Am I trailer trash?

My fiance’s family have offered to sell us their mobile home, but my best friend and sister say it’s trashy. What should I do?

There’s nothing trashy about a trailer, says our elder — my parents lived in one.

Dear EWC

So me and my fiance have been living together for over a year and are planning to get married shortly. His family has offered to sell us their trailer which is fairly nice. That would mean by the age of 22 I would own my first car and home. But my best friend and sister think we shouldn’t do it. They don’t want me to be some trashy “trailer wife”. I just don’t know what to do.

Granny Nora replies

First, congratulations on your soon-to-be marriage. That is very exciting. I hope you will both be very happy.

It is very generous of your fiance’s family to offer to sell you the trailer. They want you to have a good start, and that’s wonderful. If you like the trailer, I would seriously consider the offer.
I find it quite appalling, actually, that anyone would be so narrow-minded to think that because someone lives in a trailer they are “trash.” That’s a very prejudiced attitude. There are many fine people who live in mobile homes.

When we start out in life, we don’t start out with $100,000/year jobs, Lincoln Continentals, and two-story, five-bedroom, three-bathroom homes. Often our lives don’t end that way either. The mobile home would be a very good start for a young couple. That doesn’t mean you’ll have to live there for the rest of your life, but it is a good start.

My parents owned a three-bedroom, two-bath home when I was growing up. After I moved out, my dad was very ill and couldn’t take care of the upkeep on the house, or the yard. Mom had to go back to work because he could no longer work, so she was having trouble keeping up with the housework. They sold the house and bought a double-wide mobile home. Best decision ever! Mom had more cupboard and closet space in the mobile home than she ever had in the house. Dad put rocks and shrubs in the yard that were easy care. My younger sister was 15 years old at the time, so she had a bedroom and huge walk-in closet all her own until she went away to college. After she left, the trailer was still manageable for my parents without worrying about so much upkeep. So, while you will begin in a trailer for a “start,” my parents finished in a trailer for a good “end.”

Frankly, thinking about my parents being considered “trashy” by anyone puts a bit of a fire in my gut. They were wonderful people who did a lot of good in the world. Dad spent 26 months in the South Pacific during World War II, while Mom worked and worried back home. Then Dad was called back during the Korean war (after they had two children, my older sister, and brother). They were kind, gentle souls. They were generous and loving. I think if I ever heard anyone talking about them as “trailer trash,” my family would have to hold me back from giving someone a punch in the nose.

So, my point is here, what do you care what your sister or anyone else thinks? You and your fiance make this decision based on what is best for you as a couple. I’m not there, so I don’t know what the right decision is for you. However, do not make the decision based on any silly prejudice from an outside party. That would be a mistake.

One word of caution, however. If you buy this mobile home from your husband’s family, make sure that everything is in writing and legal. Don’t get caught in a family feud later because of misunderstandings about the price, payments, etc. Go through a professional and make sure everything is in writing, legal, and you have all the i’s dotted and the t’s crossed. There is nothing worse than getting off to a bad start with family — especially when it concerns money.

I hope this helps.

Letter #: 430665
Category: Self-Improvement

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