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Oct 21

I Am White Trash

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Me

Trailer Park photo courtesy of encanto_sunland

Trailer Park photo courtesy of encanto_sunland

8. I am white trash.

I put on airs.

I watch What Not to Wear and I follow the rules. I don’t have mom jeans; I have a blazer. I don’t swear, and I ride around in a Ford Mustang convertible. I have good grammar and proper diction, and I no longer say “That’s a whole ‘nother story.”

But secretly, I’m a white-trash girl at heart.

I come by it honestly. My grandmother used to castrate her cats personally and was best known for her “grease tacos.” My great-Grandma Ben (because we called my great-grandpa “Grandpa Ben,” so she must be “Grandma Ben”) refused to talk about her in-laws, saying they were nothing but a no-good bunch of hillbillies.

My parents married young and had eight children in rapid succession. It wasn’t easy to support a family that size back in the day, so you could say we were poor. We ate a lot of macaroni and cheese. Lunch was a sandwich, and you had your choice – bologna, pb&j, or American cheese with mayonnaise. And no, you could not have bologna AND cheese with mayonnaise, fancy pants.

I wore hand-me-downs. I owned one pair of designer jeans, a pair of brown Dittos bought on clearance. They weren’t denim, and they weren’t saddle back, but they were Dittos, and I wore them three or four days a week until my best friend took me aside and told me I was a “scrub.”

Our house was always a mess. Some days…weeks…months, perhaps, you could not see the floor to my bedroom due to the clutter.

My siblings and I were feral. We spent the summer barefoot and took great pride in having feet so tough we could walk on hot asphalt, like warriors walking on coals. We roamed the streets until well after dark, telling ghost stories under the unnatural glow of the street lights. My older sister and I rode our bikes shirtless, singing David Cassidy’s hit, “I Think I Love You” at the top of our lungs.

We fought. We fought a lot. We fought at home. We fought in the streets. We fought in the church parking lot. When my cousin came to spend the night, she slept in between me and my sister – and we fought over her, trading punches as she cringed underneath, trying to avoid errant blows.

You might think I’m glad to put my white-trash past behind me – but you’d be wrong. I cherish the white-trash part of me.

You see, white-trash means being honest. It means what you see is what you get. We have an opinion, and we’re not afraid to share it. It means we are loyal. Family comes first, and if you mess with one of us, you mess with all. It means we like you just the way you are, without judgment, because Lord knows we’ve got plenty of faults of our own. It means we’re grateful for what we have, because we didn’t always have much. And finally, it means I know how to make a pretty mean tuna burger.

14 comments

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  1. Terry Ulrich

    Excellent and funny!

  2. Shelli Proffitt Howells

    Thank you so much! 🙂

  3. Amanda Ellis

    Cute. Thanks for a good chuckle 🙂

    1. Shelli Proffitt Howells

      You’re welcome. 🙂

  4. Nikki Spencer

    I so remember Dittos! Yeah. Dittos.

    1. Shelli Proffitt Howells

      Exactly.

  5. Jessica West

    “You see, white-trash means being honest. It means what you see is what you get. We have an opinion, and we’re not afraid to share it. It means we are loyal. Family comes first, and if you mess with one of us, you mess with all. It means we like you just the way you are, without judgment, because Lord knows we’ve got plenty of faults of our own. It means we’re grateful for what we have, because we didn’t always have much. And finally, it means I know how to make a pretty mean tuna burger.”

    I’m white-trash, too! Grew up in one small Louisiana town after another. I still don’t wear shoes unless I have to. I don’t know about the tuna burger, but I make a mean wienie sauce picante.

    1. Shelli Proffitt Howells

      Yay! Own it! And let’s trade recipes. 🙂

      1. Jessica West

        Absolutely! Will send you my recipe via FB. 🙂

  6. Daron Fraley

    Awesomely honest. And I love the picture of the trailer park. Until age 12, I lived in a trailer…
    Great post.

    1. Shelli Proffitt Howells

      Thank you, Daron. And you grew up in the wild west, didn’t you?

      1. Daron Fraley

        Yep. Wyoming born and raised.

  7. pratibha

    Shelli and Jessica, not white by any means, but I do feel like trash too. 🙂 Shelli, I have mentioned before too, but I do love your stories. Very relatable.

    1. Shelli Proffitt Howells

      Thank you, Pratibha. And I don’t believe that white-trash is necessarily race dependent. 🙂

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