I’m a product of emancipation, civil rights movement, and the first real drug epidemic to hit the Black community. Before there was crack there was heroin. Of course I was way too young to realize any of this, all I knew I was safe, full, and not wanting for anything living with my grandparents and older cousin. My new reality had become an environment that allowed me to explore childhood with boundaries and security. My cousin’s were crew. As the youngest it also meant me being the bunt of pranks.
Tarrytown, NY of Westchester County had a growing working class population and families residing in the surrounding counties, White Plains, Yonkers, Ossining and New Rochelle . The G.I. Bill was used to purchase homes within the redlines, but our communities were thriving. Now in 1975 the Vietnam war was over and chocolate tie was changing the make up of the Black family infrastructure.
I wasn’t immune to this new landscape. My mother was in the early stages of addiction and my dad was out trying to be a super star leaving me with grandparents that should be enjoying their golden years, not caring for me and my cousin.
Living with Grams and Gramps provided a stability that I needed and grew to love and depend on. I was the youngest of the first batch of cousins which only solidified my role as the snitch, later dubbed as salt shaker.
I’m saying all of this to say, I grew a tad bit complicated, being exposed to extreme poverty, a working middle class house hold to glimpses of fame. All that will mold me into the adult I am today.
“This will be, an everlasting love. This will be…” Natalie Cole was being played from from a window, serving as the conductor to the breeze, making the sheets dance on beat and the wire double Dutch ropes snapping the concrete keeping time. I sat on my front stoop soaking it all in. I remember the day being a perfect day. I remember feeling safe. I remember knowing I was home.