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hidden places

May 8, 2010

I was looking at some pictures this morning and in one of them there was a trailer that had some additions on it and a regular house roof built over top. It reminded me of the mission house in Rock Springs. McCormick had built a house that had four or five bedrooms as well as an office space etc. I lived with them in the main house for several weeks, maybe even months(!), before I realized there was a trailer hidden away in it.

When they first moved to Rock Springs, probably in the early fifties, they had come with a little house trailer. Today it would be considered a ‘travel trailer’ but then it was a regular ‘house trailer.’ It held brother and sister McCormick and the girls. I don’t think Joe was born yet.
Brother McCormick had done most of the building on the mission himself and eventually he proceeded to build a house around the little trailer. It was in the very center of the house. The door opened into a walk space between the living room, the ‘office’ and the kitchen. The kitchen was off the north end of the trailer, but you would never have guessed it was there. I sure didn’t.

Behind the trailer was the laundry room, mud room area and off that going south was a big bedroom and a second smaller bedroom. After a sharp left turn there was another bedroom just large enough for a dresser a closet and a bed on the other side. It was kind of an enclosed hallway with a door at each end. One door opened into the smaller bedroom, the other opened into the living room. From the far end of the living room you went into the large master bedroom and the garage.

As I said, I lived there quite a while before I realized that that center room had actually been a trailer. From time to time it served various purposes—storeroom, bedroom, office, spare guest room. When I was there at first it was an office/store room. I went in one day for some paper or a book or something that sister McCormick had sent me there to find. Now keep in mind that from the living room the door was just another door in a regular paneled wall. And the door was a plain inside house door.

But when I got inside I realized that the ceiling was lower than the one outside. The entire space was probably only 12 feet long and 8 or 9 feet wide. I’m not good with spacial measurments, but it was tiny. As I looked on the shelves for whatever it was I needed, it began to dawn on me that the back wall was curved into the ceiling at a pretty wide angle. Then I looked at the other end and it was the same way, but a little sharper at the bend. OK, now I was thinking.. The walls were painted a pretty pale green but when I looked closer, I could see that they were the thin wood panels which had been used inside house trailers in the early fifties. I kept looking.

The windows, big one in the front and back and two smaller ones on the sides, had been boxed in and turned into cabinets and shelves. The big one in the back was a regular cupboard with doors. The big one in the front was an attractive set of shelves, holding books and the pretty ‘dust catchers’ that make a house a home. The smaller ones on the side were, I believe, just little built-in shelves to hold what ever… the first time I saw them I believe they held office stuff. It blew me away!

How neat was that!! Brother McCormick was a smart man. I’m sure the house wasn’t built all at once, only a piece at a time as space was demanded and finances allowed, but WOW! Not many people could do that. And I would bet this week’s grocery money that no architect had laid out the plans for him. At best he probably jotted down dimensions on a rough sketch before he started.

So now there is a nice sized house with tile floors and paneling on some of the walls, plaster board on others, all painted and pretty. But inside is that tiny trailer. I wonder if it is still there or if the Baptist have torn it out. I wouldn’t have. It was just too neat for words.

Keep in mind this is only as I remember it. In fact all of the stories are filtered through forty years of lots and lots of memory, so I may have some details wrong. If a “McCormick kid” or someone else who lived and worked at the mission remembers it differently, by all means write and tell me and we will collaborate to get it edited right.

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