Home Is Where the Heart Is

By Betty

The first home was a fifteen-foot house trailer. Made of aluminum, it never needed painting. At one end was a full-size bed – wall-to-wall, it was – a window at the foot, a door at the side for exit in an emergency. Blankets were stuffed between the bed and the two outside walls to keep one warm.

The bathroom had all the necessities, except a tub. The wall across were all built-in closets – not room for much, but we had not much — a stove in the middle of the space – a sink squeezed in behind it. A sofa of sorts, a table that pulled out from the wall with one chair attached. A window above the sofa and one on each side. A heater of sorts, for the coldest days. We never knew it was crowded. It was home for four years!

The home was parked in a Denver trailer park for 2 years. I taught in a wealthy district where the principal supported the staff; supplies were always available, parents were involved. My husband completed his Masters degree, everyday accompanied by our cocker spaniel who quietly sat under his chair in the classroom. At graduation, he was the only dog awarded a graduation diploma.

The trailer home followed behind our car to Boulder, Colorado where we parked on a riverbank in a low mountain canyon. My husband worked on hid Doctorate accompanied by our cocker spaniel. I taught in a rural school, vastly different than my Denver experience. We enjoyed our two years there. But, my salary and my husband’s income from his lab job didn’t meet our expenses. Pride or wisdom, he refused help – gifts or loans.

We packed up the house trailer, attached it to the car, and journeyed north and west to Alaska. No money, no plan, no good sense, we tempted fate and enjoyed the journey. There we parked in the wilderness among other wonders. Spent two years teaching there. A fabulous time as the students were a variety of cultures – the military children from the air base, the Eskimo children who walked two or three miles each way to come to school, and the children of wanderers, hoping Alaska would become home.

Anchorage, Alaska home (1951) Mr. Dithers, cocker spaniel companion

Anchorage, Alaska home (1951) Mr. Dithers, cocker spaniel companion

After two years we sold the house trailer, took a working boat south along the coast, drove south to California, and home to Minnesota. During those two weeks, the car was our home.

Pontiac made it to Alaska (1948)

Pontiac made it to Alaska (1948)

pup-tent4

Summer home... Alaska, 1951

Our second home was a 24 foot house trailer, not too different from the first – but roomier (we had night guests, on occasion). Back to Alaska for a year – we taught, we camped, we hiked, we skied, and one day we said, “Enough!” – sold the house trailer, lived in a pup tent en route back to Minnesota.

Rocky Mountains (1950)

Rocky Mountains (1950)

Home for a year (Sept, 1948)

Home for a year (Sept, 1948)

On to our third home – a cheap housing unit on the south side of Tucson. Looked around and decided, “We’ll settle down” — bought a house in Winterhaven in 1953 and have been there ever since –

… Except the summers were HOT – too HOT. We packed up our car with the pup tent, two down sleeping bags, a two burner camp stove, an ice chest filled with ice, cheese, fruit, a card box with crackers, peanut butter, and Hershey bars – one cocker spaniel, dog food and the water dish, a camera and film, and my journal with its pen. ‘Twas our home for one summer. Rainy days I spent at the local library, cocker under my chair. My husband found work as a park ranger.

The following summer we were housed in a cabin in the woods – no utilities: no electricity, no water – but it was home from several summers. We enjoyed it.

For us, HOME is truly where the heart is!

Rocky Mountain Park, Summer 1958

Rocky Mountain Park, Summer 1958

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One response to “Home Is Where the Heart Is

  1. Betty- Who needs to backpack in Europe to find adventure!! I hope Curt and I can follow in you and Cork’s footsteps when we retire and hit the road. Only we will have a few more aches and pains to deal with. Maybe a pop up trailer instead of a pup tent! When we are ready to hit the road I will be at your house with pen and paper to take good notes. And by the way, I can really feel the love and joy that infused your home in Winterhaven for so many years when I come by for a visit.

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