CJR's diary Part III
Life in an Over-55 Manufactured Home Park
Hi readers. Today I'd like to share with you what it is like to live in a community where most of the residents are over 55 and some are around 90 and still making it on their own. I have now been a part of this living situation for one year.
I believe there is a bond here among us 300 or so residents. We have all lived most of our lives already. We are all still trying to be independent and active in various ways. And for the most part, we get along well because of this bond. Each of us has our own space to maintain, and a lot of us can be seen outside these days working in our yards maintaining these spaces. Some are doing some serious re-landscaping while others struggle to do basic upkeep. And many of us can be seen walking our dogs around this neighborhood, stopping to chat with anyone who is also out and about.
Here are the things I like. People always wave when they drive by in their cars. If a person doesn't wave, they're probably just visiting or have some business here and not a resident. There is an outdoor covered area where we all get our mail. There are activities from time to time for anyone to join in, like a monthly lunch-bunch for ladies, a cornhole game, a taco feed, and coffee and doughnuts. People help each other, loaning tools or a helping hand with something. There is some gossiping and complaining as you would expect, but it is minimal. I like to think that we are wise enough to know that such conversation is a waste of time. We are located very close to shopping and other basic needs. And there are woods adjacent to our park where we can dump our yard waste! It is not a cookie-cutter or sterile-looking place at all.
And a few things I don't like. As you would expect, there are the managers who are trying to do their jobs. A married couple. She is in her office four days a week and handles all the rents and other official business. He drives around in a cart checking on the physical appearance of the park and visiting with residents. She is business-like and rarely out, he is outgoing and easy to talk to. They have standards to enforce, and are not consistent with what they allow some residents and disallow others. And there is the clubhouse. It has been renovated inside but is still closed off while the outside landscaping remains to be dealt with. It has been closed for nearly three years now. Kitchen facilities have been eliminated for some reason in the renovation, so traditional gatherings and events involving food will not be reinstated. Hopefully new activities will replace them. Someday. No one, not even the managers, know when.
I like living here. The Washington coast where we used to live is wonderful but too isolated, and the big city where we lived and I taught for 35 years had become an eyesore and no longer desirable at all.
And, there is change happening. People are moving in and out all the time. Older dilapidated units are being removed and replaced by brand new homes. Some are being fixed up and flipped. And yes, people die from time to time or become unable to maintain their independence and have to move into assisted living somewhere. We're all doing the best we can, and have our own life stories to tell if we care to and can find someone willing to listen.
I'd say this is a middle-of-the-road park to live in. It's an older, established place. There are more expensive, nicer parks around where, I suppose, wealthy retired folks live, and there are cheaper, not very attractive "trailer parks" in this city that are all some people can afford. We chose well.