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Mobile Home Pride

October 13, 1985

Maybe I'm too sensitive, but in a recent story in The Times, (Sept. 16), the writer used the term "trailer" five times in describing a mobile home park. The story was about a flock of coots--a duck-like bird--that had taken up residence in the "trailer park's man-made lakes."

I don't profess to be an expert on coots, but I do believe I am knowledgeable enough about mobile homes, having lived in one--by choice--for five years.

That antiquated term "trailer park" unfortunately comes saddled with all sorts of negative baggage. Indeed, this terminology conjures up images of run-down campers, homemade utility lines strung haphazardly from unit to unit, clothes hanging from ropes attached to battered tree limbs, outhouses instead of modern sanitary bathrooms, grubby kids running amok, and dilapidated barracks-type housing units set amid mounds of rotting garbage.

Today's mobile home parks provide a striking contrast to the "trailer parks" of the Korean and World War II eras. Most of these manufactured houses sell for as much as $100,000.

The term "coach" in place of "trailer" is equally offensive. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, New College Edition, defines "coach" as: "A large closed carriage with four wheels. A closed automobile, usually having two doors, or, a railroad passenger car or motorbus."

"Trailer" is defined as a vehicle suitable to be hauled by a truck or tractor, or a furnished van drawn by truck or car, used as an office or house when parked. When is the last time you saw a Volkswagen pulling a 12-foot by 60-foot mobile home in search of a place to park it?

What with park owners charging ever-increasing rents for a tiny patch of dirt, with the man-made shortage of affordable lots in San Diego County, and with a hodgepodge of park rules and regulations, mobile home owners have enough problems to contend with without being burdened by outdated words that negatively stereotype their life style.



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