TALES FROM THE TRAILER PARK
Have you ever noticed they build trailer parks along the
side of freeways or railroad tracks? It has been rumored that trailer parks are built on the outskirts of towns as a first line of defense for tornadoes. Everyone knows those trailers either take flight or go down like a row of dominoes during
a tornado. All kidding aside, trailer park living is not for everyone but it does serve a purpose. If you desire to be the manager of a trailer park, a word of caution, it is not for the faint of heart.
There is a distinction between a trailer park and a mobile home park or community. In today’s world a mobile home park is often called a “manufactured housing community”. In reality, those homes are
not as mobile as you would believe. A double or triple wide must be split apart for the journey to its new home and then reassembled at the new destination. Most times there is a visible difference between a trailer park and a manufactured community.
Trailer parks represent the older style trailers that may encompass the years from the 1940’s through the 1970’s. Those types of trailers have difficulty finding a new park destination because of their older age.
Lynn and I managed both a trailer park and a manufactured housing community over a span of 30 years. There were challenges with both. I am going to explain to you some examples of some not so ordinary days
in the park management business.
PAUL THE PEST!
Over the years, I had dealt with many problem residents but Paul topped them all. He was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Nothing was as it appeared with Paul. Paul and his wife applied for residency
and purchased a home in the park in December of 2003. They moved into the park in January of 2004. At the time, I had been a widow since October 31, 2003 after having managed the park for 20 years with my late husband, Lynn. This was always
a team job with two persons, and now I was challenged with the daily operations of the park by myself. On the surface Paul seemed like a nice guy but looks can be deceiving. Paul knew I was vulnerable at that time and he tried to use it to his
advantage. You could never tell with Paul if what he said was fact or fiction. Within a few short months, Paul took on his own personal crusade to have me dismissed, removed, fired from my job………whatever he could make work!
For five (5) years I put up with his nonsense, his long letters and phone calls to my boss. Things got better for a short while and a Social Committee was formed. For many
years, I had put on all the social events in the park because I couldn’t find anyone who wanted to help. Paul jumped right in to the new social committee and things moved along very well. We even had our first ever July 4th decorated
vehicle parade around the park. I decorated the John Deere Turf-Gator that I used and we had bicycles, electric carts, wagons, etc. Paul lead the parade carrying the American Flag and it was very impressive with many residents coming out to watch.
That December I gave a party in my home for the Social Committee squeezing in 18 people. After that the committee had a falling out and Paul was back on his rampage to have me dismissed. For many years I told my boss that Paul does not tell the
truth. That fact finally surfaced and my boss said, you told me all along and I didn’t believe you, but now I do. Gee thanks boss! I got to the point that I tolerated Paul and he tolerated me. I knew that whenever I left, it would
be my decision and not his.
When the Social Committee was up and running, they decided to have a Chili Cook Off. The contestants would bring in their chili and the pots
would be numbered and no one would know who made which pot of chili. I decided to enter but kept that a secret. On the day of the Chili Cook Off, I made sure I brought in my crockpot early and no one saw me bring it. The residents were given
numbered cups to the corresponding chili containers to vote. I ASKED Paul and another resident to be the two judges. My chili was #4. After the votes were in and counted, Paul gave me the results and said well, Number 4 is the winner.
I put on my best grin and said, really? NUMBER 4 IS MINE.
Fast forward to the summer of 2009, my staff noticed things missing in the clubhouse, like sugar packets, napkins
from the coffee machine table and some items from the refrigerator. We had installed video cameras inside the clubhouse but never really used them. I told my assistant, Dan, to turn the cameras on when he left at 5 p.m. When you lock up the
clubhouse at 8 p.m. turn them off and check to see what is on the tape. It didn’t take long, there was Paul taking sugar packets and putting them under his hat. Taking napkins and checking out the refrigerator. We used the cameras over
a week period to see what he was up to. No doubt about it, he was the starring act. I put a note in the refrigerator telling him we knew he was taking stuff out and to please stop it. I stayed hidden in my office and here he came looking
in the refrigerator. It took him a bit to read the note which he tore up and threw in the garbage. By that time, I had silently approached the kitchen and was behind him before he knew it. He turned and said, so? I told him, so you
are busted! Caught in the act and we have it on tape. He repeatedly said, it wasn’t me, I don’t use sugar, I don’t use sugar, it’s not me! I said Paul, we have you on tape taking off your hat and putting the sugar
packets under your hat. He stated, that wasn’t the sugar, that was the napkins, duh! That was the last of Paul sneaking around in the clubhouse.
