Looking Back, My Final Thoughts

 

This is my final post under the category The Foster Home.

I know many of you are wondering about the other members of the foster family and what my feelings towards them are. To be honest, I really never think of them except Sandy. Growing up with them was nothing special or memorable to say the least. We never did anything as a family other than going to Brooklyn to visit family every few weeks or travel up state New York to visit my mother’s side of the family maybe once a year. Maybe we went to New Jersey to the Mall once or twice that I remember but that was it.

We never went to any Amusement parks, Seaside park in New Jersey, Ball games, Weekend get a ways, Coney Island, Fishing, Kite flying, to the Beach, or just a god damn stroll in the park as a family. But my wife did all that when she was a little girl. Most of my friends who I grew up with all did. Our first day back from summer break, we would write essays what we did over the summer and most of my classmates would stand up in front of the class and share where they went during summer breaks…my paper said “Played with my Friends’…and that’s it. So the meaning of Family didn’t mean much of anything to me living there.

Linda always seemed to have plenty of friends. From what I remember, she came off as the leader of her group. They always came to our house, and would pull up in their cars honking the horn for her, even ones with motorcycles which I thought was the coolest. She did have a sense of humor and was always up to date in the fashion world. Like I said many stories ago, she can wear any jeans and have all the boys jaws drop in the neighborhood. Every so often she would ask for a hug from my younger brother, her sister and myself for no reason at all.

She loved watching old black and white movies on Sunday mornings. But, she did have a temper and it would break out once in a while. I only remember once she got her ass handed to her by her father because of a boy he didn’t like. It was during dinner time and she answered back to him and he let her have it. I must have been bout 14 but when he was hitting her, I wanted to take a fork and stab him in the back of his head, but my mother stopped him and she went upstairs crying…I will always remember that day.

Today, Linda has a family of her own and is a proud grandmother. She has been married for close to 40 years to her teenage sweetheart and they live in a typical middle class neighborhood in New Jersey. I just hope that she is in total denial what her father did to me, and deep down inside, her heart has been heavy over the years trying to forget what  happened inside the house we all grew up in. I just wish she gave her family a heads up when she found out that I was ready to tell my story through this blog. She could have handle this in a different way, but instead, accused me of lying. That’s ok…because I know she remembers.

Now as for my older foster-brother I say this. I remember when he was about 17, he lied to his parents that he wanted to go to the movies to see a James Bond Flick and needed to borrow his mother’s car and was taking me with him. But instead, we went about five blocks over to meet up with all his friends drinking beer and smoking the Gonja…now that was cool! But most of the time he picked on me, called me names over the years and got me in trouble. I will never forget what he has done that night at the dinner table with the library book.

We did get along, but it was always to his benefit one way or another. But that never stopped him from treating me like shit and was a cheap prick when it came to paying me for delivering his newspapers. But that’s ok…go back and read Severance Pay! Today, he still lives in that same shitty neighborhood not far from where we grew up, with his family on Staten Island and employed with the same company for many years. But, to be honest with you, I have nothing else to say much about him other than….. he can go fuck himself.

Now Sandy I really liked. She never got me in trouble other than over playing to her record albums without asking or arguing over what was on the television, little things like that. But as I said before, she never intentionally got me in trouble and never treated my like shit. She ever called me names and she always talked with me even if it was just mall talk. As far as I was concerned, she was the most beautiful girl I ever saw and I was living with her. It wasn’t till I came back from the group home that I started having other feelings for her but would never tell her or show it in any way.

I had a social worker who showed up once a month and his name was Rafael. He would ask me the same questions and wanted to make sure that everything was fine moving back in with the same foster family. At the end of our session, he would always end it by asking me if I had any sexual feelings or thoughts or experienced fantasies towards both my foster sisters. If I even gave the slightest hint that I did, within days, I would have to be removed from that family….and I think we can all safely say we all know why.

But instead, I would respond like I was insulted that he would even ask me such a question but responded back that I never did and I thought of them as my sister and loved them both as such. Let me tell you this, if I was Pinocchio, my nose would have stretched out and smashed right through the living room window and into the neighbors house across the street. But I was convincing enough and our session ended with a smile and out the door he went. But all kidding aside, I really loved Sandy and would have done anything for her. Today, she still lives on Staten Island and single. I really don’t know much about her which is sad, because I really loved her.

As for my mother I will say this. She was no saint, but she was my mother. I think of her often, specially during Mother’s Day and her on her Birthday in May. I will let you all in on another untold secret. She has never once entered my nightmares, even to this day. When I went to her husband wake, and it was time to leave, I was asked to leave by her son Barry so they can spend a moment with each other. So I walked up to where my mother was sitting,  I leaned over and whispered to her…” I never stopped Loving you Mom ” … I than gave her a kiss on the cheek and hug her lightly and walked away with my family…… and never saw her again.

