Breaker, Breaker, what's your 10-20?
My family spent three years on the road. From 3rd grade to 6th grade I lived in this housetruck with my mom and my stepdad,and we traveled around the United States setting up our booth at fairs. My stepdad made silver jewelry and my mother made clothes. We spent weeks at renaissance fairs in Texas (!), art fairs in Seattle, and street fairs in Utah. We visited friends in remote cabins up in the mountains and forests. My daily chores consisted of bringing in two jugs of water from whatever stream or spigot was handy. I washed my hair in so many freezing streams. Our home was heated by a potbellied stove and I remember clearly the sound of the door first thing in the morning. We had a housetruck cat named Everest. I didn't go to school regularly, but would drop in to a gradeschool here and there, and took a correspondance course. We had friends with buses and housetrucks, other families. Often we would join up in a group and CONVOY. Sometimes I got to ride in other families' buses while we went to the next town together, me and their kids all crowded in thier bunks.
The housetruck was beautiful, a work of art. My space was a cozy loft over the backdoor. I had my own large skylight (all of 24 inches above my head so the rain was really loud!), and my one little curved foyer of stairs leading to my bed, with coathooks in the entry. We used a vintage icebox to keep our food cool, stopping for blocks of ice at stores. We had a propane vintage iron stove and a porcelain sink. The truck was made of antiques. Stained glass windows, beautiful kerosene lamps and crystal flower vases were affixed to the walls. I remember the sound of everything swaying against the walls while we were driving. A gentle knocking that would sometimes crash if we went over a big bump.
This was an amazing childhood, not all wonderful. I got pneumonia in Illinois and nearly had to go to the hospital. I was always a stranger at the schools I went to. I hated leaving Santa Monica, where life had been very kind to me. I didn't like driving, and was often carsick. However, for all the hardships I'm grateful I got to do it. During that time Nature became paramount to me, and remains a huge force in my life. All those dripping, cold forests I drew water in and washed my hair in, all the quiet moments I was forced to spend outside, the things I learned to enjoy and pay attention to, gave me an IMMENSE appreciation of nature, and of solitude.
We had a cb radio and my handle was "Snoopy". My stepdad was "Truckin' Turtle" and my mom's was "Gypsy Moth". We had a friend who called himself "Captain America". The real trucker guys didn't know what to do with us when they heard us on the radio. They were totally freaked out. I learned the cb slang and thought it was so funny when my hippy mom and dad would be bouncing up in that old cab, with thier velvet curtain and wooden dashboard, talking away on the cb just like in that 1970's song "Convoy". That's a big 10-4 Good buddy, OVER AND OUT.