Thursday, December 7, 2017

They’re Driving My Car!

Never in my life have I experienced the kind of pure love as I did with my kids. Truly they taught me how to love on a level that I didn’t know existed. Now that’s the good part. Let me tell you of the day I woke up to find them driving my car! Just to set your mind right, they were 12 and 10 year olds.

         I was so sick that I had to drive myself to the Emergency Room. My boss had allowed me to leave work early because I was feverish and short of breath. It was the worst feeling in the world to struggle to breathe. Even my chest began to hurt when I tried to cough. A proverbial elephant was sitting on my chest preventing the simplest in and out task of breathing.

         The ER doctor told me had I waited an hour longer I would have died. I was diagnosed with Bronchial Pneumonia.  My temperature was 101 and I actually felt like I was dying. So after getting my prescriptions filled I went directly to bed. I put my oldest Warren Jr. in charge and told him if I wasn’t awake in 2 hours, wake me up so I could try to make dinner. Putting him in charge was probably a mistake. I should have called my mom to come get them, but I decided that I could handle this on my own.  Big mistake.

         I had a Toyota Camry and for those who know the horns on them sound different than a domestic vehicle. The antibiotics and cough medicine with codeine had knocked me out. I remember dreaming strange things like hearing my car horn blow. Surely this had to be a dream, but then I heard it again, yet this time I woke up. The medicine was working; I hadn’t coughed anymore, and had actually begun to sweat while sleeping. My temperature had also dropped to almost normal.

         I was still weak I had to hold onto the nightstand to make my way to my bedroom window. When I did my eyes couldn’t believe what they were seeing. My kids were driving my car up and down the street! They weren’t going fast, but my Warren Jr. was driving, while Shawn was doing the Princess Di wave. Each time Shawn would wave, Jr. would blow the horn. So I wasn’t dreaming! I got angry and swore to myself I would kill those two. They were always coming up with shenanigans that made me a better parent. The only problem was I didn’t want to be educated in parenthood in this manner!

         Instead of killing them, I called my mother and asked her could she come get her grandchildren before they became non-existent of this earth.  Then I somehow walked down the stairs, made it to the front door and with as much strength as I could muster, I hollered their names. When they saw me standing at the front door, the looks on their faces was priceless. Jr. slowly pulled the car into the driveway and shut it off. They looked at each other seeking to figure out how to place the blame for their latest scheme. 

         In hindsight I can laugh at that day because no one was hurt, and the police weren’t called. My mother and sister eventually rescued my kids from harm and took them away to their house.  At that moment I was relieved that Jr. and Shawn didn’t get hurt, they didn’t cause harm to anyone else, and I could really get some rest so I could heal. But those kids are my life. Jr. is deceased now, but the 23 years he was here I was blessed with his presence. Shawn is now a married woman and her life stories are still just as comical. I love my life!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

I Am A Domestic Violence Survivor

(This is an excerpt from my upcoming book "Out of Bondage.")

I don’t know what I said during the interim of me trying to get him off me and to even stop him from hitting me. I’m quite sure I was vocalizing something, I just can’t remember what it was. After he slapped and I somehow wrestled my arms out of his grip because at that point he was hitting me with his fists. He was real crafty with how he would beat me. He would never beat me where I would have a black eye, or busted nose or busted lip. He would always hit me with his fists about my body. He would hit me with his fists all in my head—and God is great because I could have been killed at any point with the blow to the right part of my head. If he had hit me in my temple I would have died probably. Like I said about my body, where I would be bruised up and all that kind of thing. And just so you know, I used to be an athlete. I used to play softball, volleyball, tennis, I swam. I was pretty athletic so I was very, very limber. So with him hitting me and having me held down like that, I managed to get up. I was smaller. I only weighed at that time 129 lbs, and here was this man, 6’1” / 6’2”, probably weighed every bit of 185, 190, he was hitting me like I was a man. You know. I knew I had to get up from there and I didn’t think anything at that time but to get free and to stop this whatever was going on.

     And we lived in a framed house. I wasn’t brick or anything like that, and it wasn’t two stories. It was simply a one-story home. There were two windows in our bedroom. One window was at the head of the bed right by the closet, and the other one was at the foot of the bed, on the opposite wall of the door. I don’t know what got into me, it was a hot night, I jumped out the window. I didn’t jump from a glass window, I jumped through the screen. The window was pulled up and, I don’t know, I kicked the screen out or something. I don’t really remember how I got out that window, but I got out that window before he could get me or came back in the room. I think—now that I remember correctly—he got off me for some reason and went to the bathroom as if everything was normal and I remember running down the street and not stopping. My ex-mother-in-law lived a few miles from us, and I remember, that was the only place in my mind I knew where somebody that I knew was close to me that could possibly help me. Because you know when you’re in a situation where something bad is happening to you, something traumatic, you’re trying to get to safety, and this was maybe 1 o’clock in the morning, so there weren’t really a lot of people driving. I didn’t see any police because I’m quite sure had I seen police they would have picked up a half-naked woman.

