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Seattles Hooverville 1937

Seattle's Hooverville 1937

Since we have no idea where we will be living as of Friday due to this insane mortgage business, we have decided to put our things in storage. This keeps it all together in case we have to rent a vacation home or a tiny month-to-month apartment. Also if/when we get into the house, it will keep our things from getting messed up during the rehab work and out of our way. I don’t need piles of lead paint and fuzz collecting on my boxes labeled “really cute and special dishes” or “clothes that are awesome but I can’t wear right now because my life totally sucks and all I’ll be doing this summer is sweating and peeling wallpaper”. Plus, the stuff has to be out of the current rental. We just need to put it somewhere. I have never rented a storage unit before. I know very little about them. After 3 days of hauling most of my belongings to this little rented garage area in the heatwave of the Pacific Northwest, I have learned much about the Storage Unit a.k.a today’s Hoovervilles. I guess I always thought storage units were for storing your possessions. Maybe you’ve been deployed or must leave town for temporary work. Maybe you’re recently divorced or your living situation has changed temporarily. Maybe you are in between houses, like our situation. Heck, maybe you just have too much stuff and you use this as your walk-in closet to store 300 pairs of designer jeans that you bought with your student loans. I don’t know and I didn’t care. I haven’t thought of it. Maybe you use this building as your meth lab since your neighbors have grown sick of the chemical and cat piss odors emitting from your garage. But, I didn’t think people actually lived in them. Well, I’m pretty sure that they do. Talk about off the radar or in hiding. We have a few “neighbors” at the unit. They park their bikes in the unit, eat fast food, relax on piles of sleeping bags, and read or as one gent likes to do, rip paper into shreds like that one creep from Stephen King’s The Langoliers but a bit more Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath. I try not to think about them living there. It’s sad. There’s no restroom and the area does smell like dookie. It’s hot as hell. But, when you are unloading boxes of women’s studies books that you should probably be giving away to a thrift store anyways and you hear coughing fits in the unit a few “doors” down at 8:00 in the evening and there are no doors open or cars, it’s a bit freaky. I didn’t realize what little Hoovervilles these places are. They are much nicer than the originals. At least it is protected from the elements, there is a light and one electrical outlet so you can use your laptop like some of the residents. The concrete floors are icy cool when it is 90+ out. So, I wouldn’t say that it is as bad as the original shanty towns that popped up on private land in the 1930’s. I’m sure they are actually paying rent of some sort. It’s just weird and a sign of the times. I think did they lose their job and mess up their credit? Are they a sex offender that can’t get a job or housing? Are they running from bill collectors or the law? I should really stop asking questions and get to boxing up the odds and the ends that are left so I can go visit this little modern Hooverville in my neighborhood.

-Victoria

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