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Growing Up Bronx

Episode 74 – Surviving Winters in the Bronx

Hearing about the folks struggling due to the inclement weather brought back some sort of fond memories. I call them fond because it reminds me of how hard my mom worked to take care of our family.

We lived in the hood and this was very close to the period when landlords were intentionally burning down their own apartment buildings to collect on the insurance. Hell, even in the 80s and 90s I remember some buildings mysteriously catching fire. So that being said, having repairs done in the home, or your typical general maintenance wasn’t really a huge priority for landlords or their superintendents.

As I think back on my childhood, I cannot remember one single time where I saw one of the building workers come over to fix anything. I’m sure they did, I do remember some of their names and vaguely remember their faces, but I can’t actually recall an instance when they came by to fix anything at this moment.

So, when there was no hot water cause “La boila” was broken, the only option we had was to boil water in the stove for our bath. I mean, it was that or bathe in ice water. I don’t particularly remember taking a bath with the pot, but I remember the water being boiled and that it did happen.

In addition to that, we also had to put up garbage bags to cover the draft coming in through the windows cause the insulation sucked. Its sort of funny cause we do similar stuff now at home because we don’t take down the AC for the winter.

I remember seeing my family bundled up because we didn’t have heat at home. Again, because “La boila” was broken and who gives a damn about some poor people living off of welfare in the Bronx? We should just be grateful that they even gave us any help at all. How dare we ask for some heat too! Damn ingrates we were!

All that being said, I feel for our brothers and sisters in the struggle. I hope that you all make it through. We have felt your pain in life.

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