Ron and Gidget built a house of prayer in their trailer park

I have two friends named Ron and Gidget Marcinko. They lost everything in a flood in Nashville, Tennessee in 2010.

Ron and Gidget became homeless after losing their trailer in flooding of the Cumberland River and its tributaries.

Not only did their trailer flood and everything in it, including wooden carvings and crafts they lovingly made for friends and family, photos, videos, but they also lost their pride and joy that they’d put blood sweat and tears into for the past several years.

Ron Marcinko in front of the House of Prayer that was destroyed in the Nashville floods in May 2010. Photo by Greg Taylor in January 2010.

Together Ron and Gidget had build a House of Prayer in their trailer park. They are the first people I’ve ever known who built a prayer center inside a trailer park property or any neighborhood for that matter.

Due to some illness, Ron had temporarily lost his eyesight and at one point was literally blind. He talked Gidget through how to use a nail gun and Gidget did much of the actual construction of this house of prayer. When it was completed, they invited pastors to come and preach each Sunday for the trailer park residents. I visited the House of Prayer one time in January 2010. They were very excited for the dream of having a peaceful place to meet God in the trailer park to become a reality.

Ron and Gidget were even planning a wedding for a young woman who had grown up in the trailer park. Gidget and Ron had taken her under their wing when she would wander the park alone and neglected by her parents. They were excited about this wedding and were even getting requests for others. People would ask if they could just sit in the house of prayer and pray. Well, that’s why they built it, so of course they accepted and opened it frequently for residents of the trailer park to find God in the quiet moments there.

But then tragedy struck.

This small house of prayer was swallowed up in the flood so high that it was literally up in a tree when the flood waters receded.

Ron and Gidget were devastated, their trailer was full of sludge and ruined with water damage. Ron had been the caretaker of the trailer park and now the deluge had washed away his own trailer, the House of Prayer, and his livelihood of woodworking–many of the beautifully carved wooden pieces and baby cradles he made were destroyed in the flood.

Ron is Russian-Czech and Gidget is a Tennessean, but they met in Yukon, Oklahoma at a skating rink after both had been through some awful family situations. Gidget needed someone who would be faithful to her and Ron needed a woman who would help him through the sickening flashbacks from Vietnam combat.

They got together but never married until they moved to Tennessee and eventually had a traditional Czech wedding, complete with intricately stitched dresses and ceremonies such as the cutting of the feathers, which I can explain another time.

For a long time Ron was suicidal but the thought of Gidget coming home from Shoneys or Cracker Barrel where she waitressed to find Ron dead with a hole in his head prevented him from pulling the trigger of the Smith and Wesson .38 police service revolver in his dark moments.

I’ve stayed several nights in Ron’s and Gidget’s trailer and spent lots of time with them, and I have learned that they are two of the most fascinating people I’ve ever met.

I’ve been writing a book about them, a love story and tragedy of sorts with a redemptive ending about how Ron and Gidget make it through adversity and come out on the other side together. Last I talked to them, they were homeless and living with friends. I don’t know if they got another trailer yet until I make another visit, which I may be doing very soon.

I can’t seem to write the story good enough to do them justice, so it’s taken me six years so far and counting. There is much to tell and many parts of the story, so I’ll put out some chapters to see what you think.

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