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!!

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…

Swiper No Swiping!!!

We went to Grandpa Pigeons, it was Walmart before I knew what Walmart was. My aunt and cousin went around the store stuffing items into their coat like gang busters! I was just wandering around looking at random junk when my aunt approached me and asked if I would put a pink One Hundred and One Dalmatians sweater in my purse for her daughter…

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.

The Good Kind of Crazy

I was ready! I had watched Full Metal Jacket like a hundred times, had worked out every day, and packed everything on the pre-boot camp check list in a backpack. At zero dark thirty on October 30, 1995, I left the MEPS office and hopped on the Metro link train headed to the airport. I…

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…