Seeing the trailer for the first time after the accident, being held together by straps, and broken in half, well, that hurt like hell. We cried uncontrollably and hugged each other hard while we sobbed. It was a combination of gratitude for being alive but also anger, over losing what we had worked for so long to build. It was too much for us.
Our trailer was home; filled with everything that we owned and a familiar place to lay our heads at the end of each day. I couldn’t imagine life on the road without her and I couldn’t imagine how we would rebuild or move forward. It broke my heart knowing we had to leave her there like that, to rust in this back lot. I wanted to burn her to the ground or crush her into a block small enough to take with us, something more final than this. Our girl deserved a better end than this.
The silver lining was, though the trailer was unsalvageable, her contents stayed relatively intact in the wreck. The crew had picked up everything that broke out onto the road and shoved it back inside. This meant all of our stuff was ok, even the Mount Rushmore model Jill had been carefully sculpting. It was time to get down to business and start fishing out the stuff we needed. We were still in the clothes we crashed in, sleeping in our dresses. We slowly started to pick our stuff out from the debris; clothes, books, props, dishes, letters and souvenirs. Everything was accounted for; you just had to sift through all the splintered wood and glass to find it.
We created piles and started gathering everything, lifting and moving Bobby Jean’s broken parts rummaging for our things. It took two days but by the end we had everything packed into our rental car. Bobby was just a shell now. It was cathartic, pulling everything out by hand, piece by piece, depersonalizing the space. Seeing Bobby empty and collapsed on herself made her look less like a home. It made me hopeful that maybe we could feel that way about another trailer if we filled it with all that same familiar stuff.
Jill was having a harder time picturing replacing Bobby but I had become hopeful we could do it. I started looking at trailers to try and cheer Jill up and show her what was out there. We didn’t have any money, or a tow vehicle, but we had time. I thought it would be a good exercise for us to go look at options, to start imagining life in a new home. It would give us something to work towards and look forward to. The very first trailer I found was a 1969 Kit Companion. I loved it right away because it was the same colors as Bobby, white with a red stripe. It was in San Diego and we were due for a long drive, we had just been wallowing in our room and if anything could cheer us up it was getting on the road.
We fell in love, immediately. The trailer was beautiful, bigger and brighter than Bobby and cute as hell. I realized we had a new problem on our hands; we wanted this one but couldn’t afford her. I wondered if I had actually done Jill a disservice, showing her something we couldn’t have. Maybe this plan had backfired. The seller was a girl about our age, she had bought it and fixed it up but split with her ex before they could travel with it. She had a few offers on it so having her wait for us to buy it a month or so later was out of the question. My heart sunk a little, I wanted that one. We decided not to look at trailers anymore until we were ready and able to buy one.
Once we were back in Vancouver we started looking seriously. We had a new problem though; there were none for sale. We checked craigslist daily, searching North to Prince George, South to San Diego, and across the map to Texas. Everything was either falling apart, too expensive, or already sold. I decided to try Leslie and Lew, the couple that sold us Bobby Jean. They dealt with higher end vintage trailers for collectors but I thought it was worth a shot. They sent back photos of an untouched 1969 Kit Companion. I had never seen another Kit companion in all my searching, just this and the one in San Diego. It was still entirely original (ugly) since they hadn’t renovated her yet but she was road worthy (and within our budget). She wasn’t much to look at, but we had seen what you could do with a bit of paint and intent. This was it, our new home. We knew it was going to be a huge undertaking but this was what we wanted, we were going to make her ours. That’s how we met Billy the Kit.