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…

The drinks were many and good decisions were few.

I never thought I would be the drill team type. That sounded like extra work and it would take away from my weekends and so I was not really interested. The tour was just a formality, something that was standard stop on the base tour. Once we reached the home of the Crackerjacks (they were named after the traditional navy uniform) I was a tad intrigued. I was told that while being on the team did require some of your personal time, there were major perks. All students in A school had to meet up early in the morning and march in large groups to school, team members did not. All students had to have monthly uniform and room inspections team members did not. I was sold!!

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…

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.

Coldblooded!! (David Chappelle voice)

I had a few months before I left for the Navy, so I figured I would hang around all my friends and family before I left. I had saved up a nice lil stash of money and planned to sponsor multiple rounds of shenanigans before I hit the road.  Since my birthday was in September,…

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…

Victimology

Victim is an interesting word. in the late 15th century it meant to sacrifice a person or animal as part of a religious rite. In the mid-1600s its meaning shifted to denote someone being “hurt tortured or killed” by someone. In the early 1700s, there was more evolution regarding what types of things one could…