This is not a tale I made up. This is the actual account of how my life has evolved over the past 5 decades.
I was born in the city of Cincinnati in Ohio. I don’t remember much of the house I was born in because I was only a baby. What I do remember is the accident that occurred at the house with my little sister. She plays a big part in my life as you will see. I guess I was about 5 or 6 years old and she was maybe 4. We were at home down stairs playing. My mom was doing laundry and ironing our clothes. You see back then that’s what moms did. Anyway, while my mom was getting another load of laundry out of the washer, me and my sister started playing next to the ironing board. The iron was one of those old-fashioned ones that was all iron and you had to use a spray bottle to wet your clothes to create steam. I or she, (don’t remember) bumped against the board and the iron fell off. It hit my sisters arm and burned her bad. I was so frightened that I ran and hid in the closet. My little sister was yelling and screaming in pain. Her skin was coming off. Boy was we in trouble. Getting whooped or beat for accidents while playing in the house were very common in my family and we had one coming. Before we got our punishment, my sister had to be taken to the hospital. It was a long night for her and me. She in pain from the burn and me in agony over the anticipation of a beating that was coming as soon as my parents got back. It was one of the longest nights of my life. They finally came home and my dad who was the disciplinarian in the family found me under my covers in bed crying. I had the oddest thought that if I was already crying he would have pity on me and not whoop me. I was wrong. I was beaten that night and the following morning for playing in the house. I made the mistake of saying that my little sister got off easy because she was just put to bed and never received any punishment for playing in the house only me. That’s why I got the second beating the next morning.
Those beating are so much a part of my life that to this day I can recall quite a few of the most severe beatings I took. I learned later in life that my father didn’t know any other way to discipline a child other than with a belt because he was always beat as child.
We moved from that house and moved to the house that I truly called my home. It was in this house that I went thru all those stereotypical growing pains that all kids go through. I became rebellious at this house. I was a very good student in this house, I ran away from home in this house, I committed my first robbery at this house. I did all the things that later in life lead me to the lowest times in my life.
I went to school for the first time in this house and loved going to school. I was an excellent student. Straight A’s, perfect attendance, honor student, student council. Hell, the one thing I remember most is playing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in a play we did in the sixth grade. I was the man who had changed the country. I stood there reciting his” I have a Dream” speech and it was a sense of awe that I felt. I began to see myself then as a person who could change the way people act and do the things they do in their lives. I let that dream go for other reasons that I will get into later. But back to being the King. After that day I found myself being looked upon as a leader. Kids would come up to me and ask,” how can you stand up there and read in front of so many people?” At the time I didn’t know how I was able to do it. I guess what it was, was me not having any fear or that I believed in what I was reading that it didn’t matter who I was out there in front of. I was going to do my best. This I wish I had remembered as I went further along in school.
When I reached junior high school. I found myself in a different environment. 1 I was not the most popular kid in the school like in elementary, 2 my closet friends were not attending the same school as me, and 3 I had just begun puberty. I felt like an outcast. I was smart, and I came to school every day. Those were things that nobody did. Only people did that were considered “nerds”. I can’t remember being called a “nerd” back then but it fits in my story.
So being this guy who never missed school got straight A’s or who never got in trouble brought a lot of unwanted attention my way. I began to get teased about being this smartass kid and teachers pet became a nickname that was given to me. Hating this and all the negative attention I was getting. I thought to myself that I should do what the “cool” kids are doing. So, I found a guy who lived a block away from me and started hanging with him at school and after school. I learned how to walk cool, talk cool, dress cool. The big thing back then was huge Afro’s. Girls used to love braiding guys hair and the longer your hair the more attention you received from different females. I loved it!! I had found my way into the cool crowd. I was no longer an outcast. I was soon to discover that being one of the cool kids had its disadvantages. I was given a weekly allowance of $3 dollars and most of the time I would save it because I never went anywhere that cost money and my mom and dad provided so well for us. Oh, I should mention that I come from a family of 8 kids, 5 boys and 3 girls. That also played a part in the development of me as a kid.
I used to take my money to school on Fridays because that was the night that everyone would go to these house parties. The house party was the place to be on a Friday night. That’s where you would meet a girl and try to get to know her. I had no experience in such matters, so I was the one who used money to buy the attention of girls. My friends liked that. It meant that the night was on me. In the beginning it was pops, chips, candy bars things like that and it was a sugar rush we were chasing. Little did I know that the sugar would lead to something far more addicting and destructive to me than sugar. That comes about when I started rebelling against my family and there “rules” all my friends did as they pleased, why can’t I? I thought. So, I challenged that rule with my parents. I couldn’t sit down or lie on my back for 2 days after my dad beat the holy hell out of me. I didn’t learn my lesson. Oh no, I became more rebellious and started skipping school. Along this time, I was introduced to beer and weed. I hated both of those drugs when I first started using them. I didn’t like the way they made me feel and I always puked. I would get sleepy and must leave early or sleep on a friend’s couch until I was able to walk home. I couldn’t come home drunk and high, so I would stay out until I was well enough to walk in and go straight to bed. I knew I was going to get a beating, so it really didn’t matter what condition I was in. Funny that I was concerned about being drunk and high when I came home because both of my parents were heavy drinkers and who were they to question what I was doing? So, I thought. My thinking is a recurring theme in this story of mine. I have this strange affliction that allows me to make some bad decisions. Some would call it stupidity. Others call it arrogance, alcoholism, addiction, mental illness, and a new thing that is being used by doctors and psychiatrist these days PTSD. I have all those things going on in me and have no cure for it.
After doing this same game every weekend of getting drunk and high and coming home to these beatings. I said fuck it!! I just won’t come home. You see how these ideas of mine seem so logical? I was only 15 or 16 years old making these major decisions in my life. I knew what was right for me and I was not going to let nobody, or my parents tell me what to do.