Tag Archives: parents

A Place of Your Own

14 Oct

A Place of Your Own

by L. Stewart Marsden

The boy sat on his bed, angry.
His mom and dad drove him crazy with all they told him to do
Make your bed!
Clean up your room!
Brush your teeth!
Go to school!
Set the table!
Eat your spinach!
Take a bath!
Do your homework!
Go to bed!

When he complained, they told him

When you live in
a place of your own,
you can . . .
Leave your bed unmade . . .
Leave your room a mess . . .
Let your teeth all rot . . .
Never go to school . . .
Eat anywhere you like . . .
Have chips and sodas for dinner . . .
Stink to high heaven . . .
Let your brain rot . . .
And …
Stay up the entire night!


That didn’t sound so bad! And he said so.

Day and night, all he could think of was a place of his own.

One night, when the full moon filled the night sky, the boy grabbed his backpack filled with his important things*, climbed out the window and shimmied down the downspout to the ground.

It was late. No one was around.

He walked through the town.
He into the countryside.
The moon was the only light.
He walked quickly and thought about a place of his own to keep from being afraid.

Only once did he see anyone else.
A boy walking on the other side of the road, walking quickly in the other direction. The boy had a backpack, too.

They didn’t speak.

Soon the boy came to a road sign. “A Place of Your Own – 3 miles.”

He quickened his pace.

He came to a driveway that wound up a small mountain. A mailbox with “A Place of Your Own” stood beside the driveway. He could see a house with the lights still on at the top. He walked up the driveway.

The house was empty. It was neat and tidy. There was a big puffy chair in front of a television; a table and chair in the small kitchen; and a lumpy bed tucked in the corner.

The kitchen cabinets were full of great things to eat:

Popcorn and candy
Chips and cookies
Canned sodas and other soft drinks

And the refrigerator was full of

More sodas and soft drinks
Ice cream and pop sickles
chocolate sauce and whipped cream.

The book shelves were filled with comic books and all kinds of toys.

“This is heaven!”

And the boy lived just like he wanted:

He never made his bed,
He never cleaned the house,
He never brushed his teeth,
He never went to school,
He never ate at the table,
He never ate spinach,
He never took a bath,
He never did homework,
He never went to bed on time.

Life was great!

But little by little
the boy began to think about
Fresh sheets and a neat bed,
A tidy room,
White teeth and fresh breath,
Playtime at school with his friends,
A nice-looking dinner table,
Clean underarms,
Math problems,
believe it or not,
Going to bed.

So, he began to do make up his bed,
Pick up his things and put them away,
Brush his teeth,
Put everything away,
And finally …
He took a bath.

He got his backpack and all his important things, and left the house on the mountain, closing the door behind him — leaving the lights on.

He walked down the drive way and passed the mailbox by the light of the full moon.

He saw only one person along the way. A girl on the other side of the road going the other direction. The girl had a backpack, too. They didn’t speak.

At home, he climbed up the downspout to his window, hung his backpack up after putting his important things away, put on his pajamas and crawled into bed.

As he closed his eyes, he thought, “I can wait for a place of my own.”