Reminiscing on my Childhood
With Mother’s Day approaching I penned some memories of my childhood. When thinking back, I can only thank God that my brothers and I turned out to be decent citizens in life despite the fact the deck was stacked against us. Thank you God, Pops and MOMMA!
Like many black kids in the USA, I was raised in a single parent household. My mother did a good job raising 3 boys (2 Twin boys and myself 4 years younger) through the turbulent 1980’s. Drugs, gangs and general urban malaise were the order of that day. There are plenty of Urban 80’s Gang/Drug movies to refer to if you want to get the flavor of that time. She had to work a lot as raising and keeping 3 growing boys fed was difficult. We had no choice but to become independent and fend for ourselves. That meant for example my 10 year old brothers and myself at 6 years old had to spend long stretches of a work day fending for ourselves until my momma got home. My mother always tried to rent apartments in good (aka Safe) neighborhoods. But this came with toll. Better neighborhoods meant more for rent. More money for rent meant less for food. So there were some lean times. And with that period being the 70’s, recreational drug use was the norm.
I would say my mother was not a drug addict but generally she was a drug user throughout the 70’s and 80’s. I remember the being about 5–6 years old when my mom got me high for the first time in 1977. I remembered where we lived and the fact that after I took a puff of weed, I proceeded to run around our coffee table over and over again. Seemingly for 1977 that felt normal. My mothers drug use did not get in the way of providing for my brothers and I until one period in the early 80’s, 1983 perhaps, when free-basing cocaine (smoking it) became the new thing as most people were snorting it in that time. Mind you this was just before the cocaine derivative “Crack” came into play. I am quite certain things would have been much different and WORSE if she would have used (smoked) crack. In that 1983 period she and by connection WE lost our apartment and then [she] became homeless. My 2 brothers had to move in with my grand mother and I had to move in with my father. My brothers and I have different fathers.
My mother and father were married for a few years before divorcing but LUCKILY my father stayed in our lives. This was and generally still is an anomaly for Black fathers/families in America. My father never treated my brothers different from myself; even now I have to literally think to myself that my brothers are technically half-brothers. He loved and disciplined us all the same. If we messed up we got punished. There was never any abuse in or around our household. All the while growing up we would speak to my dad nearly daily and spent every weekend with him at his small one bedroom apartment. Looking back I can say it was great and I have so many great memories. There were so many simple (and cheap) things we did that made those great memories. It is those kinds of things I am trying to create for my daughter. There were also many life lessons, some spoken and some in deeds, he taught me.