Saving Vera Jo – Our Vintage Camper Adventure

Finding a Vintage Camper

I wanted a “canned ham” vintage camper to use for our admissions booth for two reasons. First, they are just stinkin’ cute and I love them. Secondly, I didn’t think the wind could blow it over, like it’s done every admissions setup we’ve ever tried. Oh, and it would give me a place to store my every-growing collection of “show stuff.” Problem is I’m kinda cheap, and I wanted one that needed a LOT of love, so I could make it my own.

Vera Jo, a 1967 Monitor Coach Company Canned Ham camper

Vera Jo, a 1967 Monitor Coach Company Canned Ham camper

Well, after 3 years of wishing, one of my favorite vendors, Kim Slage with Bless Your Heart posted one on her Instagram feed for sale, and my heart about stopped. That little trailer was perfect, just what I’d been looking for. So I bought her sight unseen, then headed down to Bonham, Tx to pick ‘er up.

Sadly, she’d been sitting for a while without windows, and wasn’t in the best shape. So when a big semi blew by us on the highway, poor Vera Jo lifted right off her trailer, and  kind of exploded.  God Bless my long-suffering husband for taking it as well as he did.  We stored her overnight at a wrecker yard, and drove back down the next day to begin the task of saving Vera Jo.

vintage camper blow up

 

Demo Day for a Vintage Camper

My sweet daughter was home from college for a summer visit, and agreed to come along and help us demo a trailer. Just what you would want to do on your vacation! It took us every bit of all. day. long. to get ‘er done, but at the end of it, what was left of Vera Jo was loaded into the pickup and on a trailer, and we headed home.

 

Day one of refurbishing a vintage camper

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Rebuilding Vera Jo

For the next four months of weekends, I trailered. Sometimes, I got my husband or kids to help, on those tasks that I couldn’t do alone.  But I banged out dents, filled holes, sanded, painted, finished, and ran electrical for this little darlin’ all on my own. Hubby and sons helped lay flooring, build walls and cabinets, and install windows. Did I mention we live in a rowhouse? So yeah, this all happened on a driveway, in the middle of the neighborhood.  I was a good neighbor; I didn’t start at 6 am, and I cleaned up the messes every single day I worked. In four month’s time, I met most of the neighbors, got two offers to buy her when I was done, and one request to refurbish another trailer (umm, no thanks). But I got her done in time to go to the Christmas shows!

I can’t say this is an experience I’m likely to repeat, but who knows. Some day, I may see another classy vintage lady that needs to shine again.

Our Mascot, and all-around great gal,  Vera Jo

I love having this camper. Any time we are on the road with her, people stop and ask us about her. She is the perfect “greeter” for the show, and her picture is on the phones of many, many of our shoppers! She loves the attention!

Vera Jo, a rebuilt 1967 Monitor Coach Company Travel TrailerAt the Bonham Jingle Market, I got to reintroduce Vera jo to Kim and Lovie, who were so happy to see her again, and very happy with what she had become! That’s Kim, btw, in the red and white shirt right by Vera Jo.  You might also notice the little patch up by the roof. I didn’t get the aluminum on quite right, and there was some exposed wood, which would leak. I like the patch, it makes my junker heart happy, so I decided not to paint it.

Vera Jo will be out and about again at all our shows, so ya’ll come see her, and shop all our fantastic vendors! See you at the Markets!