“Room of One’s Own by the Month”


The picture is not of the rooming house from my high school days. Those have all been torn down to make room for an expansion of the University. But the houses that my boss owned looked very much like this one. They were old single family homes which had been converted into rooming houses. Most of the rooms came without bath or kitchen. The baths were shared, as were the kitchens.

We required nothing more than a month’s rent and a security deposit to rent a room. My job that summer was taking the keys for the front door and the available room and escorting the prospective renter to look it over. The houses were all in about a ten block area, close to the office, so we simply walked over.

The rooms were adequate, furnished, and clean. I didn’t find out about the renters, because we didn’t ask them any questions. The only time I was curious was when an obviously pregnant woman, alone, wanted a room for four months. I wondered where she had come from and why she had come to Portland to have her baby. But it wasn’t my place to ask.

Looking back, I am grateful that I didn’t have any bad experiences. I was alone, young, and showing rooms, usually to single men. Only once did a man ask if I came with the room. I quickly said no and escorted him out of the building.

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