Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Trailerites in New York by Margaret Ullrich, part 3, Transplanting


Getting rid of the chives really improved our lives.
This morning we saw a goldfinch in the bird bath.
Never saw one when we had chives.
Who knew they were so picky?


Remember how I said that sometimes it feels like I'm living in an eternal rerun?
Well, this afternoon I watched an old favorite on Turner Classic Movies.

It's a 1954 comedy starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez.
It was directed by Vincente Minelli.
The plot is simple:
Lucy and Desi are newlyweds.
Their new marriage seems headed for disaster when they decide to buy a trailer home.

This movie was one of the major influences on my life.
No, really, it was.


Back in the 50s I had attended a Catholic school which was run by Dominican nuns.
My parents sent me there because we were immigrants.
They were terrified that I'd pick up American ideas in the public school.

We learned about the Catholic religion every day.
Obviously the kids in public school did not.
To make up for this lack, the Catholic kids in the public school hiked over to St. Fidelis to get a dose of religion every week.

Now the nuns had to make room for the public school kids every week.
They couldn't just toss us out on the streets every Wednesday afternoon.
We had religion, but the nuns knew better than to let us loose on the neighborhood.
Their faith in their influence on us went just so far.
We were kids, after all.
They trusted us about as far as they could throw us.


The solution was to herd us into the school's basement and show us a movie.
No popcorn, but still it was a free technicolor - usually - movie every week.
We saw quite an assortment:
Okay, they weren't first run films, but they were real movies.

Another movie we saw was The Long, Long Trailer.
I don't know why, but that film stuck in my head.
Traveling across the continent while hauling a house really appealed to me.
It seemed like the right thing to do.
Maybe in an earlier life I'd been a turtle.

All the problems Lucy and Ricky had didn't scare me a bit.
One day I just knew I was going to haul trailer across North America.

And in 1972, that's exactly what I was doing.
More or less.

Okay, forty years ago we were stuck in a lot behind the service station in Kingston, New York, waiting for our car to be repaired.
But, without The Long, Long Trailer would we even have made it that far?

All in all we'd had a good night's sleep.
I called Ma to let her know how we were doing.
She'd insisted on us giving her a daily call.
She'd expected that day's call to be from Albany, not Kingston.
But still, we were out of College Point and on our way to Vancouver.

Just like in the movie, the mechanic gave Paul driving lessons.
He explained that, when hauling a rig, one should drive at 50 miles per hour.
Reason? So we wouldn't be blown off the road when a truck passed.  Again.

Just like Lucy and Ricky we made do with what we had.
We didn't have an electric hookup so we used candles.
While her trailer was in the woods at an angle, Lucy had tried to cook eggs.
While our trailer was in the lot and leveled, I did cook eggs.
We weren't big yuks, but we were managing.
We ended the evening playing checkers by candlelight.


Yes, even a light comedy movie can influence a life.
Nora Ephron died yesterday.
Who can forget:
I'll have what she's having.
Who knows what affect her films had on people?

Thank you, Lucy, Desi and Nora.

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