(left to right) My sister, father, and me on his back at Robert E Lee Park
Originally, I was going to post about my experience during my 6 week-recovery period, insights, and reflections, now that I am concluding my second day of work since my return (still might do that later). Instead, I changed my mind about what to post when I returned home to see that there was a trailer in my parent’s driveway. This is more interesting. It is their trailer, and they are getting it prepared for a trip. For most people, this is quite the unusual vehicle to spot in a driveway, especially for a townhouse. For me, it is not. The only thing that I would consider perplexing is that I don’t see it here more often. But I do believe my parents are trying to rectify that by making an effort to take it out more, even if it isn’t one of their thousand plus miles trips.
As I walked up, and around the trailer to get to the door, a few things came back into clear view about what I am doing with the documentary, and why. I realized, what choice did I really have but to be interested in traveling and wanting to share about it? I know my parents do not have the market on traveling by trailer. By the looks of the shows on tv about RVs, flipping RVs, Going Rvs, there are tons of other people doing the same. Yet, somehow, as a whole, it doesn’t seem like a lot. For example, I am sure out of the entire neighborhood, my parents are the only ones with a trailer. So how common is it really? Throw in the fact that they are African American, and second generation travel trailer owners, makes them part of an even smaller number.
The Grahams planted this seed of travel and trailers and camping and parks in 1965 with their first trip. What they have done has had direct influence on me - on who I am, who we are as a family. The most obvious influence – I am third generation camper, traveler and friend to the parks as well. Before I was born, my parents were already frequent visitors to the parks. Believe it or not, my first trip to a park was while my mother was still pregnant with me. I don’t know many people that have had that experience, especially African Americans. As I have learned, this multi-generational camping is due to exposure. Just as my grandparents let us spend time with them at their trailer in the summer, my parents take my niece and nephew out in the trailer for a week every summer. And now they will have traveling and camping planted as a small seed as something that they can and enjoy doing. We are what we see, and the country needs to see more people of color doing a wider spectrum of things, and being more than a monolith that the media and history has portrayed. It all starts with the storyteller and a story. Thanks for taking this journey with me. As another documentary filmmaker, Cecilia Aldarondo has said, "filmmaking is like a marathon where they keep changing the mileage." We will get there.