I ran over to my mother-in-law’s and, mind you, this was the first night, the very first night that we lived together married. I had left the kids in the room because, like I said, all I thought about was escaping. When I got to my mother-in-law’s house and it’s in the middle of the night so she’s terrified to answer the door because, you know, this is Detroit. Middle of the night, somebody ringing your doorbell, it might not turn out good for one of y’all. But, thank God, she didn’t come to her door with a gun, I sure do thank her for that because she had a light—it was like a motion sensitive light that would come on if you came to her door, either the front door, the back door, the side door. So I came to the side door because I knew this was the door she always accepted guests in and it was the door I guess that was easiest for her to get to, you know, from her room. 

(Look for the book "Out of Bondage" coming soon 2018!)

Saturday, November 18, 2017

There's Something on Fire!

I remember the day we set our neighbor’s tires on fire.  Before you start thinking we were bad kids or even worse heathens, let me set the scene for you.

We were on summer vacation and as usual I felt free as a bird knowing I didn’t have to go to school, no homework, it was freedom! My grandmother had made breakfast. Granny always made a full breakfast for my grandfather and me. My mother was gone to work so my grandparents watched me while Mama was at work. This day the bacon and smell of just perked coffee filled the house. I had my favorite a bacon and egg sandwich while granddaddy and grandma had grits, eggs, bacon and toast. As a kid I didn’t like grits, they reminded me of slop and it just looked too messy to go into my stomach.

As usual I hurried and ate my breakfast because I didn’t want to miss one minute of playtime. If I had my way I would have played with my friends from sun up to sun down. Only stopping to come into the house to use the bathroom. I had grown to love my childhood friends; we had so much fun together. I had to hurry and get outside because we were going to finish playing baseball in the alley. Back then baseball meant the world to me and I loved playing it because I could hit the ball far and I could run fast!

We had one problem: a mean old neighbor. I don’t even remember his name but I know each time one of our rubber baseballs went in his yard he wouldn’t give them back! As a matter of fact he would bring his scissors from inside the house and cut the ball in half with those ungodly huge scissors. My stomach would drop a few levels as I watched him destroy our balls. Didn’t he understand we all chipped in to buy that ball? Money didn’t grow on trees Mr. Neighbor. Yet we all grew sad each time he found our balls. We tried to be nice about it, asking if he would please return our balls. Instead Mr. Neighbor appeared to delight in our suffering. No he wouldn’t give the balls back, but I will torture your young minds as I destroy your fun.

One day the baddest kid in our group of friends decided to get back at Mr. Neighbor. You see Mr. Neighbor had a bunch of old tires in his backyard. They were lined up against the fence in his yard. Keith suggested we set the tires on fire. As a group we were powerful and agreed this would be our revenge. The only problem was no one had matches.  I thought quickly and remembered my grandmother had kitchen matches and I could go into our kitchen and grab some for our mischievous event.

Lucky for me my granny wasn’t in the kitchen when I slipped in the side door and grabbed some long matches from the box. I didn’t want to take the whole box because I thought it would be difficult to sneak them back in the house. I gave the matches to Keith and he took and then the other three and struck them against the wooden garage of Mr. Neighbor. Flame came quickly and Keith threw all four matches into the pile of tires. We all scattered and ran to our individual houses. My grandfather was taking a nap on the front porch so as far as he knew I was still sitting on the porch-playing Jacks. 

After awhile I heard the fire truck sirens. Not moving and pretending I didn’t know why the fire trucks were coming, the loud sirens woke my grandfather. The first place he looked was to see if I was still sitting on the porch. To his satisfaction I was.  The firemen were able to extinguish the fire quickly with no damage to his home or garage. I thought to myself, great no real damage, but in all is fair in love and war mentality, Mr. Neighbor got what he deserved. Only this wasn’t the end of it. I looked up and Mr. Neighbor had walked around the corner to my house. You see Mr. Neighbor was one of my grandfather’s neighborhood friends. A group of retirees who sat on the porch and talked about the troubles of the world while finding humor in many things.

Mr. Neighbor saw me sitting on the porch; I started trembling inside while trying to remain cool. My grandfather stood up and asked Mr. Neighbor what was the problem. Mr. Neighbor began accusing me and my friends of setting his unused tires in his backyard on fire. My grandfather went into ‘protect your family mode’ and told Mr. Neighbor that his granddaughter had done no such thing that I had been on the porch at all times. Furthermore my grandfather told Mr. Neighbor to get off his porch accusing his sweet granddaughter of such a terrible thing. Mr. Neighbor didn’t like it, but he knew the rule of life that you don’t go over someone’s house and start trouble. The homeowner always had the advantage.

I’ll never forget that day nor will I forget the smell of those burning tires. To this day I can discern burning rubber over all other burning materials. It’s just something you’ll never forget, like the smell of a dead body. I got away with that but decided then I would never commit another crime, it was hard work!