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America 2.0: Chapter Five

The furniture we could not take with us went to some friends of dad's. Mom made sure we took all the pictures and photo albums. They sold my bed.

We cleaned out everything and my mom mopped and vacuumed. Dad left all the garbage in the garage. Dad had hooked my mom's Lexus to a tow bar on the back of the motorhome and off we went. Mom said "Don't look out the window" as drove past the neighbors many of whom lined up in front of their homes. I did anyway. I wanted to see their faces.

We weren't alone that year. Most of the block lost their homes unless they were paid off.

The motorhome was called a Class A and was made before I was born. Dad said to pretend I was Hannah Montana and this was my tour bus. I know he was trying to make things better, but the bus did not look like a rockstar's bus. It had blue ducks painted on the cabinets and smelled like potpouri.

"Where did you get the motorhome from, dad?"

"One of the car lots I sell to."

"Did a rockstar own it?"

"No, William"

"Some rich guy?"

"No. You ever hear the term snow bird before?"


"They are retired people who live in mobile homes and spend their summers in the north and the winters down south"

"Is that who you bought this thing from?"

"No. I bought it from a car lot they sold it to"

"Where did the snow people go?"

"I don't know, William. Maybe they moved in with someone else."

A lot of old people lost everything back then. No pension, no investments, no retirement savings, and soon no Social Security.

Dad spent some of his retirement money on the motorhome. Mom told me last year he had bought it for less than 30,000.00. I thought that was a lot, but mom said that a new one could cost over 200,000.00. People were selling anything for what they could get. The people who bought my bed got it for 50.00. I saw them give mom the money.

We drove around town for a few weeks after that. We'd stay at different trailer parks but a lot of those places were scary. Dad kept his gun on all the time and we weren't allowed outside unless mom or dad was with us.

Dad and mom had cell phones and kept finding work. Dad would sell tracker things and deliver them himself. The car lots would pay him cash or he would cash the check right after he got paid. He sometimes used banks, but mainly went to check cashing places. Those places were really popular back then.

Mom got a job with a temp service working banquets at hotels downtown. In spite of the economy, some people still had money. Some people had a lot of it. Mom would serve plated dinners and fill ice tea glasses. She would work four or five hours and make about fifty to sixty bucks. Almost always it was in cash.

Mom spent her money right away on food and gas. Mom was obsessed that we would run out of gas on the side of the road and our house would get towed away. William and I laughed about that when she wasn't around. She bought tons of canned and packaged food like Ramen noodles and filled every cabinet in the motorhome. I stayed out of her way.

Dad kept in touch with several of his trucking company customers and figured out creative ways to make money. He sold them new equipment when they needed it and anything else he could figure out. Cell phones. Office supplies. Gas cards. He would setup websites with names like "Assured Communications" and would resell "pay as you go" cell phone plans. His customers either thought he was a big company or they did not care.

Most big companies were going under anyway. We had satellite tv in the motorhome back then and it still worked. The news ran a crawl at the bottom of the screen with local company names which would not be opening the next day. There were lots of lines at banks as people tried to get their money out. Dad had closed all of his accounts months ago and kept our money in his pocket or hidden in the motorhome.

Mom would drive her Lexus to hotels when she had a banquet job. Dad would drive it in the morning and take us to school. We often would park the motorhome in the Walmart parking lot and dad would unhitch the car and drop us off. I told my friends we had a new house and things were going great.

Somehow, we made it. Then things got worse.


  1. For the record: a motorhome has a motor in it...a travel trailer is pulled behind a vehicle. The walmart parking lot made me laugh. 8 months ago, my family and I lived in a motorhome in walmarts parking lot...due to losing our house to foreclosure. We eventually ended up in a campground before we found an apartment to rent.