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Ozy: From land yachts to trailer parks – taking the wheels off the American dream

From the bloggers at Ozy.

In a country as large as the United States, perhaps it was inevitable that the American dream would be conjoined with size and space. But that dream wasn’t always about four-bedroom homes, two-car garages, 60-inch televisions, 48-packs of toilet paper and an avalanche of throw pillows.

There was a time when Americans didn’t seek to acquire space, they consumed it — in the form of adventure, mobility, self-sufficiency and striking out across new frontiers. There was a time when a nation raised in Conestoga wagons, one-room cabins and urban slums looked out far more than it looked in.

And there was a time when having a trailer meant freedom and possibility more than it did confinement or scorn.

The stigma attached to the trailer park today remains all too real. Mobile homes in America have become synonymous with pink flamingos and chain-smoking teenagers, with rednecks in “wife beater” tank tops and Camaros on cinder blocks, with “trailer trash.”

However different the reality — and the history — might be, the stigma dominates the conversation, obscuring the fact that the mobile home’s bumpy journey has always trailed alongside the fortunes of everyday Americans. And if there’s something to be ashamed of, it’s not living in a trailer park, but in a society in which we let our conception of the American dream get so far ahead of the single-wide hitched to its back.

To read the full story by Ozy, click here.

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