Stories of Kindness from Around the World

Perspectives


--by ericgalatas, posted Feb 19, 2015
I opened up a series of e-mails this morning telling me that I had been tagged in a photo on Facebook by my brother, there were numerous comments.

When I opened up the photo, it was breathtaking. The caption read: "Trailer Park Tuesdays" and the photo was a snapshot of my mom and dad sitting on lawn chairs, each holding a boy on their laps, one is me circa 4 years old, the other my brother, 1 or 2. We're captured au naturale in front of our mobile home. My father, in cut-off shorts and a t-shirt, holds a cigarette in one hand as I lay sprawling, my face so dirty it looks like I'd been in a rumble. My mom and brother are much more presentable, but in the backdrop you can clearly make out an old oil barrel that had haphazardly been converted into a BBQ pit. 

I couldn't stop laughing at the picture, it was, as a complete composition, something so terrifically stereotype, and brilliant, like a working-class American Gothic. I forwarded the photo to my mom, alarmingly, as a joke, telling her what her other son had done.  Mom responded atypically, she rarely cares what others may think in judgment, saying that she never thought we were trailer trash. 

I'm grateful to see this old photo again. I'm grateful to have spent the first 8 years of my life in a mobile home with the people in that photo. I'm grateful for the experience of living in the richness of a society that can consider these circumstances poor, though we were poor by comparison to others living in a country that has amassed incomprehensible wealth. I'm grateful for the days when I would be allowed to "help" the engineers and the freight truck drivers navigate the difficult job of parking a new trailer entering the neighborhood. I'm grateful to the child who admonished me for walking around the park eating an ice cream cone saying that it's rude to eat in front of others. I'm grateful for the secrets shared with other kids underneath our trailers, hidden, and inside those square laundry posts, enclosed by bed sheets drying in the sun. I'm grateful for the cornfield adjacent to the trailer park that I could have sworn was the same field from the opening of Sesame Street and so tried to find my way there and discovered very different neighborhoods on the other side. I'm grateful that my parents had the smarts to select a home we could take with us when we moved to the next air-force base assignment, and who managed to care for us and love us even during some very trying times in their marriage.

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Readers Comments

carolecrotty wrote: I love your story. Full of so many threads and memories. Poetry to my eyes.
Michele Purcell wrote: I love your story! Took me back in time as well. It is great that you loved your childhood and all the things that came along with it. Obviously it made you grow into a even greater guy! :)
Thanks for shaing.
sandyremillar wrote: I can see where the picture does not seem becoming, yet you have given it the richness it deserves. All the good memories that have made you who you are today! Good learning, great wisdom. :}}}
jfuller wrote: This is beautifully written!
amazement wrote: It seems that they provided you with everything you needed to grow into the wise man you have become.
lkleg wrote: I love this picture but mostly i love the story behind it. And i love that you are grateful for your childhood.
patjoshig wrote: Cool! Do you remember being a super-hero? (we made it, we still are! ) :-)
debbe530 wrote: What a great memory.

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