Hot Peanut Butter Sandwiches: A Hell’s Kitchen Story

Hot Peanut Butter Sandwiches

 

This story took place when I was 8 but when I was a teenager, Mama, Baby Sister and I lived at 313 W. 47th , in Manhattan, (Hell’s Kitchen in NYC) in a railroad apartment and the rent was $125 a month. There were rats and roaches and no heat at times and lots of other amenities that the apartment probably doesn’t have now.

Mama’s Song & Mama’s Story

Mamas Song by Bobbee Pennington, 2019

Mama taught me to live poetry

She taught me to sing and to dream

She created refuge from poverty

Mama was a woman of means.

We lived in a tenement apartment

With rats and roaches and dingy halls,

Yet in Dresden Blue trimmed in white,

Mama repainted the walls.

Ethereal piano music of baby-song,

Composed by sister sparrow

Flowed through halls of dance, painting and dreams,

Against a canvas of city sorrow.

Mama taught me to live poetry

She taught me to sing and to dream

She created refuge from poverty

Mama was a woman of means.

Sometimes our dignity would threaten

To tear at the seams,

Then Mama would quickly retreat to the plan

For the house of our dreams.

A country home with no falling plaster,

No rats in the walls,

With French doors and windows in every room,

And brilliant, sunlit halls.

Mama kept giving us dreams

Though so many of hers were broken,

And when her loneliness was bitter,

Mama’s complaints were left unspoken.

Mama taught me to live poetry

She taught me to sing and to dream

She created refuge from poverty

Mama was a woman of means.

Mama was a woman of dreams…

3 thoughts on “Hot Peanut Butter Sandwiches: A Hell’s Kitchen Story

  1. LIVED IN HK DURING THE 50’S AND 60’S AT 54TH AND 10AVE. TOTALLY DIFFERENT ANIMAL, IT WAS TERRIBLE. WHEN IN COLLEGE ENGLISH PROFFESSOR WANTED US TO WRITE A PARAGRAPH THAT WOULD ATTACK AS MANY SENSES AS POSSIBLE. I WROTE ABOUT MY IMMIDIATE AREA, HE WAS A VERY HARD GRADER TO EVEN GET A C+ FROM. I GOT AN A+ AND HE HAD TEARS IN HIS EYES WHEN HE GAVE ME BACK MY PAPER. HE TREATED ME DIFFERENTLY FROM THEN ON.

  2. Thanks for sharing a seldom told story i also grew up on 47st 324 from 52 to 73 never looked at us being poor dad was ths super and had a day job in our building we had aacadem award nominated actot an Olympic gold Meade list and mary stuart mastersons parents always felt it was the best place to live holy cross was a great s chool no cost a police station and a fire house on the block tivioly theater madison square garden ice land the xkating rink never board as kid

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