Lead photo: Ariel view of the Trailer Court
Today’s guest post comes from Barbara in Robbinsdale.
In 1958, my dad figured out how he could get his Masters Degree and become a guidance counselor (and leave behind teaching high school woodshop and mechanical drawing). There was a program at Colorado State (then) College in Greeley where you could complete a Masters over three summers. Since many of the students had families, dorms were not practical; CSC provided a “trailer court” if you could come up with a trailer.
So here’s where I spent a chunk of my childhood – in a 16-foot vintage Kit Carson Travel Trailer the folks bought used for under $1,000. It had two fold down beds – one from a couch (folks just kept it down and put their home mattress on it) and one converted from the dinette for my sister and me (ages 6 and 10 the first summer) – a kitchenette, closet and other cubbies (no bathroom – that’s what the community wash-house was for). The ice box wasn’t so hot – tiny and drippy and inefficient – so a few weeks into the first summer, Dad scored the vintage refrigerator you see on the pallet in the photo. We didn’t bring much but necessities, but the folks were smart enough to fit in our bikes.
Turned out the original trailer court was full, and the “overflow court” where we landed was a gravel parking lot between CSC’s football and baseball fields. This was Kid Heaven, as the football grandstand was our castle, the baseball dugouts were low enough on one side to be climbed on, and the ticket booths were unlocked – available for a play house, hide-out, and selling stuff. We kids created our own newspaper, played hearts at Doug M.’s converted school bus in the evening, got books from the bi-weekly bookmobile that stopped at the end of the Court. By the third summer I was 12, and had my first jobs: babysitting (heck, my mom was right across the lot), and some ironing in the washhouse.
The second year we knew more, and did as everyone else did – laid a length of linoleum down on our “yard”, placed a long table right outside the door for the summer kitchen (the electric fry pan, toaster, and coffee maker), and basically lived outside. Called it “Okee Hollow.” The only time we were in the trailer was for sleep, except Dad who would study in there if it wasn’t too hot.
And a little cloud passed over every afternoon, showered us and settled the dust, and then moved on.
My sis and I spent time on campus practicing in the piano rooms of the music building, while Mom sang in the Summer Chorus. Yes, she left us on our own for a whole hour!) Wednesday nights on campus was Family Fun Night, with an outdoor movie (i.e. The Seven Voyages of Sinbad), concessions, and games. Some weekends we took day trips to Denver to Elitch’s Amusement Park or the Natural History Museum, or Estes Park in the Rockies. We have home movies of Mom typing one of Dad’s papers on a picnic table next to the Big Thompson River, as Sue and I dangled our feet from a boulder in the icy stream.
These three summers were golden – we called them the best summers of our lives.
What has been your best summer?