Mobile home residents experience unique communal life

Luke Hutchinson | Editor-in-Chief

Sophia Johnson | Staff Writer

When junior Kyla Julien’s parents, who live in Reading, set her up to live independently in a mobile home within Mason Estates, her excitement to become a Mason student overcame her sense of loneliness.

While there may be a negative stigma attached to residing in a mobile home, especially in a presumably affluent district like Mason, Julien said her friends got over their initial judgments and now enjoy spending time at her house.

“A lot of people see that my house is clean and they’re like ‘This isn’t what I was expecting’ because they assume it will be dirty and not put together, but then they say ‘Oh this is cute, I want one,’” Julien said. “It’s just like a normal house to me. I always have people over and leave whenever I want; It’s relaxing to be the only member in the house sometimes.”

Despite being a teenager, Julien said the people she has come in contact with have been inviting, accepting her into the community. 

“I’ve made neighborhood friends who are pretty cool; mainly everyone is older than me,” Julien said. “One of my neighbors, their dog is blind, and they will always come in my driveway and just sit there and I can’t move the car because I’m scared I’ll hit it.”

Senior Malcolm Morris, who lived in a trailer park in Clinton Township, Michigan from ages seven to thirteen, said he also experienced a more close-knit environment than other neighborhoods he has lived in.

“Everybody is much closer than your normal neighborhood because you all share the same yard, pretty much, so if one person’s having a party, everyone’s having a party,” Morris said. 

Residents of Shadow Lake Mobile Home Village do not always focus on the presentation of their community like many neighborhoods, senior Emerik Moser said, who moved into a mobile home freshman year.

“People in three story houses tend to take more care of the community, whereas a lot of people in (mobile homes) don’t really care and they let stuff go to where it’s kind of nasty,” Moser said. “They never cut their grass, they just leave stuff laying around and it’s kind of gross.”

While tenants may neglect their yard, Moser said he has encountered a variety of his neighbors’ eccentric personalities and found them funny, which is one reason he enjoys the neighborhood.

“I walked out of my house to go fishing or something, I look up and down the road and one of my neighbors is driving on his riding lawnmower,” Moser said. “He’s just got cases of beer hanging off and he’s drinking. You could tell he was drunk, he was just talking to people — it was hilarious. The stuff he was saying made no sense. It was just kinda like ‘what are you doing?’”

An aerial view of Shadow Lake Mobile Home Village, the neighborhood Emerik Moser lives in.

Moser said he is not embarrassed by his house, or by being called ‘redneck’, but rather he often invites his friends to come over and fish.

“On the football team, a lot of people will ask to go fishing at the lake there with me,” Moser said. “A lot of them consider me a redneck. People just think it’s funny and I don’t take things too seriously, so I don’t think I’ve really been treated differently.”

In taking ownership of the term redneck, Moser said he is empowered by his meaning of the label.

“A redneck to me isn’t a bad term, it describes how one lives their life,” Moser said. “Rednecks are not confined by modern standards, one might even say that rednecks have superior open-mindedness to other folks. Where some would dare not dabble in living within the confines of a trailer park, a redneck views it as a haven of sorts.”

Morris said by meeting Moser, not only was he able to share his upbringings with another student in the school, but that they connected through conversations about living in a trailer park community.

“When I speak to Emerik about it, we share similar backgrounds,” Morris said. “We didn’t know each other until this year, but we both experienced being able just to go outside, and because we all shared the same parking lot, same little things, you were just able to hang out whenever, ride bikes, whatever.”

The Shadow Lake community, Moser said, continues to demonstrate that where you live does not force you to fit a set lifestyle.

“It is what you make it,” Moser said.  “A lot of people don’t really take care of their houses, but I know some people live there just because it’s cheap. They have a lot of money, they just are retired. They take care of their house and they build stuff that looks really nice. It kind of is just life is what you make it. If you want it to be trashy, then it will be trashy, but if you want to have a good life, it will be nice.”

Given the opportunity, Julien said she would not trade her situation for anyone else’s.

“I love being able to change school districts, I love living there and I wouldn’t want it any other way,” Julien said. “I don’t mind that a lot of people at Mason have money and live in huge houses, to me it’s not about the houses.”

Photo by Jacob Brase.