Monday, February 17, 2014

Part Five: Trailer Potatoes

As I stated in his first post, once weekly I plan to feature a guest writer, my husband. He has been painstakingly writing down the stories of his childhood to share them with his 9 year old niece. I wanted her to know what kind of childhood her beloved Uncle was able to enjoy. While enjoying them myself I thought these are so much fun to read, why not share them? So here are the short missives of his memories of growing up in wilds of Florida during the 1950's and 1960's. They're packed with misadventures, romance, and all the confusing things that can happen in our youth. Even though his hometown of Jacksonville is a big city with over a million residents now, during his childhood it was several small communities surrounded by countryside.

This is his story.

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Trailer Potatoes
by Steven R. Hudson

As I've mentioned in past missives, Grandma Cootie and Uncle Bill often found themselves living in unusual circumstances. Such was the case in the summer of 1954. I was 6 at the time and we, that is Mom, Dad and I were headed to Ft Pierce. I was going to stay with Grandma for a week while Mom and Dad took a short vacation. I guess all young parents need a break, a chance to be together and relive the halcyon days of newlyweds. This would be the fist time I had ever been apart from my mom and dad for an extended period. Mom kept telling me how much fun I would have being with Grandma, all the fun things I would do during my visit. Mom told me about the trailer they were living in and how exciting it would be staying in a travel trailer for a week.

We arrived late afternoon and as soon as I saw the trailer I was excited. It was an Air Stream, it's polished aluminum skin reflected the glow of the setting sun. Rivets adorned the seams of it's fluid, aircraft style body. Enormous Sunflowers had been planted along the trailers sides and their disc shaped blooms towered above my head. Uncle Bill and Grandma had placed the trailer on Grammody's  home lot as a temporary place while they waited to move to a permanent residence. Mom and Dad said their goodbyes. I watched them drive away. A week seems so long when you're only 6.

After the initial fascination of trailer life had started to wane, in other words, about a day, I was getting bored and homesick. There was little to do to hold my interest outside of chasing lizards and catching insects in Grammody's yard. There were no other kids around my age and Grandma was busy each day with her usual chores. Grandma, in an effort to brighten my dour attitude, told me that next morning she was going to prepare something special for breakfast. That would be nice I thought. Grandma was such a good cook.

When I woke next morning there were the usual, wonderful smells coming
from the small two burner range. Coffee perking and bacon frying in the pan. Grandma was busy peeling potatoes and chopping onions. Now I had never heard of having potatoes for breakfast before. Grits, toast and bacon were the only sides that accompanied eggs, maybe ham or fried fish in place of bacon, but potatoes? I sat at the table with my head in my hands, not sure if potatoes were anything special for breakfast. Grandma finished cooking the potatoes , made toast and fried some eggs. I sat there staring at the plate."What are these potatoes called", I asked. "Why these are Trailer Potatoes", said Grandma, "only people who live in trailers make them and that's why they are so special". That is so neat I thought as I devoured the tasty potatoes, eggs and bacon. Cheered by my good fortune, I went outside to chase the lizards and bugs. Next day Mom and Dad came by to take me home. I told Mom all about Trailer Potatoes and asked if we could have them at home even though we didn't live in a trailer. "Of course", she said. Mom and Dad must have been amused by Grandma's clever ploy. It was years later that I was told the truth about Hash Brown Potatoes. 

3 comments:

Monkeywrangler said...

Hash browns? I love it!

Until we moved to the South, for me hash browns were what you got at a restaurant--not something you made at home, and they were always shredded potatoes, not the Southern style chunky ones. I have since come to love the chunky (albeit frozen ones) kind.

Deb said...

I love it that your husband is writing down his memories from childhood. What a great gift to you and your children! How fun that his grandma made the best of difficult circumstances and made it special to live in a trailer and eat treats like "trailer potatoes." I love this story. Have a great week!

Simply Linda said...

LOL. Thank you Steve for the chuckle..thank you for sharing your memories. I love reading them. Blessings