Juanda De Shazer, Humboldt County, CA
In the mid 1960’s, my husband and I were still working in San Diego and decided to try living in an adult mobile home park when my job required me to live within twenty miles of the organization.
We were impressed with the engineered planning of mobile homes and their storage advantages. We rented out our Vista home; had purchased a new coach and had it delivered to the lot of our choice in the Spring Valley mobile park. We had a fun time planning the easy maintenance landscaping with special plants and no grass to mow! Unfortunately, this park made us feel like we were out of our element because the majority of residents were retired elders and they seemed to take offense that we were younger and still employed. Also, after a couple of years, recognizing the depreciation that takes place on a coach we found a way to trade it for a nice piece of real estate and a two-bedroom suitable home in the San Diego area.
My next experience of mobile home living occurred in the 1990s in Sonoma. I had remarried and moved from Eureka to Sonoma to my husband’s mobile home while still keeping my income property and apartment intact. We both loved Sonoma’s sunshine and compromised by spending two weeks at each of our properties. By then, being retired and surrounded with the same category of residents, there was no social problem at all and this was an affordable lovely lifestyle for us.
There were two clubhouses, swimming pool, shuffleboard court; with a lovely park setting and pathways through the area. Various classes and social functions were held in these club houses; they could also be reserved for private social events. I had such an occasion for my 80th BASH (birthday and special hips); a catered dinner and entertainment with friends.
These two occasions of mobile home living, I never thought of as “affordable housing”. I just thought of it as “relaxed living,” a lifestyle without a lot of maintenance responsibilities and freedom to pursue hobbies or other interests of one’s desire. This should be a period in one’s life of having freedom to make choices for one’s own pleasures; the opportunity to pursue choices and interests of a lifetime for our benefit only.
Today, living again in a mobile park in Humboldt County, California, approaching my 93rd birthday, I am faced with more stringent requirements of an economic nature. These days one has to tax their brain about the cost of living and expenses. What a way to spend one’s later days engulfed with these kinds of worries and issues of life. It seems a rule-of-thumb that corporate owners of mobile parks have taken on the cloak of villains plotting and planning how they can turn seniors into cash cows for their income. This has become a national problem. Our local communities are currently involved in trying to figure out a way to put a stop to this greed by establishing some kind of regulation to curb the amounts and frequency of space rent increases on our mobile homes. My life has become consumed with going to board meetings; networking with each agency to keep abreast of the actions being explored. It is a painful process, but I still have hope for a satisfactory outcome!
Will the calm relaxed lifestyle of hobbies and freedom to enjoy each day ever return? Will we survive this? Will the Federal government have to intervene?