The Trailerhood


When I got divorced seven years ago, I needed to find a place to live and at the time I had a 175lb St. Bernard with me and most landlords were a little hesitant even after I explained that he was truly a gentle giant. After looking at apartments, houses, fixer uppers, I had the pleasure of having dinner with my cousin, who has enough money to live anywhere he wants and pay cash for it, but chooses to live in a very nice mobile home park in a brand new single wide mobile home. Being my Godfather also, he told me that I too should look into a mobile home as they’re very energy efficient, well made, and inexpensive. I was hesitant but as time marched on I had to make a decision soon. Pittsfield offered nothing for me and so I widened my search.

My search led me to my current home in Stephentown NY. The guy who owned the park at the time showed me a beautiful double wide manufactured home that was only seven years old and had been owned by a single guy who had sold it due to medical issues. As I walked through the house I was amazed, brand new kitchen, appliances, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, huge living room, tons of land, tow nice decks, and a carport. Let me digress here by saying that most people have a preconceived notion of what a mobile home, manufactured home, or the old term ‘trailer’ is and most of these are due to their ignorance. It’s like thinking that phones still have rotary dials, or television sets are black and white, everything changes with technology.

Back in the 50’s and 60’s these houses were first called trailer’s as they were small and could be pulled behind a car or truck and were tiny and made of aluminum. As time and technology went on, the term was changed to mobile home and finally manufactured home. People ask me stupid questions, like, “Can you live in your house year round? Do you have full size appliances? Can you hook it up to your truck?” My house is just that, it’s a house; it’s not a camping trailer. It’s 1100 square feet and last year I converted the carport to a garage so now it includes an 18x20 garage. I have a lot of land, enough that it takes me an hour to mow my lawn on a riding lawnmower. Last year I had an energy audit conducted by New York State and the results were that the house was very energy efficient and my heating costs average only $700 per year. I have a full line of full size appliances such as washer, dryer, dishwasher, etc and no I don’t pull it behind my Jeep!

The main difference between manufactured homes and other homes is that a) they don’t have a basement and sit on a cement slab and b) you don’t own the land they sit on you pay lot rent. I own my house, but pay lot rent on the land each month. I love living here as it’s out in the country, quiet, with a lot of land, extremely energy efficient. People that come to my house are amazed and yes I’ve even caught a glimpse of envy in their eyes when they see how nice it is and how inexpensive compared to their albatross around their necks. I’m all about simplicity, frugality, and living lean and mean and my manufactured home meets and exceeds those values.

As I said my cousin who has enough money to live anywhere and in any type of house he chooses and is very well off financially chooses to live in a manufactured home. He and I share many of the same beliefs and outlooks and I’ve trusted his advice on many things in my life all these years as that’s what Godfather’s are for. When you see a guy who could live anywhere and he lives in a manufactured home and you see how nice it is and how efficient it is, you take notice. Sure there are some versions of the old trailerhood with tin trailers from the 50’s and crowded parks that evoke the old stereotypes just as there are old 1950’s and 1960’s cars still on the road but they don’t represent all cars. So the next time you’re near the trailerhood stop and say hi and check out how nice these places really are!