grab your board, the waves are huge!”
There are several trailer parks along the coastline between Santa Monica and Malibu and they’re neighbored by country clubs and 20 million dollar homes. So what if mobile homes have wheels? That’s four more wheels than Cher’s beach house has. Who knows when you and your house might need to hit the wide open road. Freedom, my friends. Mobile homes are just downright A-merican.
My kooky/ nomadic/ retired parents might actually do this. My dad, being an engineer, thrives on projects and likes the idea of renovating something. My mom loves the idea of taking daily walks on the beach and being close to the grandkids. I like the idea because I’m a wannabe hipster who’s not ashamed to admit she’s romanticized a trailer park. Also, I like makeovers.
By now my parents’ plane has landed in snowy Maine— their permanent home. Time will tell if our trip to the trailer park was just a fleeting love affair with a novel idea. (Too much egg nog?) But tomorrow as they begin the week-long project of scraping ice from their porch in negative bazillion degrees, I guarantee a certain mobile abode near the beach will be on their minds.
Having a dream home isn’t even about the house anyway.