Mobile Home Mobile Home Park St Louis Area new Town St Charles Bankrupcy second Mortgage
I believe the phrase, “the American dream” and “keeping up with the Joneses,” have been friends for a long time. They have walked hand in hand for many years. I would venture to say that most, if not all, American citizens fully know the meaning of both of those cliches. The American Dream can best be defined as the idea that anyone, regardless of race, religion, socioeconomic background, etc. has the ability to achieve a comfortable life through hard work. The American dream may mean different things to different people. It could mean living in a cookie cutter home with a white picket fence or another persons view of the “American dream” may be living in a luxurious condo on the beach. Anything has been possible in America. As a matter of fact, I think America has the copyright on “the American dream.” I truly don’t know if there is an “Irish dream,” “French Dream,” or “Polish Dream,” or at least I have never heard of other countries having a dream for its citizens. People always immigrated to the United States so they could take hold of our dream.
In England, they use another phrase for “keeping up with the Joneses.” They call it “keeping up with appearances.” Failing to keep up with “appearances” or with the “Joneses,” may give others the idea that you are not doing well financially. Lord, knows, we wouldn’t want that kind of idea to get around town (even though it is discussed on the nightly news day after day for well over a year now). We don’t want to believe that we aren’t “doing well.” That would make the idea of the American dream seem more like the American nightmare or the decline of the American Dream.
But, for many Americans, that is exactly what the dream has become . . .their own personal nightmare. People are losing homes at an alarming rate. Jobs are lost daily. People who used to assume they had a “safe” job, now are collecting unemployment. It seems that nothing is a “sure” thing any longer. Not a day goes by that I don’t meet some one who has either been laid off, who is in the process or who is worrying about their job security.
Let me tell you a little about a family I know. Oddly enough, their last name is Jones. When they were first married, they lived in an apartment. Through the constant urging of their first generation American Dream mother, they purchased their first home. A cute little home with huge oak trees, a large picture window, and enough room in the home for their family. which was growing by leaps and bounds. Mrs. Jones planted tulips in the front yard. Mr. Jones hung new shutters and applied fresh paint to the home. They barbecued. They had family gatherings. It was truly a home built with love. They took great pride in home ownership.
As time went on, they needed to make more improvements to their home. They spent every weekend tearing down or building up to make their home more beautiful. They were trying to make their signature on their home. They weren’t keeping up with the Joneses. They were the Joneses. They made things nicer for them . . . not for their neighbors, the Smith’s or the O’Reilly’s. They patronized Lowes, Home Depot and Wal-Mart. One day, a circular in the mail promised the Joneses that they could receive more money then their current house was worth. That seemed like a steal of a deal to the Joneses. The Jones family thought, “This company MUST know what they are doing.” They decided they could pay off existing credit card debt, have a few extra dollars in their pocket . . .but somehow, it all seemed too good to be true. They were right. When all was said and done, the home’s value was $90,000 and the debt had escalated to $120,000. Any accountant could look at the writing on the wall at this point. They were sunk.
They then did the unthinkable. They declared bankruptcy. They had gotten so far over their head, they could no longer see the huge oak trees in the back yard. Prior to saying goodbye to the home they had grown to love, they washed the floors, vacuumed the carpets, and cleaned the counter tops. They were trying to leave their home in tip top shape for the next owner . . . the next American Dreamer. Except, there wasn’t another Dreamer to be found. The home continues to remain empty. The home has just been dying to be loved again. It wanted another family such as the Joneses. But the Joneses in America were getting fewer and more far between.
Since they left their American Dream home, they have rented twice. But, something, was gnawing inside of them. The life of the renter was devoid of weekend projects . . . their was nothing to make nicer, fresher or better looking. Their restless spirits had to be content with the mandatory cream colored walls that were suitable for any potential renter. As they looked at their colorless walls which surrounded them in their rented apartment, they longed for the days of painting new colors on their walls whenever the spirit moved them, mowing their lawn on a warm Spring day,or planting their flowers that would spring up ever year.
There are many Joneses. But, there is only one Jones family that I know of that has lived out the American dream and who have also lived through the decline as well. Most people I know wouldn’t want to keep up with this particular Jones family. You see, they have taken it upon themselves to reinvent the American Dream to fit their family during these hard financial times. They are now a family of six. Not too long ago, I had lunch with Mrs. Jones. She told me they had a new plan to recover their sense of ownership. She explained that through the help of a family member, they would be able to purchase a five bedroom double wide for $36,000. It would sit among mature trees in a “trailer park.” When I first heard of their plan, I nearly croaked. A “house on wheels” had never been my idea of the American Dream. But, they had made up their minds. This was their new version of the American Dream. This was the 2010 version of the American Dream. They laid carpet, painted walls, and hung new curtains. Mrs. Jones invited me into their new home. I had to admit, it seemed like “home” to me.
The more I listened to them, the more I knew they had a plan. This decision to live in a mobile home was a very purposeful choice. After their bankruptcy, they had been paying close to $1500 a month to rent a lifestyle in a beautiful community outside of St. Louis. It had really been a life to die for. But, Mr. and Mrs. Jones no longer wanted to “die” for their exterior living quarters. Their main concern had always been to provide a roof for their four children, but more importantly, they wanted to show love and caring within the walls, no matter where they called home. They decided this could be done in a mobile home as much as it could be done in a home built on a foundation. Mrs. Jones explained to me that in three years their “home” would be paid off. If her husband lost his Supervisory position in a major freight company, they could deal with it. If the kids wanted to take karate lessons, they could deal with it. They had bought a new life. Yes, I had to admit, they had created a new life in these trying times that most Americans saddled with heavy mortgages and an insecure future could only “die” for.
I think it is time that we keep up with the Joneses . . . at least this Jones family who have invented their idea of the American Dream. The American Dream which says that it is OK to live in a mobile home if it makes your financial life easier, it is OK and even the right thing to do to pay cash for things we want and if we cannot afford something, we do without (OUCH). If we want it bad enough, we save for it . . . dollar by dollar put away in the cookie jar . . . yes, the cookie jar, because we all know that cookie jars don’t hold cookies any longer, they cost too much.