Eight and a Half Blocks

Carol RoachStarred Page By Carol Roach, 12th Aug 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2ulfog0v/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Personal Experiences

This is a personal experience from my childhood when I lived with my grandmother and I grew up in poverty.


I walked the eight and a half blocks every time I got a chance. I stopped and I stared. It was on display in the window front and it was beautiful. I wanted my friend Claudia to come and see it but she scoffed it off,

"You want to go with you and see what? You're joking right! I have no time. I'm waiting on Mark. If you think I am going to miss seeing him for you, you're crazy."

Claudia was 14 years old and Mark was her first boyfriend. Since he came on the scene she had less and less time for me, but even when she did have time, she was not about to spend it window shopping.

The white bedroom set

I finally cajoled Maxine into coming to see it with me. She only came the once though, she didn't make the daily trip that I did.

"Isn't it beautiful, don't you just love it Maxi?"

"It's alright."

"All right, how can you say that? It's beautiful?"

"It's just okay Carol. For heaven's sake it is just a bedroom set."

"But it is all white, and it is just like the bedroom sets those rich girls have."

"Like Cheryl? Anyhow I hardly think so. It is sitting here in the window of the Salvation Army Surplus Store. What rich girl do you think had it? And honestly it is not that nice, I have seen much nicer."

"Yeah where did you see a nicer set - in Good Housekeeping?" I said rather sarcastically.

"Well it doesn't really matter where I saw a nicer set." Maxine said, "It is not like you are going to get one anyway."

"Oh but I will, I will get this set."


"I'll get a job and save up for it, if I have to."

Maxine was right on all accounts. She was the practical one, and I was the dreamer. Maxine, like Claudia, was 14 years old and I was the youngest of the group. I was 13. We had just started high school and were exposed to students from the Park Extension area of town. Even though many of the students were working class and barely middle class themselves, for us ghetto girls they may as well have been rich

As our social world extended beyond our ghetto community we had an opportunity to visit our new friends and see how the rest of the world lived. It was Cheryl who had a beautiful white princess bedroom set. It was the first time in my life I had ever seen a real bedroom set; and one so beautiful. When I walked into her bedroom for the first time, I thought that I had just stepped into a fairytale. I thought this was Cinderella's room after she married the prince." Cheryl had a bed with two matching bureau's. She even had a matching white desk for studying. The carpet was light green as well as the beautiful satin bedspread, matching shams, and canopy. The frilly curtains on the window were also light green. If this was not rich I didn't know what was.

Cheryl's dad was a university professor and her mother was a nurse. She was the only child and treated like a princess. But Cheryl took these things for granted; she didn't realize how lucky she really was. She thought everyone lived this way.
Neither Maxine nor I had a bedroom of our own. There was one old brown bureau in Maxine's bedroom and a double bed. That bed she shared with her two sisters and little brother. While I was lucky enough to have my own single bed shoved up against the window of the bedroom that I shared with my grandmother. Her double bed was shoved up against the opposite wall. Separating the two beds was a single brown old fashioned and very ugly vanity as my grandmother called it. The vanity had four small drawers and it's only redeeming quality was that it had a mirror. Maxine's dresser didn't have one.

The vanity had two rather narrow drawers; hardly enough for one person's clothing, let alone having to accommodate the needs of two. But then we really didn't have that many clothes. My grandmother had one night dress that she washed and wore continuously, two black skirts, and five cotton blouses worth two $2.00 apiece. Everything she owned hung on the hook on the back of the bedroom door. We didn't even have a closet. Basically the dresser was filled with my things.

The bedroom set was sold

The best I could do was walk the eight and a half blocks each day to the Salvation Army to look at the large display window and the white bedroom set that was displayed inside. Maxine was right it really wasn't all that nice, but it was the closest thing I figured I would ever get to having a princess bedroom set of my dreams.

We were not rich. My grandmother could not compete with Cheryl's parents. My grandmother was on welfare. She sacrificed everything just to keep me. I couldn't tell her about the bedroom set that I wanted so badly. I knew she could never afford it. But I still could dream about it and I still could walk the eight and a half blocks everyday to look at it.

Before I ever had the chance to save any decent money towards the $75.00 to buy the bedroom set, I knew in my heart I would never have it. Our bedroom was too small. It would never fit. It would also take forever to save the money when I just had a dollar a week allowance. Yet, I still walked the eight and half blocks each day to look at it; keeping the dream alive until the day the bedroom set was sold.

All photos taken from the public domain

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Bedroom Set, Boyfriend, Childhood Dreams, Cinderella, Fairytale, Gheto, Living In Poverty, Poverty, Salvation Army, Salvation Army Surplus Store, White Bedroom Set, Window Shopping, Wishful Thinking

Meet the author

author avatar Carol Roach
Retired therapist and author of two books, freelance writer, newsletter editor, and blogger. I write, health, mental health, women's issues, animal , celebrity, history, and SEO articles.

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author avatar snerfu
14th Aug 2015 (#)

Nice moving story and I do hope things turned out well in the end. Enjoyed reading about an aspect of life of a ghetto kid.

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