The Old Geezer: tiny houses a crazy new fad!

I am sure that I am not the only person who gets a chuckle from reading about the wonders of living in a very small space. Maybe it is because of my experience living on an old submarine and then owning an RV of some sort for the past fifty years.

Walt Trandum

By Walt Trandum

Our family members have always been avid campers and we started with various sized tents and our requirements increased as we added kids to the clan. The early ones were nothing fancy and we used whatever was available for poles and tent pegs. We even used blankets and tarps until that wonderful day when we all had sleeping bags. A trip to Canada with five kids and a 19 foot tent was our last trip before acquiring our first camping trailer. We spent the better part of a week in pouring rain and smoky campfire cooking in a crowded camp ground.

The first trailer we bought was just 13 feet long and had bunks for eight people. Since we were only seven in numbers it worked just fine. There was a very small water tank and an ice box that held not much more than the block of ice that was necessary. Nobody brought many clothes and what they had were stored under the blankets in their bunk.. The rules were some I picked up in the Navy and that included the need for those who were not on duty had to retire to their bunks. Rainy days were a test for all of us but we had lots of laughs and marveled that we were not out putting back the tent pegs or out trying to move the water away from the tent. Many nights when it was too wet for a campfire my wife would play her ukulele and everyone but me would sing. I bet the neighbors thought we were all crazy.

Our RVs got bigger and bigger as we improved our situation. By the time we had one large enough for all to be comfortable, the older kids decided they didn’t have time for camping and finally it was just Mom and I rattling around in what we thought was the lap of luxury.

Watching one program on television was amusing as they were showing all the clever ways to use all the space in their tiny house. The corker was when one person decide that maybe putting wheels under their new structure would be a good idea. One even included a small water tank and a place for a water heater. They should go to an RV place and look at some of the machines of all sizes that are available. Some of those large models you see on the highway have more amenities that you could ever find in a luxury hotel.

I even read of one proposal that building a large number of these tiny houses might solve the homeless situation that we are witnessing. I wonder if any of those dreamers understand the need for discipline and personal sacrifices it takes to live in a small space. Surely the shelters and shanty towns that are now being used are not pleasant, but cramming people into little tiny structures isn’t going to work.

We don’t do that camping business any longer but we have great memories of the nice people we met out on the road. They seemed to be of a special breed that brought about friendliness and compassion. They actually looked out for one another. I even had some bring my wife to the hospital after I had suffered a mild heart attack one afternoon as we were having our daily “Safety Meeting”. Obviously I survived and still count many of those people as life long friends.

Nothing wrong with people building tiny houses and some of them are really cute, but maybe a few weekends in a small camping trailer would be a good test to find out if it is really the way you want to live. I keep a tent trailer in my garage just in case I get that urge to hit the road or even sleep in a small place. It also serves as a guest house and they all think it is wonderful!