The other night, I dreamed of the trailer park.
It was weird; I was going for a run from our trailer towards the outside of the park. It was nice outside, but I saw some people as I turned onto the main street in the middle of it, but I went wide of them for social distancing purposes. I got to Delores Drive, the thoroughfare that led up to the highway, and I stopped to look at the Stop’n’Go which was a small convenience store, but it might have had a couple of gas pumps. Instead of the Stop’n’Go, a little plaza stood there with a Domino’s Pizza. Suddenly, it was snowy, and I was crawling on the shoulder of Delores Drive headed toward the school bus stop or perhaps up the hill–it was a big hill and not fun to drive on in the snow and ice. So I heard; I was too young to pay attention to real life at thirteen years old.
So I decided to take a spin around the old homestead in Google maps.
This is the entrance to the trailer park. Back when I lived there, the sign was a big wood-carved sign that misspelled it as Siesta Manor Mobil Home Park, although someone tried to squeeze an E in there, but it was far smaller than the other letters. The lot behind the sign was green space with some playground equipment and a swimming pool. It looks as though they’ve filled that area with other pads.
Looks like the pool is still there. Strangely enough, I think I only went to that pool once or twice in the three years I lived there. I might have gone to Noyes Park’s pool in Milwaukee the same number of times in that span.
Even though the number says 108, I’m pretty sure this pad is the one our trailer sat on. Third from the main road. In the first lived a woman and then her son; the son sold my brother Playboy magazines and later gave us a dog we called Buddy, but the dog had been abused and kept us in terror–and took the eye of our Pekingeseish dog in a fight–before my mother had enough and divested the family of the dog whilst I was in college. The second trailer housed an old man who somehow got permission from my mother to let us go with him to Portage Des Souix (about an hour and a half away) to help clean out another trailer of his. Old Frank was a messy, dirty man, but I guess my brother befriended him. On the other side of us was the Hittler trailer, of course. Across the street where Jimmy’s dad lived, next to Cathy, the woman with the double-wide who became a realtor and sold my mother the house down the gravel road. On the other side of Cathy was a guy who worked for the government whom the FBI interviewed when my mother was going for security clearance; he came over right away to let her know the FBI was canvassing the neighborhood.
I’d say it hasn’t changed since the last time I took a look at it, but the image is dated 2013, so of course the 2013 image hasn’t changed. I notice, though, that they built all those pads at the front of the trailer park but had a lot of empty pads in the interior.
Clearly, the little business plaza which featured the Stop’n’Go has not fared so well. In addition to the little convenience store at the left, the building at the right held business offices for a liquid propane dealer and, briefly, something called “Hot Tub Haven” that was open until 2am and, in a stunning turn of events, involved prostitution.
Across the street, we used to stand and wait for the bus in front of a beauty college that stood at the entrance to Brookside Estates, another mobile home park. What’s really weird is that you can see the old building in one spot in Google Maps as you’re moving south on Delores Drive:
That image is dated 2017; in other images dated 2019 which you see for most other spots on Delores Drive, the building is gone:
Google Maps is kind of like my own memory; I think this is true, and sometimes, something can corroborate it, but most of the time, in the 21st century, it’s unbelievable and unproveable, and those who could attest to it don’t remember or are dead.
Atop the hill, the old U Gas is now a Circle K.
On Sunday mornings, my sainted mother would often stop at the U Gas to pick up a dozen gas station doughnuts for us. I remember not being able to afford canvases or art supplies, so I’d cut the corrugated cardboard doughnut boxes to be the canvases for my extra credit poor water color paintings. The U Gas also had a couple video games in rotation, and although I didn’t get into Out Run, all three of us in Triple N Lawns blew all of the money we’d earned and our banked gas money on Rampage one afternoon.
Across from the U Gas was the flea market for a long time until they tried to develop it. They built a Bonanza restaurant deep into the lot and had a sign that said Now Leasing Plaza 30 which must have been up for a decade. Eventually, they put in a mobile home lot. In the last thirty years, though, it has been developed.
I sure missed the flea market, though. A kid with a couple of bucks in his pocket could climb that hill on a Saturday morning and find any number of wonders.
At any rate, man, that was almost 35 years ago. This is the point where I’m supposed to say, “It doesn’t seem like it!” My beautiful wife says something along those lines when we drive through the Missouri State campus where she went to school. And maybe it wasn’t for her, as she has not aged. But for me, yeah, that was a long time ago.