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Greatest Achievement

Life Story Club Contributor

Mar 2, 2020

My greatest achievement are my babies. I had to struggle to get those babies. Those pregnancies was bad. Every last one. I had three out of seven. Four miscarriages. Every pregnancy was horrible, but yet God gets you through. With my first daughter, I found out, I lost 50 pounds. I couldn’t eat anything. I was never nauseous. As soon as I eat and sit back like this here, out it comes, hitting ceilings and walls. Projectile vomiting, it was. Hitting walls. I had no morning sickness. I just vomited as soon as I ate. I had no nausea. And in the morning getting up, getting ready for work, I was fine. It’s only when I ate something. Once I got to work, I’m vomiting all the time.

The problem was I’m working and it’s hard to work in a hospital vomiting all the time. So they said to me when I was about five months, “We’re going to change your station. We’re going to put you on maternity.” I thought, “I don’t want to go up there.” They said, “But every time you clean somebody you vomit.” I said, “Well, it smell bad.” I did go to maternity. That worked out well. But then I got toxic. So the doctor said, “It’s time for you to go on maternity leave, go home and lay in the bed and relax.” I decided, no, if I’m going to have an early delivery, I might as well do it at the hospital.

And they did put me on maternity. That was, they said, “You can put your feet up whenever you want to. You can relax because we put you on this side where it’s not heavy.” I said, “Okay,” and then my doctor comes in. “What are you doing here?” I smile. He’s all smiling. “Didn’t I tell you that you need to go on maternity leave because you’re toxic?” I said yes. He said, ‘So why are you here?” I said, “I don’t want to stay at the house.” I might as well stay here. He called the supervisor. “Home today. Don’t let her come back.” Fine. Then I delivered a little bit early, nine days early.

Yeah. I lost a tooth eating rice. All my pregnancies were bad. they couldn’t do anything about it because I was seven months pregnant by then, so I had to wait until after the pregnancy to get the tooth fixed.

Second pregnancy, placenta previa, it was on the bottom. That means it has to be C-section. Prayer works. I was 10 and a half months when she decided to come out. The baby was fine. They said it’s better to wait a little bit. So I took my two and a half year old daughter. We got on the 41 bus. Got to Eastern Parkway, got off, and walked all the way through to the Prospect Park so I go into labor. Didn’t work. Then in the hospital all of a sudden the baby stopped moving. I gave birth in Long Island College, where I work. I wouldn’t go any place else. I know everybody at Long Island College. I used to walk a lot anyway, but it wasn’t the best thing to do. But it did nothing. It didn’t work.

They did sonograms back in the beginning. So they knew the baby was fine, and I lost 30 pounds with that pregnancy. In the end I didn’t have a C-section. They brought me in on March 25th, not March, May. May 25th at 7:00 in the morning to induce the pregnancy because the process that was now halfway hovering. So they brought me in on May 25th at 7:00 in the morning to induce the pregnancy. But it was a possibility that the baby would come out first. I laid there from 7:00 to 5:00 in the evening, nothing. So they decided to turn up the IB to pit to make you go into labor. On 5:25 P.M, I delivered a girl. Natural birth. The baby came out first. The head before the placenta, at 5:25 P.M. on the head. Was I glad to see her.

That labor didn’t start until about 5:00pm when they turn up the pit. When then induced the labor. I would just laying there relaxing. It was mainly relaxing until the pain hit and then after that, that was a story to be told. I was screaming everywhere. It was a 15-year-old girl in the other room and the nurse said, “What’s she screaming for? She wasn’t screaming when she got here.” I said, “You all are rude. How dare you treat her like that.” I said, “Don’t worry about me. You won’t hear a thing.” That baby started coming out. You had to hear me. “The baby is coming out.”Nobody was around. My doctor, they were changing, and one was coming in from the office and they said he’s in the building, he’ll be here in a minute.It worked out fine.

Third, no seventh pregnancy. I had my first, fourth, and seventh pregnancy. The seventh one is the biggest miracle. I was eclamptic. About to die. Seven and a half months. My blood pressure goes up. Once you seize, you or the baby are dead or both of you. When you get eclamptic, once you seize, they got to get the baby out in a hurry. I watch many patients that happened to, but in any case it turned out good. The end results were good. He was three pounds and 12 ounces. The biggest thing on it was his head and his feet. I said he going to be a big boy.

