Friday, September 23, 2016

Born in the Wrong Family...

It all began around June of 1945 and delivery was made promptly on 3/26/1946. I'm told it was a sunny day but where I had been hanging out it was pretty cramped. Then things went from bad to worse as I was removed physically from my little place and stuff into what felt like a straight jacket and squeezed down what turned out to be a birth canal. That's a heck of a way to start life but I persevered.

As luck would have it, I was born into the wrong family but no one would listen! "I don't belong here," I kept telling them but they smiled and indicated I'd get used to it. I didn't. My mother screamed a lot, not just at me but everyone. One older brother tortured me when no one was around and denied everything when I complained. He was a "pincher," but only in places that wouldn't show. He was also an arm twister. He was 3 years my senior and always a head taller. He told his friends to beat me up and then watched as they did. My father never talked or said much of anything. He was just "there!" We weren't allowed to play with my younger brother, as he was too fragile and might get hurt. See, wrong family!

The next thing I knew, they were sending me off to a parochial kindergarten for training in a foreign language, forced to drink curdled milk out of a tiny bottle that had been sitting on a radiator for a couple of hours, watched other kids my age just cry their eyes out until they vomited, then bused home. I don't recall saying a word at school for the entire time, about 5 months. Hated it! One day and it was winter time, I missed the bus going home and didn't know what to do, I was 5 and alone. I walked over to the nearest tree and pushed the brim of my hat into the tree and just cried. Seemed appropriate! The next thing I knew, the bus was back for me, evidently the driver took a head count and came up short! I was saved to return to the wrong family...

First grade was at a different school, Marshal Elementary School, about 85% African American and obviously White kids were the minority and because of our ethnicity, were victimized horribly. I was forced to hold my older brother's hand all the way there and all the way home, unless I was being beaten up, then he would act like he didn't know me. At age 9, We all moved to the suburbs, after my mother yelled at my father enough, he borrowed money from my grandmother to put a down payment on a house. A small 3 bedroom that we thought was the lap of luxury, it was. We were used to all three of we brothers sleeping in the same bedroom in a rather poor neighborhood in Chicago, where my mom and dad slept on a Murphy bed in the only other room besides the kitchen...

I suddenly had a life, friends, baseball, football and basketball. Even hockey! Kids ringing the bell and asking if I could come out to play. I even had a best friend! Life began!

To be continued, someday...

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