(originally posted in 2017)
In-between bites dad asked what I was up to on Thursday. We were having lunch at Chaco Canyon. I figured he and mom were jamming somewhere and wanted to invite me and Margaux. Too casually he explained that they were going to get remarried and that because Bob was housesitting at the Ophovens they hoped I would be available to be present as a witness. The questions had to formulate quickly.
Are you only inviting me because you don’t know if Bob will be around?
Are you planning on telling my two other brothers?
Of course they were planning on telling David and John, it was only Monday and they had three whole days to share the news before the Thursday wedding. Further amusing, Bob was still geographically closer since I lived one block South of the Ophovens, but I didn’t need to point this out. I wanted to keep them focused.
On the big day I placed a tiny plastic chair next to the couple so Margaux who was only two at the time could become a part of this scene. A family friend wed Dave and Maryanne for the second time. They had taken a 20 year break after 18 years of marriage and they’d come back around.
I have a lot to say about this, some other time.
Later that day I got a text from Shannon “We need to talk to you about the Trailer Park Mall” Are you fucking kidding me, I thought… I racked my brain. Since I had a shop at the TPM, Make. Believe. and was not employed by Bruce and Shannon, I couldn’t be fired from the mall, so that wasn’t it… I called Shannon. At first she didn’t want to tell me on the phone.
“Shannon, I’m in 75 degree weather in my shitty car, in Seattle traffic and my fucking parents just tied the knot again so you need to just tell me”
Shannon wanted me to buy the Trailer Park Mall. My answer was NO.
I really hate to disappoint people, especially people I love. Shannon and Bruce had been in Seattle and specifically in GT for decades. Their tile business was once housed on the other side of the Stables where La Catrina now is. We shared business patios. While I was opening up the Stables for JB, Bruce and Shannon were on the tracks building out their trailers with the first set of TPM kookie shopkeeps. I still co-owned Twilight Artist Collective at the time and was a groupie of the TPM, but had no interest in participating.
Over the next few years the TPM moved off the tracks and over to the Fred Merino lot. The whole building was being developed after the two young male inheritants decided to move out of the hotel upstairs (where it was still beautifully vintage aside from the Berry White bathroom) and sell the whole building to JB. The old Hells Angels clubhouse was to become Star Brass, Spectrum House was going in where artist from the Firm had had workspace and The Firm was becoming The Conservatory. The lot was paved and the trailers were lined against the adjacent warehouse wall at the back of the lot. Something was lost.
It just so happened Cheryl, Erin and I had just sold Twilight to Traci, when my favorite trailer, the 1958 Silver Streak, had become available. Shannon tricked me into opening a shop. It was 2012 and Margaux was only one. For me it was all about the community ~ I didn’t really want to increase my workload.
NO I did not want to buy the TPM. I could hear the disappointment in Shannons’ voice. I agreed to meet them in 20 minutes onsite. A few weeks later I agreed to buy them out. Shannon and Bruce moved to Skatgit Valley, built a barn on their new property, opened a shop and are living the life of their own design. I’m sure they miss me a lot.
It was strange not having them around, it had been 4 years and in that time we spent hundreds of hours making fun of each other and anyone who showed up at the mall ~ all in good jest, of course. Bruce and I would sit around and make pinch pots, Shannon would share her weird internal thoughts out loud. Ironically, I referred to them as mom and dad. They certainly were more stable than my real parents.
Luckily Tif was still onboard along with the Urban Treasury crew. Other than that it would be all new vendors. I wanted to shake things up a bit and try to get some of the magic lost in the move off the tracks, back. When we were on Doris, the trailers were arranged in a corridor. That along with the gravel and the fact that you were in the middle of nowhere made it a strange and exciting environment. The hobo vibe was strong. In the Merino lot folks would walk half way up, snap a pic and often leave. Yes, we were making fun of them, too.
I wanted to create an experience by skewing the trailers, and bringing in the Royal Mansion, which has two doors! You must walk thru the mall, folks. Amber and John revived the Shasta which had not been used for years, except to house the Drag Queens during our annual show in August or to house the cooler with the shag top. Nico came back into my life and opened up her vintage marine shop in the Silver Streak. My birthday sister, Jessie, opened her first shop in the Aladdin, Lisa opened Vardo and we started restoring the King which the Hewitts would take over, down the line.
All the new kooks moved in, another phase began.
Last week I had sushi with my dad and he did not accidentally eat the entire wasabi ball, this time. We all continue to grow and try to understand each other, both here and at home.
You can see my parents play at Greenlake on Thursdays and at the old folks home in Everett on Mondays. The TPM is open every weekend: Sat 12-7, Sun 11-4.