Well, I guess we’ll leave the world of flash fiction and return to those good ol’ days of yesteryear.
In 1954, while the Billuni family and the Holden family—all 8 of us—were living on Euclid Ave in El Centro, Uncle Ernie heard from a neighbor that the city had long-range plans to widen the road where the Pioneer Trailer Park was located. There was also a small house on the property, and it was very close to the street. Uncle Ernie always had a good nose for a bargain, and he realized the city would have to buy the house in order to widen the road, and they might pay a pretty penny for it. So Dad and Uncle Ernie decided to buy the trailer park, and all eight of us moved into that tiny house.
I’m sure it was a struggle for the parents, but it was a new adventure for four boys aged 3, 4, 5, and 8. The two dads bought the two moms a new car to haul us boys around. Well, I probably shouldn’t call it a “new” car; it was a 1939 Pontiac four-door, and we just called it the “jalopy.” The photo below is a “reasonable facsimile” of our jalopy, except where the headlights sat on the front fenders, there were just blank spots—no lights at all! It was okay, though; we didn’t need to go out at night.
Mom and Auntie Honey drove themselves to Red Cross First Aid classes, which were sure to come in handy while they rode herd on us four “wild Indians.” They drove us out to Sunbeam Lake, just a few miles down the road by the little town of Seeley, for glorious days of swimming and picnicking.
While we weren’t playing or swimming, we were always trying to make a buck by selling watermelons off an old flatbed trailer Dad and Uncle Ernie had promoted. They would go to the local farmers’ packing sheds to buy the culls that couldn’t be shipped, and we would sell them for 25 or 50 cents apiece. Each one got “plugged” before it was sold too. Imagine trying to do that in a supermarket these days!
More on the Pioneer Trailer Park adventures next week!