He’s now six feet. Three pounds to six feet. Body builder. Opened up his new gym just two months ago. Pastor. Don’t let me leave that out. He was sick, really sick. Cerebral palsy, blind. They said he was blind in one eye, but it turns out he really wasn’t, and he had no fontanelles. Brings back bad news. When a baby’s skull is closed, they are anencephalic, the brain can’t grow, they’re retarded for the rest of their life. They do a lot of tests and everything and they said he really wasn’t blind. It’s the anatomy of the eye. I said, “He’s not blind. He sees too many things and he had too many things.”

And his skull, the scan of the brain, they had showed that it wasn’t really closed. It was locked over like this. That means that the brain can grow, but if it was all sealed in, they would have to open the brain up. And that’s a lot of brain surgery, open up the skull. So he turned out great. His brain grew, the skull was not closed. It was left over a little bit. God is good. That means that was a great thing. It was all right. Now with the blindness, they said no, but cerebral palsy was there. They said he will never walk and never do this and never do that.

Playing with his sister on the floor one day. And she left him, my youngest daughter. And he says, “Zet, come back, play.” She didn’t pay him any attention and he stood up and ran across the room. 15 months. What a miracle. I didn’t call in sick, I just said I can’t come. They said, “Oh, is Ricky okay?” I said, “He’s fine. He just walked last night.” I said, “I’m going to the Lamm Institute where they treat the kids with neurological orders.” I’m going. They said, “But you don’t have an appointment.” I said, “You will make an appointment. He walked. You said he would never walk. He ran across the floor.” They got everybody together, all the disciplines. It took about an hour, and they sat him on the mat at the Lamm Institute over down Amity and Henry Street. He just sat there. He just sat there. They said, “Who was he trying to chase?” I said, “My youngest daughter here.” They call her. Rosetta, sit on the mat next to him. She sat there a few minutes and she got bored. She got up and she walked away. He got up and ran behind us. “Come back.”

Greatest Adventure

Life Story Club Contributor

Feb 24, 2020

The most adventurous thing I ever did was take a ride on The Nestea Plunge, I think Six Flags Great Adventure. It must’ve been about 10 stories high, and I don’t ride things like that. It was the largest one they had for a long time. I do not ride things like that because I get nauseous. My throat’s dry. I get nauseous and I get scared. But I saw kids up there so my family said, “Oh, let’s go on that. Come on, mommy, you can take that.” I said, “You all don’t know, you don’t want mommy vomiting all over everybody.”

“Oh, please mommy. Can’t we go up?” I said, “Fine. We’ll go up.” We just had our two girls. My husband sat with Rosette, she was about two. They said, “Oh, the baby can go on.” Angie was about 5 and we get on, and it was so smooth going around. Then all of a sudden we got to the top. I said, “Oh, god.”

I saw kids on it so I figured I can take it. I should’ve remembered, I can’t even take a children’s roller coaster why would I go on something like that? And all of a sudden it went, “Zoom!.”

We got to the bottom. My daughter said, “Momma, you was screaming all the way.” I said, “You better believe it, at least I know you know I’m alive.” She said, “Mommy, why was you scared?” My oldest daughter’s afraid of nothing. Nothing. She and her husband went… Where did they go? One of the islands and they went for the safari, walking around and they said a tiger got loose.

Her husband said to her, “Run Angie, run. I’ll protect you.” She said, “You run. I got this.” He was scared. She’s never afraid of anything. Never. My oldest daughter. Never afraid of anything. Mommy don’t have that kind of… She said, “Mommy why were you scared?” I said, “Because I thought I was going to die.” I was scared for my life.

The bad thing about it was the sign said, “If you have motion sickness, don’t get on. If you’re pregnant, don’t get on. If whatever…” Two weeks later I found out I was pregnant. And he was adventurous, just like his big sister, although he’s bigger than everybody. He always wanted to follow her. Angie wanted to take the bungee jump. She wanted to go bungee jumping. We were in Disneyland one day. “Mommy, it cost a hundred dollars.” I said, “I’m not going to pay a hundred dollars for you to die. We going to need that to bury you.”

“But mommy.”

I said, “No buts Angie, no buts. You are not doing any bungee jumping today.”

“Oh daddy, can I please?” I looked at him, “Don’t you dare say yes.” A hundred dollars to die? I couldn’t see it’d be more than that to bury you. She eventually got her way when she got married.

She do everything. And my oldest granddaughter is the same. She went ziplining, filming herself doing it. She said to her mommy, my youngest daughter… She said, “Mommy, I ziplined, I filmed myself.” My daughter started fussing at her, “What would you do something like that for?” She said, “Well mommy, I didn’t tell you at first but I’m telling you now because I’m alive.”

