5 10 2014

I’m a firm believer that every state of affairs we find ourselves in as we travel though this life can be a learning experience. Unfortunately, that education didn’t come to roost in me until years after certain episodes had become history. One such moment in time was the three years Cathy andTrailer Park.jpg I lived in a trailer park.

This was no regular Trailer park, it was near the college I was attending at that time and nearly all the residents were married students working on undergraduate or graduate degrees. Most of the trailers were old which made them affordable, something we all were looking for back then, especially those with families. As expensive as education was, finding cheap housing was a plus. The park was owned and operated by the Uphouse’s, on older couple who were also professors at the school. They had an old home there with a barn that housed tools and an old tractor that you would see Dr. Uphouse, (who I found to be cranky most of the time) making the rounds adding stones here or clearing something there.

I really wasn’t happy the time we spent there, there was no such thing as privacy as anyone knows who’s ever lived in a park. Plus our trailer was old and small; it was like living in an overgrown shoe box that was in need of constant repair. On two different occasions our furnace went out, once in the middle of a night where the temperature had fallen to below zero. Try waking up and crawling out of a warm bed to that sometime; Whoa!

Since I chose not to attend college until after I got married we were the only ones in our section of the park that weren’t working on a master’s program, which meant when we got together with the others in a group setting, conversations would be well over our heads as they discussed their thesis or a dissertation and other 20 gauge words that were foreign to me at that time. On one occasion I was in need of a helping hand with a stuck vehicle and went to several of my neighbors for assistance. My reaction was not a good one when every person I asked was too busy heading to class or working on a paper to give a couple of minutes of their time. One stopped by later to tell me why he couldn’t help me out, I listened carefully for a moment, just before I went off loud enough to be heard from one end of the park to the other. (Did I mention all these guys were studying for the ministry? Actually that whole affair had a pretty funny ending, but that’s another story!)

So after three years of living in a place I didn’t want to be, with people I didn’t want to be around, we finally moved out and got a house of our own, and so began a dark time in my life. School didn’t work out the way I had hoped and I was bitter from the entire experience of living at Uphouse’s; there was nothing positive about the whole ordeal! Oh my my my, sometimes the ignorance of my youth overwhelms me, just glad God never gave up driving into my hard head things He wanted me to learn.

Okay, let’s start with “cranky” Dr. Uphouse. Here was a man who taught all day, then ran back to the park to fix many things that were falling apart; by doing the work himself he was able to keep the lot rents to a minimum, $15 a month when other places were charging $50 or more back then. This wasn’t a money making proposition for he and his wife, it was a ministry to help others as they prepared to go into the world for whatever God might have in store for them. And if someone came to him and said they didn’t have the money for the rent, he would put them to work to pay it off. School all day, park all evening and weekends, plus different functions he did for other organizations, and somewhere in between try to get some sleep; yeah I think we can give a little room for his mood, don’t you?

Then we have the trailer, oh that rotten rundown trailer! That trailer that allowed us to buy an affordable home to live in instead of paying much larger money out for rent somewhere; matter of fact when we sold it, we got the same money we paid for it. The young couple that bought it saw it as beautiful and an answer to prayer. “BAM! Go ahead God, just slap me up side of the head for not being more grateful, okay?!!!

Finally we come to my theological studying neighbors, what about them, the snooty pompous so and so’s! Well unfortunately, there were ones who didn’t make it through school or didn’t last long in the ministry for numerous reasons; finances, grades, and yes, even wrong attitudes for being there in the first place. But then the others, well I know of at least two that are pastors and have been at the same church for 30 years, something rare in this day and age. Then there’s one who went to Japan, several to Africa, and to China, Turkey and places in Europe to do the work of God no matter what it called for, no matter what the cost. Even know a couple of those farts that now teach in Christian colleges.

Back then I saw only what my needs and concerns were, not what these people were going through to prepare to be used by God anywhere or anyhow He called them. I later learned it was quite a struggle for some, trying to work to support a family while studying every waking hour available, sometimes not having enough money to make ends meet. (Once again, Doc Uphouse to the rescue!!)

“The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!” Henry Ward Beecher

It took me a while to discover that there’s a purpose for everything that happens especially for followers of Christ. The real lesson to be learned is not just this, but learning to trust that God cares for you enough in all circumstances and never leaves you no matter what. Still the biggest part, to be “Thankful” in all matters, this is maturity; this is understanding God’s purpose for you.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

The Uphouse’s no longer own the trailer park and Doc went home to the Lord years ago. I recently drove through for the 1st time probably in 20 years, and the place is in a lot rougher shape than it was when Cath and I lived there. But as I drove around I could envision the people back then that I got to know, not realizing some of these “Travelers of the Rock Road” would have a much harder way to go than I, but thankful for every mile of the trek. As for me, my road didn’t take shape the way I envisioned, that’s for sure. But God had a direction, a task for this man, after he learned some hard, but blessed lessons. Three of those years of learning were spent in a little cracker box of a trailer in a park, a community known lovingly to many as “Uphouses’s.” Awesome!!
Blessings to you and your loved ones.

See Ya Next Time!




2 responses

27 10 2014
Gary Austin

John, We are “Uphouse Trailer Park Alumni”! We spent 2 years there finishing college and 1 year of seminary. Didn’t finish seminary at that time because of “matters” that arose. But we knew Dr. Uphouse and came to appreciate his wife all that more because of his “strange enthusiasm.” What years were you at Uppie’s?

18 02 2015

Don’t know how I missed this Gary, Sorry.
We were there from 75 to 78, twas a bittersweet time, but the memories of the Uphouse’s is definitely sweet!

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