 

Looking Back (part II)

I thought this was going to be in two parts, but from the direction this is going, will be in three parts instead. Let’s start from the very first day inside the parlor at St. Michael’s Orphanage Home back in 1968. When I saw that family for the first time through the windows of the French doors that separated my brother Dennis and I  from them… I was curious. When the doors opened up and they walked in the room where we were in and introduced…I was nervous.

The day my younger brother and I went with this family to their home for the first time…I was totally scared.Look, I have no idea what my life would have been like had I never left St. Michael’s Orphanage Home, or what my life would have been like growing up there or any group home for that matter. But I do know living in the foster home where I was placed from the age of 6 till 16 should have been better childhood experience than the life I knew from the projects and the orphanage combined.

It should have been a good childhood…not a perfect one, hell, wasn’t asking for a great one…just good would have been fine with me. Through those years living with that foster family I learned not trust anyone…period. I carried my trust issues all the way into my adulthood which I was fine with. As far as I was concern, anyone who entered into my life at one time or another was full of shit one way or another. I also had anger issues (thanks to my foster father), which wasn’t a surprised considering I grew up getting my ass beaten from the age of  7 till I was 15 by him.

I know there there’s a member of that family who will dispute some if not all of my stories, who I describe totally  both “delusional” and down right in “denial” what took place inside the house I grew to hate more than anyone will ever know. I don’t understand why I was treated the way I was by my foster father, but I am sure in his demented mind he justified himself.  Just because I did some bad things didn’t make me a BAD CHILD. Jesus Christ, they took in two kids from a broken home and they didn’t think that the oldest (me) wouldn’t have any issues?

Ok, so I took a couple of watches as a child and lied about it…I was fucking SEVEN and TEN YEARS OLD people!!! You damn right I deserved to be in trouble and punished, but not to be choked over it or have my head slammed into a pantry door.My foster father became my monster under the bed. He became my monster inside my closet. He became my monster waiting for me in my dreams even to this day.

That is no way to live through life, just ask my wife who has to deal with it through most of our marriage. I grew up hating the man I called dad, and what he has done to me. I hated when I would hear the dogs barked as he walked through the front door from work. I hated dinner time. I hated the sound of his voice. I hated when he would still be in his work clothes on most weekends like Ralph Kramden from the show The Honeymooners.

I grew to hate everything about him, including his existence. If anyone believes he worked hard to give me a roof over my head think again. He didn’t pay for all the food on the table and the clothes on my back or pay my tuition to go to Catholic School…you know who paid for all that…Catholic Charity Home Bureau! When Christmas arrived and my bother and I received gifts, who do you think paid for that?

I learned at the age of 17 by my social worker that my foster parents were receiving checks every month for room, board, clothing, and weekly allowance( which I never saw), for over 8 years, minus the eight months living in the group home, for both my brother and I. Wonder if they took  me back because they missed those checks. Even with all the therapy sessions, I still hold so much anger and hate towards my foster father. I have been in denial for many years and just recently excepted that I have “Daddy Issues”.

I always said that most dancers (strippers) at Go-Go bars have daddy issues, and after meeting and talking with them, they all seem to share the same type of abuse by the hands of their father or step dads one way or another. To this day, I never profile strippers (dancers) anymore. Really, who the fuck am I to ever judge them and the choices they make in life? After this chapter is over, you will read  first hand the bad choices I made after I left the foster home for good.

When I learned of my foster father’s passing over 15 years ago from my younger brother. To be honest, I felt almost a sign of relief. I was told he died alone in the living room while my mother was in the kitchen, or something like that, while sitting in his chair. As my brother was telling me this, I can only wonder what was his final thought right before his last breath? Anyway, I had to go to his wake, but not to console his children or see my mother for the very last time, but to see for myself that he was truly gone. I figure if he was gone, my nightmare’s would have died along with him……I was wrong.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So Long

Before I begin, this will be the last story I will be sharing with you all from my childhood. Trust me, I could have added many more stories, but  if I have done that, what would be left to share when I work on a couple of projects to consider this coming fall. Many want me to write a book and one even suggested I write a screen play off my blog which I really find intriguing as well as challenging. But for now, I just want to end this chapter of my experiences living in the foster home and continue to share many stories surviving out in the real world at the very young age of sixteen.

Some thought I would be just fine while others believed I wouldn’t live to see my twenty-first birthday… including myself. So, I will tell my story of my last day in the foster home and close it with my thoughts and feeling never shared to anyone except to my Queen of thirty-two years .Moving back to the foster home started off just fine at first. I was getting along with everyone including my relationship with my foster father.