THE LADY AND MR. PICKLES
One of our older residents, Mr. Pickles, considered himself quite the lady’s man. He was a bartender at the nearby VFW Hall.
One night, a lady who took a liking to him finally got up the nerve to come over to visit him, she got the courage from the alcohol. She arrived at our front gate, opened her door to lean out to punch his code number to get in the gate and she hit the gas
pedal instead. Her car took off with a roar jumping across the lane and knocking down a 17 foot wide wrought iron gate, the exit gate. Her car continued up the wrong side of the street, hitting a small tree, where she lost her shoe and hurt her
foot. She continued on further to hit a big blue outgoing USPS mailbox in the center island and then made two left turns onto another street and ended up on the front lawn of my neighbor’s house. I ran outside to see what the noise was about
and Lynn followed. He walked up behind the car and about that time the backup lights went on and I shouted to Lynn to get out of the way. We managed to get the car stopped and the ignition turned off. Before the police arrived the woman kept
asking me, what’s going to happen, what’s going to happen…….I told her, I’m not quite sure. She was so upset and kept asking for Mr. Pickles and Lynn went to find him and bring him back. The first officer on scene
was a good friend of ours, Al Jones, with the CHP, his mother lived in the park. When Al arrived in his squad car I said, Al I lied to her when she asked me what was going to happen to her. Al said, what
does she think is going to happen, she’s going bye, bye with us. Mr. Pickles arrived and became agitated and loud. It was obvious he had been drinking as well. Al Jones told Lynn to take Mr. Pickles out of there before he got arrested.
Mr. Pickles was pickled too. The paramedics arrived and Officer Al told them, she’s going with us and we’ll make sure her foot is taken care of. It was apparent the only one who got lucky that night was Mr. Pickles, he didn’t
WERE THEY FILMING THE JERRY SPRINGER SHOW?
The wildest time ever
had me thinking we were trying out for our very own Jerry Springer Show. You have to pay close attention to this one and you need a scorecard to keep track of the players. This actually happened and not a bit is made up……you could
never make something like this up…..trust me.
The concrete masonry wall in front of the park was about 1,800 feet long and was always taking a hit by graffiti artists. It was very discouraging
to find their newest artwork on the wall. Dan and Matt, my two maintenance men, were always on the watch for new artwork or better yet to catch the culprits. One afternoon I was in the office and a man came in saying he had been driving by out
front and there was a kid outside painting on the wall right now. I got on my phone and told Dan to check it out. I told my office assistant, Tina, I was going out to check also. When I arrived Dan had driven the company truck right up over
the sidewalk to the fence and had caught the kid painting on the fence. The kid had tried to run and Matt had tackled him and was holding him down on the ground. The guy who had originally told us about the kid painting on the wall was now concerned
we were manhandling the kid. As I was driving up I saw a group of about 8 teenagers coming toward the commotion and about 3 other cars had stopped and people were out of their vehicles crowded around.
the road on the other side of the railroad tracks (yes, they always build trailer parks by railroad tracks or along freeways) underneath the overpass were 2 men watching the whole scenario unfold. One was a man on a bicycle, who rode across the street
and joined in. He and the original man who notified us became engaged in an argument over the boy after the boy cursed at the man who had notified us in the first place. The next thing I know the guy on the bike with long flowing hair, who says
he is blind in one eye, is on the ground rolling around exchanging blows with the original guy. You could tell the bike guy had been drinking. I call Tina and tell her to call 911. Things get worse and soon we have about 12 people milling
around and some pushing and shoving and lots of shouting.
