Thursday, April 23, 2015

I Lived Here Once

I lived here when I was a kid for a few months. Or was it just a few weeks? I don’t even think it was a year. There are no photographs to document those days. It was right after my family had moved back to Murfreesboro after a year or so spent in Mississippi. We first rented a trailer behind Hale’s Store on Manson Pike. The trailer was right beside the railroad tracks and we were only there a few days. It turned out the trailer was infested with lice and we moved almost immediately. I met a kid at the new trailer court but after I told him we had moved because of the lice he never talked to me again.

What would I have thought to hear Bailter Space’s shoegazing magnificence “Remain” if it had somehow come out in 1971?    My 4 year old ears were into Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, and Sly and the Family Stone back then, yet “Remain” would have been perfect soundtrack material to watch the kids in the trailer court sliding down the kudzu covered Old Nashville Highway side of Fortress Rosecrans. I was not allowed to join them since it would have meant crossing the highway so I’d sit under the patio awning and wish I was bigger and older. Then I would join with the other children in their sliding riot of chaos. I would do whatever I wanted to do, but the best I could do until then was to roll alone down into the ditch one trailer behind ours and dizzily scream at the sky that seemed to always be blue.

The trailers were fairly new then, but they are old and gray now. I drive by them sometimes to see if they are still there, but really it’s the one that I lived in briefly that I am looking for; perhaps only to confirm my memories are real. There it was this morning as I cut through Murfreesboro. It’s gray where it used to be white and darker gray where it used to be blue. The patio awning is warped. The rest of the trailers are still there faded and so tiny to me now. I wonder who lives in these trailers now. Are they anything like the people that were there in the early 70’s? We were all so young then; young children and their young blue collar parents struggling & scuffling to make it during those lean years before high fructose syrup and carbs turned us into obese elephants.

I guess the official name of the trailer park was the Farrar Brothers Trailer Park. I believe there were 2 of these along Old Nashville Highway. The one we lived in was right up from the Stones River by the National Guard Armory.  It was an entire world to me then. We would walk up the street to Broadway Market and then back through the trailer park. My mother would stop and chat with people she knew there while I stood by anxiously ready to bolt away; a skittery colt of a boy. I was always kept within tight parameters known as “within my sight.” This made me an outcast among the kudzu climbing kids. It would be a role I would come to play my whole life, long after the tight parental parameters were lifted.

Flash ahead almost 20 years later and I’m at a party just off Manson Pike. My band, the Dislocated, were sort of invited I guess; at least the guys still in high school were so I showed up with my friend Toby to check it out. It was a backyard affair with a fire and beers on a chilly spring night. There really wasn’t much going on. The high school kids were just being drunk and goofy. I remember high school guitar wizard Mike’s girlfriend chasing me into the woods when I went to take a leak for some reason.  Then there were the notorious _____ brothers. The oldest was my age and I will never know why he disliked me, but he said some stuff that night about us all being lame under his breath. If I could soundtrack every moment of my life I would want Roky Erickson’s “Bloody Hammer” to play right then.“What was that you said?” I asked. He looked away and laughed.  I get pushed aside by Mike who asks if I can do him a favor. 

A few minutes later I found myself driving his girlfriend and her friend home before I started a fight which probably would not have ended well as my Dislocated crew was outnumbered. Mike’s girlfriend was spending the night with her friend so I was told I didn’t need to go far. We took Manson Pike in to Murfreesboro, past Searcy Street where I had lived once, over Stones River, past what used to be Hale’s Market and yet 2 more trailers I briefly lived in (1 of them the lice filled one), over the railroad tracks, and then through Tucker Town to Old Nashville Highway. Take a left I was told. Holt’s Corner on one side and the Weeping Willow Lounge across the street. Somewhere in my memory I could hear my elders telling me “You better stay away from those beer joints.”  Up the road just a little way and they told me to turn into the Farrar Brothers Trailer Park. I thought to myself I lived here when I was a kid for a few months. Or was it just a few weeks? I don’t even think it was a year.