by Pico ヨハネス
A young family reaching out for a better life.
“Honey, careful how you pack those things,” she admonished. “It won’t do us any good if they’re all broken when we get there.”
“Sorry,” he replied, “I just want to get this done and get on the road.”
It had been a small starter home, too small for their family of five when they first moved there, but they made do. It needed quite a few repairs at the time, but they viewed it as an opportunity to build some equity. Besides the lot was big almost two acres and there was room to expand and build the things they would need. Keith dreamed of his own professional woodworking shop, and she would have room to pursue her craftwork. The children had room to play. It was too bad that it hadn’t gone the way they had hoped.
Keith never had any trouble finding or keeping work and he always had a job. The problem was that the whole area was geared to cheap labour to compete with the American market south of the border. Mary couldn’t work because of back trouble, so they were always just scraping by. They pinched pennies and saved. Keith slowly collected the basic machinery he needed and planned to start making some real money on the side.
The crushing of that dream was the last straw. She remembered Keith’s frustration well. He had contacted a government office about support for their business venture and they had been enthusiastic. He only had to find insurance for his venture and they would give him all the support he would need. That’s when he found himself on the wrong end of someone else’s disagreement. No insurance company would cover him if he started a woodworking business anywhere on his property because the home was classified as a trailer more than twenty years old. Keith had gone to the township and asked if that could be changed. The house was built from an old house trailer years ago. There was very little evidence of that now. The house looked like a small modular home with a large addition on the front. It was on a full concrete basement and was undeniably a house. The township directed him back to the insurance companies and they in turn directed him back to the township. It took awhile to learn the truth. The truth was that the original owner built the house from a trailer to bypass the township’s minimum square footage rule for new homes. Calls to local politicians yielded nothing so they had decided to move on. Struggling financially was something they willing endured but not as an ongoing choice.
“Ready to roll, sweetheart?” Keith called.
“Kids are all strapped into the truck, but Billy says he has to use the toilet,” Mary responded.
“Aargh, I’ve turned off the water already,” Keith said with some exasperation. “Just have him use one of the trees out back. He’s a boy. I’m going to do a final walk through and lock up. We’ve gotta get rolling soon.”
Moments later Mary followed the big U-haul out onto the road with the family minivan. Sandy the oldest was in the truck with Keith with the other walkie-talkie. Michael next to Mary had their end of the connection so she could concentrate on driving. It was going to be a long two days of driving.
Mary took one last look at their little home. It was sad. It hadn’t been a bad home. She knew they had to let it go though. With the economy suffering the little trailer classification problem had rendered it virtually unsellable. The banks wouldn’t let anyone have a regular twenty-five year mortgage on it. Potential buyers had gone back to their banks for financing and never came back. It was a bitter pill to swallow thinking you’d built up twenty thousand in equity to find out it was just a mirage.
As the house slipped out of sight, Mary’s spirits rose. The weather was perfect and the family was heading out on a big adventure. Maybe all their dreams would come true and they would live happily ever after. She determined to face the future positively. They had two and half acres of potential to tap. It wasn’t going to be easy. They would camp till the shop was built, then spend the winter living in the shop saving, until they could build the house.
“Everything look good back there, Mom?” came Sandy’s voice over the walkie-talkie.
“Fine back here,” Michael responded with a prompt from Mary.
A real chance to start over, she thought as she smiled.