|Back row: Karl "Billy" Bishop, baby Linda, and my Mom Frances. The front row: Patty, Frances "Butch", and Janet.|
The photo is from 1947, and Frances writes:
"My Dad, Karl Bishop, was a pipe liner – a crewman working on pipeline building and maintenance. He always took the family my mother, Frances, and we four girls, Janet, Frances, Patty, and Linda with him. We often lived is a house, wherever my parents could rent rooms with kitchen privileges. Finding apartments were tough with four children and for short periods of time. We moved about every six weeks. When I was born, Daddy nicknamed me Butch, because he really wanted a son.
"One summer day, another pipe liner brought Dad home from work; this was strange as Dad had his own truck. Dad had sold the truck and bought a travel trailer. Without the truck, how were we to move it? Dad told us not to worry, by the time the job was over he'd have the money to buy another truck.
"Our 'new' trailer was 27 feet long; it had no hot water and no bathroom, and just one bed room. Getting along meant everyone went to bed at the same time. My oldest sister Janet and I slept together on the couch that folded down to make a bed. Patty slept in the breakfast nook, which also made into a bed. Linda, the baby, slept in a port-a-crib, which fit exactly between the couch and the breakfast nook. The folks had the bedroom.
"We soon learned to manage living in such small quarters. The best thing was getting out of doing dishes. At that time, all the parks we stayed in had community bathrooms. Since Mom had to heat water fo the supper dishes, that was always a good time for my sisters and I to use the bathroom . By the time we'd get back to the trailer, Mother had heated the water and the dishes were done. Finally, one night Dad told Mom 'You know they do that on purpose.'" Mom said that she knew that. There was no fooling her.
"Baths were also taken in the park bathroom, in a Number Two sized wash tub. Mom would fill the tub and then it was an 'assembly-line bath,' the youngest to the oldest. After the baby was bathed , she'd take her home and we finished up. I don't think Janet ever had a bath in clean water, as she was the last child to bathe. We never worried about some one walking in on us or trying to snatch one of us. We just had a good time. Mom would check on us if we took longer than she expected.
"I remember a lot of good times in that house on wheels. They kept that 27-foot Zimmer until about 1950, when they special ordered a 36-foot Alma. Boy, we were up town! Each of us had our own bed and hot water. Unfortunately the trailer was destroyed by a tornado. Next came a 1953 New Moon, which I lived in until after graduation.
"I lived in trailers, mobile home, etc. all my life. After I married, my husband, Fred, worked on the pipeline and our first travel trailer was a 1964 36-foot Pathfinder. Five years later we were told our rig was too old. When we convinced the owner it looked better than some of other residents, she still wouldn't let us park – because we had a dog. All the while there was a snippy, barking dog doing a dance around her feet, 'Part of her family.'"
Our thanks to "Butch" for her recollections. Got a story you'd like to share? Give us a shout by emailing Russ at rvtravel.com. We've left proper formatting of the e-mail address out to confuse the "bots."