Trash Bags

One night before bed, Ms. Brown came into the girls room with a large black trash bag. We looked around to see who was leaving. You have to understand, being a foster kid at Ms. Brown’s isn’t perfect, but it’s almost as close you can find in Chicago. The hope is to stay here until it’s time to go home.

Pickled Pig Feet

Being a foster kid at Ms. Brown’s was almost like living at my grandparents’ home with a bunch of cousins, except ghetto. We had rules, she was strict, but we were allowed to be kids and have fun. For the rest of the summer, I almost forgot I was in foster care. I shared a…

Pocketed Change

After two weeks with Ms. Brown, I was informed that a social worker was picking me up in the morning, so I pack my bag.  Packing my bags was basically a black trash bag stuffed with the clothes I had received over the last two weeks, my tooth brush and a brush that a neighbor…

Sneakers, Forced Necessity or Fashion Statement?

Sneaker deals and athletes makes perfectly good sense. Sneakers aka gym shoes aka tennis shoes are required by almost every athlete from the peewee softball player to the 40 something man who plays pickup games at the Y. At some point hip hop co-ops the sneaker culture and the term sneaker head becomes a thing.

Spare Change

I started by putting on the clothes from the previous day.  And tried to brush my hair back into a braid with my fingers being my only grooming tool. Once fully dressed and somewhat presentable, I emerged from the room hoping to see a bathroom before anyone saw me.  No such luck.  

Loose Change

The foster care system is a necessary evil in this country.  It is an institution that is suppose to be a solution for children who need temporary shelter to escape an abusive or neglectful situation.  In June of 1984, my siblings and I were introduced to Chicago’s foster care system.  My mother was charged with…

Nobel Prize… Meet Hip Hop

“This thing that I did had not existed before, and I am one of many where I come from. It ended up being called hip-hop, taking the drum break from pop, rock, jazz, blues, funk, disco, R&B, and using duplicate copies of records. I would take one section and repeat it over and over again. This self-made music bed served for the break-dancers, and later, for the MC’s.”

Moving… Again

We would challenge each other, we made a pact that we wouldn’t become statistics and had a strict no profanity rule.I was able to developer friendships that extended past school hours. I was with them when the news about Marvin Gaye died.
We sat on Tasha’s steps and cried. After the last tear had been spilled, we combined our loose change and went to the corner store for a bag of penny candy. Squirrel Nuts, Mary Janes, Jolly Ranchers, Jaw Breakers, and loose Now & Laters. Life was good.

Fire!

Nights in the apartment produced voices that only my mother heard. She would fight against the voices with prayer and reading the Bible. She would sit us in a circle and read to us from the Bible. If our young eyes got heavy, we would be awaken by yells or a hit upside the head. Some nights my mother had to compete with our neighbor who would play Queen’s Another One Bites the Dust. I never recall meeting this neighbor, but my young impression was he was crazy. I was becoming fully exposed and recognized crazy.

M&Ms Part II

Riding on the train from New York to Chicago was pretty uneventful. My mother sat quietly for the majority of the way, I honestly think I was getting on her nerves with all my questions. When she would talk, she would mention the M&Ms and how she couldn’t wait to share them with me. Chicago…