Sitting out on my front porch, sipping a cup of coffee, perched on an upturned five-gallon bucket, I find myself reflecting on what it means to be trailer trash. The rain is coming down through cracks in the tin roof, which was poorly put together by some tenant before I came to live here. It falls on the brim of my hat and streams down to the warped 2×6’s that make up the floor. Inside, my wife is doing her best to keep the toilet clean. It’s bottom of the line, chipped, and showing it’s age.
My trailer sits at the bottom of a hill, wedged between two other trailers. It’s the oldest, the smallest, and the cheapest. When I moved in, the walls were soft, it smelled like dirt, and the roaches owned more of the place than we did. Slowly, my wife and I rebuilt the walls, cleaned out the filth, and vacated the Turkish squatters. We put our blood, sweat and tears into this house to make it a home. When it rains, the dirt around our trailer turns to mud, and little streams collect in the driveway. Past the driveway, across the road is the horse pasture where swallows dive in the dying evening light, and down the hill in the back, past the fire pit, is the little forest where I collect squirrels for the pot from time to time.
We are the forgotten lower class, struggling to keep a traditional lifestyle alive and claw our way up in the world. My wife stays at home, and will be having a baby soon. I bring home a paycheck, she turns it into supper. Most people would call us white trash, or trailer trash, and I’m not so sure they’re wrong. We fit the bill. But I have no reason to be ashamed of it. We may live on the low end of the socio-economic scale, but the folks around us are our people. They and I belong to a proud tradition of scraping out a living in a system that hates us, and having the backbone to say “What of it?”
White Pride, Single Wide.
-By Daniel Ess