Tension at the dinner table s had diminished and conversations were civil as well as entertaining at times. Linda had been with her boyfriend Henry for a couple of years and really cool to be around. He always joked around with me when he was over at the house, and I think he took a liking to me in a way because how I was treated and was around to hear some verbal onslaughts before I left for the group home, but never was actually there for the beatings.

So, it was nice to see him again and felt good when he was around. But he did have to deal with my foster father’s nagging for auto parts time to time. You see, Henry worked at a family owned auto salvage yard and was there since his early teens till about his late twenties or early thirties, when he moved on to a much higher paying job for a major company. There might have been other  reasons why he left, but to be honest, I really don’t care what they were…it was so long ago.

But I do remember we had to listen to my foster father’s ranting and raving how Henry never got him parts that he wanted and when he wanted it. It started to become a hostile relationship, but seemed more behind each others back then in person. But Linda had to deal with that more than anything, and I remember her getting pissed off about it plenty of times. We seemed to get along better and she did confide to me about how her boy friend was getting tired of her father knocking him for stupid things, and not for nothing I was on her side.

I heard first hand some of the things her father would say, and always came off  sounding immature and childish. Always acting like a kid who was promised a toy by his parents but didn’t get it fast enough. I felt bad her Linda because she seem always upset about it…and I didn’t blame her.I noticed that my foster father slowly started acting weird sometimes. I mean, not dramatically but something wasn’t right anymore.

He would start off with comments about my hair or the light beard I was sporting at the time. I guess the smoking in the house didn’t help either. But hell, I grew up with his Pall Malls stinking up the house for so many years, and after what I went through the group home for those nine months, I could have picked up a lot worst habits than lighting up Marlboro’s that’s for sure. But, I stop smoking in the house out of respect for my mother more than anything, but I knew it bothered him I was doing it anyway no matter where I was.

But the comments became more frequent and then he started complaining that every-time the phone would ring, it was always for me. Now, I was blowing it off at first, but then as it gotten worst, I started responding back to him, and it was all down hill from than on.We began to argue just about everything that you can imagine. If it wasn’t my choice of fashion, it was my hair growing long. It seemed that he was actually looking for shit to to start in about.

Back then I liked Barry Manilow, I can thank the girls I went to elementary school for that, but sure enough, if one of his songs came on the radio, he would call him a skinny bottle of milk because Barry, yes we are on first name basis, sometimes wore a white tuxedo when he would perform or he call him some other lame ass name just to get under my skin…and it did!  He started pulling this shit at the kitchen table.

I already had enough of that in my life with him, there was no way in hell I was going to go through that bull shit again at fifteen. He really didn’t see that not only I was talking back to him, but I showed no fear in him either, and I know that bothered him more than anything because he kept it up till my mother would intervene and tell us both to shutIt is now Christmas time and I had no money for gifts, so I decided to cut out of class for a couple of days to work with my best friend’s brother who worked for Coke delivering soda throughout N.Y.C.

You guess it, I got into a big fight with my foster father during dinner. But as soon the name callings started I would just get up and leave the house with him yelling for me to come back. I became so defiant by now I would respond with a fuck you, but I am sure he never heard me or who knows what would have happened. But I remember that night I over my friend’s house I would share with his parents what was happening and told them my plans after the holidays were over.

They didn’t say much, but I knew what they were thinking. When I told them I was moving back with my foster family, they did warn me that things were eventually going to go back to the old ways…and it sure did, just minus the beatings. I knew staying longer in that house was going to get worst, and after Christmas my prediction came true.I don’t remember what caused this final battle between my foster father and I, but I believe it was over my sister Sandy and I arguing over something inside the living room over a show on T.V.

I think I  shove her or something like that, and when she went into the kitchen, her father had asked what was going on with us. I know she didn’t intentionally say anything to get me in trouble, but it did anyway. From what I remember, my foster father and I had the biggest argument and we both ended up by the back room next to the kitchen, between the bathroom and the coat closet. Then it happened.

He  grabbed me by my neck and I raised my hand back at him with a closed fist and was about to hit him just as my mother jumped in between us, and yelled at me to put my hands down. I just stared at him for what seemed like minutes with pure rage in my heart, and made it very clear and told them I will be calling my social worker and I wanted out of the house for good. Within a week , plans were made between my social worker Judy O’Brien and my oldest sister Gloria for me to move in with her because I made it very clear that I was no way going to go back to any group home or an orphanage for that matter.

Once the plans were final a date was set for my last day at the foster home. I will admit, it was very uncomfortable for those remaining days. No one talked to me, and I didn’t  bother attempting to talk to any of them as well. All I  kept telling myself that this was all going to be over soon and just to hang in there. When that day came, I can tell you  no one was more relieved than me. I couldn’t even sleep that night knowing within hours I was going to be out of that house  for good.