I get motion sickness. My stomach churns. I can’t even hardly ride a car sometimes. I rode that rollercoaster because I thought, “Well this is not going to be so bad.” Because I was looking at the children up there. And my daughter went with my husband. He took her because he said, “I know you’re not going to survive it. So I’ll take the baby.” What can I say, a smart man right? Mommy, mommy. You were screaming all the way down. We heard you.” I said, “I know you did,” I said, “They should’ve stopped the ride and took me off,” but it’s too late when you’re plunging down. I don’t know if they still have that there. That had to be 1979.

Most Memorable Party

Life Story Club Contributor

Feb 17, 2020

Well we were invited to a party at the Hotel New Yorker. I think I was about 18 or 19. My sister made herself this nice outfit that everybody wears now, you know, the short pants and long jacket. She made that thing in two days. She sewed it herself.

We went to the hotel in New York for a party with friends. It got to be very uncomfortable because everybody was smoking weed. Well I was shocked. I was shocked that others who were doing it, they called me a goody two shoes. That’s OK–I don’t get filled up with weed.

It got so bad that me and one of my cousins, we went into another room to get away from it. That stuff was coming through the doors. So, we went out on the terrace–we were up on the 60th floor. We went out on the terrace to get some air because my sister didn’t want to leave yet. We got stuck in a bad situation. So, we thought we’d go downstairs and get some air.

The four of us were always together. We were all about the same age. My two cousins and me and my sister.

When we finally got out, we had to actually hold our noses and almost crawl on the floor to get away from the smoke that was all filled in the road. I said, “You know not to invite me to a party like that. I don’t do the things you all do.”

One of my cousins had a contact high. She said, “Look what they did to me!” She was cursing up a storm: “Look what they did to me!”

I was like, “I’m sorry. I told you to cover your nose.”

Some of them were friends and we were go to different places but I don’t do everything everybody else do I never did. Yeah and they know not to invite me to that kind of thing.

And then it was another party I went to my brother after me. He’s the oldest boy. He said, “You know Carleen, You never come to the family parties. Come.” They had moved somewhere in the Fort Greene Area. I didn’t go to everything my family had.

And I said, “Well I’m going to go. I’ll show up.”

I went to a little late. I was living in the nurse’s residence over here. I get there and my brother meets me at the door. He’s so happy to see me. He said to all his friends, “You’ve never met the square.”

I said, “Square?” It actually hurt. I feel like I know what he was talking about. He introduced me to his friends I had never met. I don’t have time to do this kind of thing. Plus I don’t do those kind of things. He said “the square,” and I actually felt a little bad, and thought I might as well leave. And my sister-in-law saw me and she said, “You know Carleen, you know he loves you a lot. He would never hurt your feelings.

I said, “Is he high?” He was high. He spoke what he felt. She said, “I made sweet potato pie.” I said, “Well, in that case I’ll stay that.” Because she can make a mean sweet potato pie, just like my momma.” In that case I’ll stay.

I guess we all have uncomfortable moments. But somehow they all work out. He really didn’t mean to hurt my feelings but that party at the Hotel New Yorker. I said, “I’ll be doggone.” I said, “What is going on here?”

At that point I couldn’t see no heads, I could only see feet. I had to crawl out. As much as I love pigs’ feet, after that I couldn’t eat them for a while, looking at everyone’s feet on the ground. And they were all up on the ceiling, in their heads.

Laughter

Life Story Club Contributor

Feb 3, 2020

My best friend and I started traveling to other countries and states when we were about 18. We both became nurses at the same time of 16. So at 19, we started traveling.

At 20, we went to Bermuda and where we stayed, we met one of the nurses in a nurse’s residence. Her family lived down that spot. So three of us went and her aunt put the three of us up. Made one big room with three beds, like a little dorm, and the thing was she said, “Do not come in after 12 o’clock,” because she had to go to work. “Be in on time.”

Now one of the girls who went with us, we had met living in the nurse’s residence together, she was kind of out there. We didn’t know. As soon as we arrived good and get into the house, and we lived down in the valley. You had to go way down into the valley and most people do not drive that strip to get down to the bottom. They let you off at the top. We get there and all these guys showed up only to find out Lorinda had been there before. She made a reputation for herself. So they thought me and her friend came to be part of the reputation. Said, “We don’t do that!”

