Please don’t judge us too harshly

Letter from Dar Sharp

Mobile homes – December 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

Hello Quillens:

The Dewey Linze article [p. 2, October 1999] struck a chord. I am a closet trailer court dweller. I grew up in trailer houses because Dad was working on most of the dams along the Columbia River. Like gypsies we would travel from job to job, often keeping the same neighbors from Trailer Park to Trailer Park. We always owned our home. Wasn’t much but it was ours. When I left home the first thing I did was buy a small trailer and park it next to the college I was attending. I have never rented and I’m proud of that. When you rent you are just paying someone else’s mortgage.

Living in tight quarters teaches minimalism. Now I live in a huge house with a basement and real wood walls and no axles and I wander from room to room wondering what am I doing here? Who needs all this space? I love my house but not to any greater degree than any of the mobile homes I’ve lived in.

Trailer houses are affordable. Anybody can own one. I actually see them in the free column of the classifieds from time to time. There’s nothing more affordable than free.

The truth is that I have never been fussy about what I live in. The view from the window is always more important. Put me in a pit house at the foot of Mount Blanca and I ‘ll be happy as a hog in mud.

Which brings me to the final issue. Not only do I like trailer houses, which probably puts me several rungs down the evolutionary ladder in some people ‘s minds, but I am that bane of Colorado Central philosophy … an absentee property owner. I confess. I own 11 acres that butt up against Highway 160 at the base of Mount Blanca. We’re talking subdivision here. Did you just wince?

I read your magazine (and The Last Ranch, Colorado’s Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Soul Like A River, etc.) to keep me informed about events and issues in the Valley. I try to visit our place once a year. When I retire it will be more often, but I have no plans to improve the property in any way. I will just park my travel trailer for a week or two then vanish without a trace. And when I am there I won’t be thinking about Gary Boyce or trophy homes in the hills or greed-driven subdivision developments. I will be smelling the creosote after a summer thunderstorm, watching the blazing red sun peek out from a corner of Blanca at sunrise, and straining my eyes to catch sight of the pronghorn herd that seems to be caretaking our property.

The San Luis Valley has tremendous spiritual value for me. I keep pictures on my wall at work to remind me that such a place exists. I do not take it for granted at all, as appears may be the case for many of the people who actually live there. I suspect other absentee owners may feel the same.

Lastly, although I am a self-confessed trailer court dweller, don’t judge us too harshly. I don’t expect you to embrace us as one of your own, but we are not the enemy.

And please don’t cut off my subscription to Colorado Central. You guys amaze me. You write with such passion and intelligence and abundance. I enjoy every issue. There … now can we be friends again?

Dar Sharp

Port Orchard, Wash.