No police…..I wait and wait and finally I call 911 and tell the woman to hurry up and get someone there since the group is getting larger
that is fighting. When I tell her this is our second call, she tells me I can be in trouble for abusing the 911 system……..REALLY?? A short time later a motorcycle policeman shows up and then
finally 2 Sheriff patrol cars and a CHP officer. They get everyone under control and separated. The two combatants are both bleeding and the blind in one eye, bike guy is complaining because the other guy ripped his shirt off.
It turns out the two culprits are two teenage brothers, the other one was in the group of about 8 teenagers milling around when I arrived. The traffic is really jammed up on the street and this older woman comes driving
up to the curb where I am standing. I ask her to please move along so as not to cause an accident. She says she is looking for her grandson, I ask her if that is her grandson in the backseat of the patrol car and she answers yes that is him. Another
car pulls up and a man gets out, it’s the boy’s father who has just been released from prison. At this point, the police are asking me what happened and what would I like done. The police talk to the father and find out who is his parole
officer, the cops are familiar with the parole officer. I tell the police, I want the fence painted, the entire side the boys painted on and I want the two boys to do the painting and then I will be happy. We will even supply the paint and the
rollers. The dad says okay, I can be over here in the morning to start painting the wall. I say NO, you are not doing the painting your sons will be painting the wall. All are in agreement and the police tell the boys and their father they
will be watching the situation. People start to leave and the blind in one eye, drunk on the bicycle guy leaves still complaining about who is going to replace his shirt. You could not make up something as crazy as this!
In the meantime, I am sunburned from standing out in the hot sun. I had to take Dan to Wal-Mart to replace his glasses that the kid painting the wall tore off of Dan during the scuffle and the glasses broke.
So we are off to Wal-Mart and it’s another crazy day at the trailer park.
HAVE YOU SEEN THAT NAKED MAN?
Some days were more memorable than others and here is an example of just one of many. One morning a memorial service for one of our residents was being held in the clubhouse. I was there listening
to the service when a woman resident came in to get my attention. It seems while she was walking her dog in front of the park down at the end of the property, she encountered a naked man standing beside a makeshift tent up on the embankment. He
saw her and she hurried away to get back into the park. I told her I would check it out. I drove out in the truck to the end of the property and there he was……naked indeed. He definitely saw me and I made a hasty retreat back
to the office to call the Sheriff’s Dept. I told the dispatcher about the resident’s complaint and that I had verified it myself. He asked me, “Did you get a good look at him, can you describe him and did he have any distinguishing
marks or tattoos”I said, he had long hair and was naked, could you please send an officer out? They did send someone out and they rousted him and he moved on down the road but before the Sheriff’s
arrived, he walked into the park fully clothed. He was probably looking for those two women who he thought might have expressed an interest in him.
BIG BUSTED BERTHA
Several weeks after the naked man incident, we received a phone complaint about a car speeding around the park with a young man and woman
in the vehicle. We stepped outside the office to check it out and here comes the car. We flagged down the car and asked the two what was their purpose in the park since we had received complaints about their speeding. The young woman immediately
jumped out of the car with a bad attitude. Her boyfriend followed along behind her trying to get her to calm down.
She was a large woman and her chest was even
larger. She was immediately up in Lynn’s face….well as close as she could get to him, pointing her finger and cursing at us. She decided to use her chest as a weapon and kept shoving Lynn with her chest……..he was trying
to stay out of her way. I got on my cell phone and called for a Sheriff’s deputy. The two knew they were in trouble and jumped in their car and sped away out of the park. A short time later, two Sheriff’s cars arrived. They
asked what was happening and we explained. When they got to the question of what did she assault your husband with? I was quite indignant and told them…her chest, her very large chest! I could tell right away, they were impressed that
they would have the goofiest story of the day to tell their cohorts……or maybe they were the same deputies that responded to the naked man incident a few weeks earlier and wondered about my description of…..he has long hair. Anyway,
you never knew what the day would bring, good, bad or ugly.
I hope you have enjoyed these unusual stories from my past.