My most terrifying and dangerous childhood memories were at home. Not alone. MY MOTHER HEARD VOICES TELLING HER TO KILL HER CHI Innocent hide-and-seek turned terrifying hide-or-die. And I spent hours hiding in our unfinished basement.
It was summer vacation.
As bad as they were. Her stroke made it worse.
Was to live with my father’s wife. That house wouldn’t hurt you physically, but it would crush your soul. My father would shirk away as his wife tore into me. Life wasn’t a box of chocolates, but you never knew. You were a hindrance. This woman was crushing me.
I spent the next year at my mother’s house. They accepted that I was staying with friends. They wanted me out of sight and mind. Those were unsupervised 15+ years ago. I threw parties to make money, but I mastered the can game.
Instead of refunding me, the store simply dumped my empties in a dumpster. I’d jump in with garbage bags and return cans. In the store, they would stare at me. This teen with cans in garbage bags. But I did it.
That way, we could both count and profit. He started taking beer and frozen dinners out back when he took out the garbage.
I was living off egg sandwiches at home and school at the time. That was before I worked at Wendy’s.
School Was an Anchor, and Sports Were a Respite
Those were years of stupid and dangerous behaviour. While I disliked school, it provided a safe haven, and sports provided a break.
I adored my mother’s But it was dangerous and confusing at times. Hate my father’s home. And I’d sleep on the floor, in a car, or on a couch to avoid it.
So, what about these kids stuck at home? I get fewer reports of child abuse. But I don’t think it’s because there’s less abuse now. Less people see it.
Schools should be closed during a pandemic. But some kids need school. They require a physical location. They need to see a friend. The most common place for abuse and violence is the home. We know. If they are young, they are stuck there. Or, if they’re older, they’re out having fun like kids. Like I would be.
A Broken Home’s First Rule Is Not to Tell Anyone, Even if Black.
Whenever I tell a storey to a child, I always see myself in the mirror. They look at me differently, as if they need to talk to someone who has “made it.” No one should know about a broken home, especially if you’re Black. They never ask what’s going on, but if I’m coming back.
Now there are no easy answers. But I believe we must ask the right questions. So, how are the kids? Especially the most vulnerable.
Some of them need us right now, and I can’t see us answering or even listening for the phone.