“Rumpole’s” parents loved to travel, and they did, rather modestly throughout the US and Canada (for nearly 20 years) in their old Rambler they affectionately referred to as “Elaine”.
We had the desire to explore Western North America, and did so by car, and later in an old second-hand trailer. We did look rather gypsyish compared to the huge and modern rigs which were outfitted with bump-outs, air-conditioning, microwaves and TV dishes. Being used to having camped in tents in our early married life, we kept the accoutrements pretty basic and minimal so that the main purpose of our meanderings would not be focussed on anything but witnessing the wonders revealed to us during journeys. I figured that if our-inlaws, a natty , handsome, and comfortable couple, could travel for weeks at a time out of a couple of suitcases, surely “Rumpole” and I, much more relaxed in our attitudes, could do quite palatially well in our slightly tawdry trailer.
So, a large amount of space dedicated in our trailer was for books to read at night, camera equipment, sketchbooks and drawing materials for me. “Rumpole”, fully cognizant of the possibility for needed mechanical repairs stowed automotive tools, which had equal importance to any other category of item we carried. We also strapped on our bikes, so we could get around wherever we landed and explore places inaccessible by car which pulled the trailer.
As we travelled we ate by the side of the road, on grassy verges of farmer’s fields, truck stops and campsites which had laundry facilities. Often, while I sat off by myself drawing, “Rumpole” would either wonder off to take photos, or loll on the ground reading.
On return to our daily lives and doings in suburbia, the trailer sat out beside the house between an apple tree and a huge holly tree, and slightly hidden from the street by a casual hedge of very old rhododendrons. Because our house was so tiny, the trailer became a little shelter for visiting friends. There they had privacy and access to cooking on their own, but also use of the amenities provided by our house.
One day a young friend who had left an unfortunate relationship came by for coffee. She expressed that option to return to her parent’s home was not one she could entertain, nor would bunking with friends. But there sat the trailer, just waiting to be used. “Rumpole” and I looked at each other and with silent accord nodded, and he casually put out to this young woman – “Well, if you think you may find it comfortable in the trailer and sharing bath and washing facilities with us, you could always stay here for as long as you need to.” She stayed a short two months, to sort out what she wished to do next.
So came to our lives this young poet. She nested in the trailer and made it quite her own. She put her little pottery jar on the dinette table and filled it with flowers she casually picked from the yard. She pinned a lovely kerchief she had bought at the Salvation Army store in the window. At night when we were in bed, “Rumpole” and I lay listening to music wafting from the trailer and in our open bedroom window, and sometimes to murmured conversations between this young poet and her visiting friends. This was a most satisfactory arrangement.
Privately we mused that here was out opportunity to be sort of parent, friend, to someone who needed space to plan out her next moves in life – and that she was the gift of a daughter we never had. And after all, our son “Renaissance Man” had experienced a similar situation in his life, a mere 7 years prior when he lived with an old friend while he was in transit between two communities and two schools?
Ten years later, this young poet has made a marvellous life for herself – she invents her life as she goes along, and has increased the circle of her supporters. And she gives back through amazing writing. Our friend, “The Prissy German Tourist”, a fine web designer, artist, is currently putting together a web-site for this young poet.
Within a month they should have her web-site up. So I’ll up-date this post to include her information for anyone who cares to drop in on her.
“Home of Sudden Service” poems, www.nightwoodeditions.com
“CURIO – Grotesques and satires from the Electronic Age” BookThug Toronto