I am the proud owner of Viola, my 1953 Westerner.  My little canned ham is affectionally named after my grandmother Viola (aka Grams), who owned this camper from 1968 – 2011.  In 2011, my sweet Grams was ninety-four years old.  After the passing of her older sister, Grams was ready to settle her affairs and follow suit.  She began to ask all her grandkids what they wanted of hers.  She was giving everything away.  I wasn’t very comfortable with her talking this way, but one day when she asked me what I wanted, I said, “Grams, I don’t want anything.  I just want you to stay.”  She wasn’t having any of that and insisted that I let her know what I wanted. As I stood there in her home, I wondered what Grams had that would be special to me . . . that would hold a memory of her after she was gone . . . and suddenly I knew.

Grams lived in the High Desert of Southern California.  From my earliest memories, I remember that Grams had this little trailer parked next to her house.  She used the trailer as a bedroom, as her small two bedroom house was occupied by those that she cared for . . . usually her grandkids and eventually her aging father.  There were special memories associated with that little trailer.  I remembered when I was ten, Grams let me spend the night with her. She tucked me in at bedtime and then went back in the house for a bit to watch tv.  I laid there, the little window over my head was open and I could hear the crickets and coyotes.  The breeze came through the window and the curtains floated over my head.  I watched the curtains dance and the stars twinkle . . .  It wasn’t long before I was fast asleep.  The morning would find me snuggled up against my Grams . . . all was right in the world.

The memories of my childhood played in my mind as I looked out the window at the trailer.  It wasn’t much to look at.  The sun had taken it’s toll on the already poorly painted trailer.  It was still a treasure to me, a diamond in the rough . . . so  I turned to my Grams and said, ‘Grams, what are you going to do with the trailer?’  Grams turned to me and said, ‘You want the trailer? You can have the trailer.’ and she retrieved the paperwork and signed it over.

Circumstances didn’t allow me to take the trailer right away.  I would leave it there and come back for it when the time was right.  I didn’t want Grams to think I was rushing her.  Besides, I lived in Kentucky . . .  humid Kentucky and I knew that it wouldn’t be long and I’d be back in the West, where the climate wouldn’t take such a g

I am the proud owner of Viola, my 1953 Westerner.  My little canned ham is affectionally named after my grandmother Viola (aka Grams), who owned this camper from 1968 – 2011.  In 2011, my sweet Grams was ninety-four years old.  After the passing of her older sister, Grams was ready to settle her affairs and follow suit.  She began to ask all her grandkids what they wanted of hers.  She was giving everything away.  I wasn’t very comfortable with her talking this way, but one day when she asked me what I wanted, I said, “Grams, I don’t want anything.  I just want you to stay.”  She wasn’t having any of that and insisted that I let her know what I wanted. As I stood there in her home, I wondered what Grams had that would be special to me . . . that would hold a memory of her after she was gone . . . and suddenly I knew.

Grams lived in the High Desert of Southern California.  From my earliest memories, I remember that Grams had this little trailer parked next to her house.  She used the trailer as a bedroom, as her small two bedroom house was occupied by those that she cared for . . . usually her grandkids and eventually her aging father.  There were special memories associated with that little trailer.  I remembered when I was ten, Grams let me spend the night with her. She tucked me in at bedtime and then went back in the house for a bit to watch tv.  I laid there, the little window over my head was open and I could hear the crickets and coyotes.  The breeze came through the window and the curtains floated over my head.  I watched the curtains dance and the stars twinkle . . .  It wasn’t long before I was fast asleep.  The morning would find me snuggled up against my Grams . . . all was right in the world.

The memories of my childhood played in my mind as I looked out the window at the trailer.  It wasn’t much to look at.  The sun had taken it’s toll on the already poorly painted trailer.  It was still a treasure to me, a diamond in the rough . . . so  I turned to my Grams and said, ‘Grams, what are you going to do with the trailer?’  Grams turned to me and said, ‘You want the trailer? You can have the trailer.’ and she retrieved the paperwork and signed it over.

Circumstances didn’t allow me to take the trailer right away.  I would leave it there and come back for it when the time was right.  I didn’t want Grams to think I was rushing her.  Besides, I lived in Kentucky . . .  humid Kentucky and I knew that it wouldn’t be long and I’d be back in the West, where the climate wouldn’t take such a great toll on such an old trailer.

Finally, Mother’s Day weekend, 2015 we drove from Colorado to California to pick up the trailer.  This event was a dramatic and emotional experience that I won’t share here. This part of the story deserves it’s own space and time.  In the end, we retrieved the trailer, prepared it for towing, registered it with the DMV (it hadn’t been registered since 1974) and then we towed the trailer to our home in Colorado.

So, my little trailer is named after my grandmother Viola.  I can’t fully explain the feelings that I felt as I camped in her for the first time as an adult.  I remember laying there as I did as a child, looking up at the little curtains blowing in the breeze and I remembered Grams.  I remembered what a wonderful person she was, what a loving Grandmother, our rock.  Each time I camp in this camper, it’s like being hugged by my Grams.  In some way, I feel like I not only carry her in my heart, I take her on every adventure I have when I go camping.  She’s been gone since July of 2015, but I know she would love knowing how I enjoy this trailer and each and every memory I have of her.   RIP Grams!  I love you!!

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