Good Morning, Vietnam
My late father was a house prestidigitator. He could turn anything into a home. Looking back, I realize it was his presence and demeanor, more than anything, that made 4 walls feel like a sanctuary. To a little girl, however, it was just good old daddy magic. Most of us can live an entire lifetime and never know anyone who moved a house, releasing a house from its moorings and physically relocating it to a different place. My father did this twice. I entered the world in 1967 and waltzed into a used singlewide trailer on a 3 acre tract of land in an unincorporated Bermuda Triangle of real estate that was not quite anywhere. We lived in that trailer until I was 4. A couple of years prior, my dad was in Pleasant Grove buying supplies for the laundromat he owned. That’s how I remember the story. Maybe he was grabbing a burger from Griff’s or taking us to eat at his favorite restaurant, Charco Broilers. Regardless, while driving down Buckner Boulevard, he noticed a large sign tacked onto the front of an empty church: FREE – TO BE MOVED. Daddy had the brain of an engineer and the passion of an academy award winning actor. He had the church moved to our corner of paradise and spent 2 years morphing it into a home. Seven gables turned into 3. The stained glass windows were removed. Salvage materials were used on the interior. Who wouldn’t want red indoor/outdoor carpet or blue paneled walls? I don’t remember trailer life. I just remember the childhood that dreams are made of in that church turned house, with a mother who taught me to sew and a father who cast spells that made odd mismatched things look beautiful and new. The trailer became our own self-storage unit. I was terrified of it. “DD, that ____ is in the trailer. Will you go get it?” The trailer meant weird smells & mice. The trailer was where the failed magic tricks lived: broken hair salon dryer chairs & old commercial meat slicers from Daddy’s bacon slicing phase. I was not a trailer fan.
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