It all started, on a slow day at the beauty shop. Boredom often gets people in trouble but thankfully Ashley and Jessica just decided to start a TikTok account.
Owning a beauty parlor, one would think they would do videos about hair or makeup tutorials. Nope, they’re talking about their “crazy childhood.” Lots of people have wild childhoods but most don’t talk about it, but thankfully with Tiktok more and more people are finding solidarity with others that didn’t have a picture-perfect upbringing.
Their videos have some people connecting different cultures in America, between poor people living in urban projects and poor people in trailer parks. A surprised, “Wait, y’all do that?” is not an uncommon response to Ashley and Jessica’s videos. Ashley told me, “So the trailer park in the projects and stuff are not that far away from each other. Like, no, they’re not at all.”
As with most impoverished communities they each survive on communal resilience. Ashley explained trailer park living is that way, “I guess, [it’s] because most people are struggling so much. People like help each other. And like you said, you could make a meal just walking from door to door to door, getting ingredients, you know, because we did that many times… because we didn’t have food. ”
Answer to @sharm826
Jessica and Ashley grew up with a mother who had severe addiction problems. Like many parents with these issues they’ll use their children or family members to get what they need from doctors. Jessica was convinced that she was “allergic to codeine and we wasn’t. I mean as crazy as that sounds it got her more pills, the ones she wanted.” Now that they’ve grown up they understand that it wasn’t that their mom wanted them to stay in pain, but it was the addiction speaking.
Addiction is often a hidden problem in American families, Jessica told me that her videos on this got some people to potentially realize that their Mom or Dad was hiding an addiction. “Wait, my mom said I was allergic to codeine too!… Well, you probably need to check that.”
Another great theme that Trailer Park Chronicles hits on that is subtly about living (or surviving) in poverty is the perks of living in a small town. Unlike in larger communities where you don’t necessarily live down the street from your doctor – in a lot of small towns you do. Also, there might be only one doctor, one dentist, or whatever in the community. Ashley told me of the time she was just out with her kid and caught the local doctor pumping gas, “I caught him at a Shell Station one time and was like hey my son’s got, he’s throwing up and he has diarrhea… and he’s literally paying for his gas and he’s with his cell phone [calling in a prescription.]” It also helps now that the doctor is a regular at their shop, “because he’s scared of them.”
Ashley and Jessica’s Trailer Park Chronicles is the real deal – proven somewhat by the interview – their town in Tennessee had just got hit with a snowstorm, something not so ordinary in their area. Ashley was a little late as she explained on a TikTok she made shortly after our interview because she needed to scrape off the ice with a CD case. As a rural Upstate NY’er I can tell you that’s country living – there’s many a time I destroyed a Bruce Springsteen CD’s case because I let a roommate borrow my scraper and waiting for the windows to thaw out would cause me to be late to work. The Mayor of her town also was throwing snowballs in the beauty shop and even hilariously interrupted the interview to ask ‘why they were wasting my time.’ I promise, it was not a waste of time.
Ashley is currently working on a book and soliciting titles – if you’ve got an idea comment on the video below.
Reply to @kipper1104 stay tuned! ❤️