So now she went out. We will decide to go separate from her. And, this one man, not guy, man, decided he wants to take us out to one of the clubs. Now when we go places together, we never separate. If they don’t want to take the two of us, then goodbye. But we went to Bermuda and this guy wanted to take her out to a club. And she said, “Well what about my best friend?” He said, “I really want to take you.” He said, “But I’ll take the two of you.” I say, “That’s the only way we’re going to go!” Took us to this nightclub. He was trying to liquor us up. He asked, “What are you drinking?”

“Ginger ale or Coke.”

Then of course then he got mad.

“That’s all y’all are going to drink is ginger ale? Y’all need some hard liquor.”

I say, “You look hard enough to drink, like you done drank it all already.”

So he decided, about 12 o’clock, he’s not taking us back down in the valley. We said, “Fine.” We got a cab and went to the top of the valley. Now we had her house was all the way down. Don’t ask me how far it was, but there’re no lights on the streets. There are no partitions that keep you from falling into the ditches.

So we’re walking and we’re talking and we said, “Well, it’s so dark. We better hold hands to make sure we don’t lose each other.” We busy talking, I didn’t realize I wasn’t holding her hand anymore. And then I heard, “Help!” I don’t know why it’s funny to me, but I heard, “Help!”

I said, “Where are you, Ernestine? Where are you?”

“I’m down in the ditch!”

It was pitch black dark. I said, “Well, keep talking. Let me find my way back to you.” We managed to get her out of the ditch and get to the house and, when we got there, all of a sudden it struck me funny. I was laughing.

She said, “You laughing at me?”

I said, “No, you know I wouldn’t do that.” But, I was hysterical laughing.

She said, “You think that was funny?”

I said, “Of course not! That was terrible. I’m so sad. I’m sorry I didn’t fall into the ditch, too. It’s a good thing I didn’t fall with you.”

Then when Lorinda finally came in a couple hours later and said, “How was your day?”

And I said, “Ernestine fell in a ditch.” And I’m laughing hysterically again.

She said, “Why are you laughing?”

I said, “I’m not laughing at you. I’m laughing with you.” I said, “You know me better than that by now.” We met at age six. I said, “You know me better than that”, but the laughter was so crazy. Every time I thought about it, I broke out hysterical laughing.

She said, “I’ll get you.” I said, “Please do! Stop me from laughing!” Hysterical laugh every time I thought about what danger we were in. I just broke into all this laughter and it lasted for a couple of days. Every time I looked at her.

It was so pitch black dark, but we always take a shower before bed, but she went first.

She was mad at me. She waited till the next morning. I said, “Why are you mad at me? You know, we’ve been best friends for many, many years.”

She said, “I know, but you never laughed at me.”

I said, “I’m not laughing at you. Honest to God.” And every time I say that, I burst out into laughter. She waited until I went into the bathroom to take a shower, and took my picture.

I said, “Pay back.”

Then she took a shower so I took her picture too. We decided to throw the pictures away

She was mad at me. She was never mad at me before. I wasn’t mad with her, even when she took the picture. It was a pay back. I’ll get you.

Oh, I thought she was dead. That would have paralyzed me more! Not funny. You have a friend that you did just about everything with, she spent nights at my house, spent nights at her house. We became nurses together. She’s a month older than me. We were 16. We worked at the same hospital. We had another friend who joined us, who graduated maybe five years earlier. We would go to each other’s house, sing together, do everything, and then she decides to fall into a ditch. What was I supposed to do?

And I didn’t notice that I wasn’t holding onto her hand anymore. We busy talking and trying to make sure we still know each other’s around and I’m gabbing a mile a minute and then I hear her going, “Help!” Oh my God. I thought she was going to die. I thought they got her! I thought those guys got her! They sort of followed us to the top of the mountain, to the top of the valley.

You know, we had to develop the films in the store. And as we got on back, she said, “Here’s a picture of you.”

I said, “Okay, here’s picture of you.”

And we tore them up and put them in the garbage.

Most Joyful

Life Story Club Contributor

I’m trying to think. I’ve had a lot of joyful days. My most joyful day, when I found out about Jesus and how to live for him. I was really kind of young, 13, 14. It’s the greatest thing that ever happened to me. It makes life better not to worry about anything. I would say, if you trust him, he’ll take care of you. He takes care of me no matter what I did. I always excel because he takes care of me. Nothing because of me, but because of Christ in my life. That’s the greatest joy I’ve had with everything. Everything that seemed like a big risk always turned out to be really great.

And it’s still that way, regardless of sitting in this chair, we spend time doing a lot of things we may not like, but it’s all about growth, so sitting in this chair doesn’t bother me. Well, I’m going to get a little tired sometimes.

I discovered Jesus through my grandmother first. And then going to church when one of the pastors from where I was born, he brought us in New York when I was three and we started going to his church. It’s on Utica and Fulton street when I was 13, 14. And then a lot of family was there from the South where I was born, a lot of people from here. I was 10 and the church next door to where we lived on Ralph Avenue, Baptist church. They said, “They have summer school, Bible summer school. Would you like to come?” “Sure.” I excelled really well. Even though my grandmother taught me, I had places in time to go where I learned more and more each day and it makes it easy for my living no matter what I go through.

No matter what, I’m heaven bound. Can’t be lying. I make jokes, but my jokes are very innocent.

Talent

Life Story Club Contributor

Jan 13, 2020

A few things. But no matter what I did, teaching, nursing always believing giving people a fair chance. And I’m really good with young kids and teenagers. When they don’t have parents, I bring them home. Bring them home, they share what we have and they’ve grown up to be adults, a lot of them, and they still in my life. It’s always been important to me how children are treated. Some children are not treated well at all, and then they go someplace else. Everybody mistreats them because they don’t have this or they don’t have that; when we should always treat one another the way we want to be treated. Love and kindness. And like Ruth said, the most important thing is they know about the Lord Jesus. And Christianity has been a part of my life. All my life. I’ve worked as a youth in the choir. I ran the children’s choir. I taught Sunday school. I did a lot of things in the church and then God gave me my own.

And they’re wonderful. Oh, yes I always wanted kids. I wanted eight to 10 like my mother. It didn’t happen for me. I have three. But I have about 10 adopted kids who didn’t have parents.

One of them was here last year. I met her when she was 12. She was here last year. She 57 now. They’re five sisters and their mother had died in January of ’73 at Long Island College Hospital. And we wind up moving into that building after I got married in ’73 June on Livingston Street. I’ve always lived in this area once I started working. And they lived with three boys older than them. One was in jail, one was on drugs and the oldest one was at home and he was on drugs.

The father was 72 years old and the youngest daughter was eight. They were 8, 12, 13, 14, 15. It was really hard on them, so I started taking them with me wherever I go. And they became a permanent part of my life. I love children. I do not like to see children mistreated. I don’t like to see older people mistreated. Nobody who needs help should never be mistreated. Because when you do, and I’m there, I will get in on it. I will. I don’t like to see people mistreated just because they can’t do what you can do basically, that’s it.

Favorite Family Holiday

Life Story Club Contributor

Dec 9, 2019

Favorite holiday. I think like everybody else, Thanksgiving and Christmas, because at those times that’s when all the families get together. Everybody gets together, and we have lots of family. Our family live all over. Everybody comes from one general area; we get to meet everybody talk to everybody. Everybody cooks about the same as everybody else. Everybody cooks who can cook. Those who can’t cook, we make them do something else. Bring the paper plates, you know, you can’t cook. We can’t have nasty stuff in here. Everybody cook, everybody has fun, the kids all play together and those are the opportunities that we had to meet all our relatives in the South and those of us who came here to New York, we get to meet everybody. It’s long days. They usually last two, three days, so if they must sleep on the floor, pajama parties, no room, people on the floors, just for everybody to stay together.

Christmas has really been one of my best holidays. When we were younger, our parents couldn’t afford to get gifts for us, only for the little ones, and we understood that. That’s how we found out there’s no Santa Claus. Mommy and Daddy are Santa Claus. They couldn’t afford to get me and my older sister gifts, so all the younger kids got gifts. There’s eight of us, but with the promise that when the summer comes and our father gets his bonuses, we would get our gifts in the summer. Unfortunately for me, he bought gifts for my older sister, I never got anything.

Did it hurt my feelings? Yes. One summer he brought her a whole console with the TV, the record player, the radio. I thought it was for both of us. “Do not touch”. Fine, so you get through that. My mother would buy me little things when she was able to knit needles and stuff like that, try them out. That’s how it turned out to be a blessing because I got to learn a lot of things that maybe my other siblings didn’t get to learn with the artwork, the needlework, everything, so it worked out better in the long run for me. We don’t realize. Sometimes things happen in our lives for a reason and there’s something better that’s more lasting than a toy that’s going to break up in two or three days. My knitting work and things like that are still available? Now, my all my family has my worked, so I’ve done a lot.

Then it was helpful to go to school and use all your skills to do your best at everything and even in school sometimes we couldn’t have too much of the holidays off because in the nursing classes you had to go to school all the time. That’s the hours you put in, so we had Christmas parties at the school. At Clara Barton for the nursing students. Those turned out to be good. We exchange gifts and that was nice. Then as we get older, now I’m working. I figured it was my job to make Christmas really Christmas in my household, so I start shopping in June. It’s a lot of family. I only get two pay checks a month, I go shopping in June for everybody.

And blessings always come. For some reason I started getting double checks. Look at the check, said to the supervisor, “That’s not mine”. He said, “yes, it is”. “It’s not mine, I don’t make that much money.” He said, “Do something special with it.” Next payday, it happened again, “That’s not mine”. Now I’m trembling. They going to kick me out for spending all that money. He said, “Do something you need to go do.” So, I took the money and bought my typewriter and everything I need. I was getting ready to go to college so I could get my RN. I was 17 getting ready to go to college. I’m working the midnight shift at the hospital as the LPN and the money is flowing in like nobody’s business. See, God has a way of blessing you when you endure.

So, the things I had to endure as a child, were not as harsh as they really seem, but the time when a child, it makes you feel bad.

I figured now it was my time to get back and I did. Unfortunately, my cousin, and everybody down South, figure the girl is a nurse now she can afford anything she wants. I’m getting letters, cousins who have kids and grandkids. They want this. We need this. I said, well mother, you better go talk to your family cause they going to get on my nerves. They get on my nerves. What they think? They didn’t send me anything. They didn’t send me anything too a joy. They wrote me letters on what they want to enjoy.

I said, mommy, don’t make me have to take care of them. I said, my mouth can be rude, but they come here. They send the younger ones up to butter me up and then, Oh, this one’s sent you a letter. I said, “Doggone”. They finally understood, you’re older than me. You should be working for yourself and sending me something. You don’t have to send me anything. Say hello and goodbye. Gave the letters to my mother.

Christmas always turned out to be the best because I understand now. It’s not about getting, it’s about giving and I’m still that way. I’m at the point where I really don’t know how to receive gifts. Oh no, no. I don’t need that. Somebody bought me my first birthday gift they gave it to me yesterday. My birthday is coming up. It was my daughter’s birthday yesterday. She was supposed to be born on my birthday. But she came early she didn’t like to do her birthday with mommy.

Our holidays are just like everybody else’s. Everybody getting together and we need wide open spaces because we have more than 40 people at Thanksgiving. The adults alone are 50 or more, and then there’s the kids’ room with their table. What a great time! I love a big family.

Young Trouble

Life Story Club Contributor

Dec 2, 2019

Taking my younger siblings and running away. When things are that bad at home…There’s your father, there’s your mother and there’s your oldest sister who all stick together and everybody else is in trouble all the time. So I used to feel bad about it. So I took the little red wagon, packed the little ones in, got my brother after me, put the blankets, got me a big jar, made Kool-Aid and took extra packs with me. Because I can get water from the park, take the peanut butter and the bread and off we go. I told them, “Oh, we’re going to the park.” We went to Lincoln Terrace Park with the intention of never going back again. But every night from Eastern Parkway, I could see my father coming in the entrance. I made sure to stay near the entrance in case we get into trouble, we can get out quick.

And in the meantime, play handball, have fun, let them rest, toilet them, do whatever I have to do for them because my father, my sister behind them, “You’re in trouble.” I didn’t care. So what, we got out for a little while, they punished me for a couple of weeks at a time. I couldn’t go anywhere and as soon as they let me out again, I did it again. I was helping, I thought so. I did it about three or four times.

Then I realized, they weren’t my children. I had no right to take them away from my mother. Not that she couldn’t defend herself against our father, but you get tired of fussing and fighting all the time. But I realized I was hurting her more than I was helping the kids and me. So I stopped. I was 10 years old. I was 10. The siblings I took with me were eight and a half, seven, seven, six, five and four. I left the twins at home. There’s eight of us.

And I’d take them to the toilet and the bathroom by Lincoln Terrace. They had a nice bathroom. And while they’re awake, stand up so I can play handball. I needed some fun too. We’d camp out from at least 12 o’clock until whenever my father walked through the park, about eight o’clock at night. Because he came to get us if he didn’t. I had no plans to go back home. I had peanut butter to keep us for a week. Big jars and bread.

Dec 2, 2019

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