That snowy afternoon, I spoken to my social worker and she informed me that she will be meeting me at the house and we would leave together. When she arrived, I kissed my mother good-bye and we both gave each other a hug and I told her I loved her and that I was sorry. I than stuck my head into the kitchen from the hallway from where I was, and told my foster father I was leaving. He just sat there by the stove, looking out through the window in his work clothes smoking his Pall Malls and only said this….So Long.

 As I walked down the street with my social worker, I stopped to look for the last time at the house that not only held so many bad memories and dark secrets, but couldn’t help but to think that  the family that was supposed to save me from a life living in St. Michael’s Orphanage Home,  instead it was that very family that destroyed my childhood instead. I looked closer at the house only to find my mother standing and looking through the open glass on the front door looking back at me.

For a brief moment we just looked at each other, than I turned away and continued to walk down the street when  I heard the sound of the  glass windows on the big brown door closed for the last time. I knew right then and there, I would never set foot inside that house  ever again.

 

What Was I Thinking?

OK, where did I end off….that’s right, I was invited inside the house where I lived for over eight years and stepped inside the living room to find the whole family just sitting about with the t.v set on which I thought was kind of odd considering it was in the late afternoon on this summer day. I always remembered most of them were out of the house hanging with friends or boyfriends about this time. But, I didn’t put too much thought after that and just said my hello’s to everyone in the room.

I was most happy to see my foster-sister Sandy than her brother and sister. When we kissed each other hello, we exchanged slight hugs that lasted about three Mississippi’s. To be honest, during that moment, I told her how much I missed her… but silently to myself. She displayed that big smile I so remembered when we were both 6 years old exchanging playful waves to each other through the french door windows of  the parlor room at the orphanage home back in 1968. 

Even though we fought plenty of times, we fought as any other brother and sister would fight. Sometimes it would be over not putting back her Elton John records or playing her Bay City Roller album without asking. But she never did anything to me personally to hurt me in any way. Sure she may have told on me for little things to our mother, but she never told on me that would cause to have my ass handed to me by the hands of her father…she never did that like her brother and sister had done to me a couple of times in the past, and that is why even to this day, I never did stop loving her.

 Too bad I never had courage to ever tell her that when I had so many opportunities…I referred them as wasted moments. Anyway, my mother had asked if I wanted anything to drink as she went through the list of what she had in the refrigerator. I was happy whatever she picked for me and told her just that. With a smile she left the living room just as my foster father asked me how I been doing living in the group home. That question kind of took me by surprised for a second and I wasn’t ready to respond back other than OK.

My mother walked back in the room holding a can of…you guessed it…C & C Cola. I’m telling you, that family just love their soda. I thought it was kind of amusing but kept it to myself and thanked her. I don’t remember too much of any other questions about the group home, but that topic opened the door to another question I was no way ready for. My foster father asked me what was my thought of moving back in to be a family again.

I must have displayed a look on my face of total disbelief  even when Linda had asked the same question but in her own words. I just looked around the room confused for a moment when I felt a rush of a warm  sensation throughout my head as my heart  pounded so hard I swear  I thought I was going to pass out. I looked at my mother and saw her smiling but with tears in her eye’s. I looked over to Linda and Sandy and they were crying also. To be honest, I don’t remember looking at Barry, but I do remember the look on my foster father’s face, and he was just emotional but in his own way.  

Everything started to feel in slow motion as I looked around the room at each of them. I saw all my thoughts like a picture slide of my life living in the group home, and I didn’t like what I was seeing…or the outcome. So I gave them my answer…I took a deep breath and said yes. To be honest with you, I wanted out of the group home so bad that I was ready to move in with my best friend and his family right across the street when they had asked me if I wanted to live with them.

They wanted be out of that group home just as bad as I did. I started visiting  my friends in the neighborhood after a few months being away when I left for the group home. I always told them all some stories how my life was going, and sometimes I would make up some just to make it seem I was doing fine, but they had no idea what I was really going through. I think they knew I was full of shit, but never said anything to me. I was cool with that.

They did see the changes, between my hair and my fearless attitude, but never said anything to me. They were my friends, and they were all I had in my life back then. But regardless…I was home again.Now for everyone who has followed my blog from the beginning must be saying to themselves in disbelief…like Whaaaat? But you read right…I said yes, and with that we all stood up and exchanged hugs. At that moment, I wasn’t thinking about all those years of the beatings, the verbal abuse and name calling by the man standing before me asking if I want to move back home.

I wasn’t thinking about anyone in that room that got me in trouble for one reason or another just for their enjoyment of seeing me get beaten by their father….all that was not forgotten, but for the time being I put that all to rest. The only thought in my mind as I was hugging them all was that I was no longer going to be living in that group home. The very home I felt if I stayed any longer, I wasn’t going to live to see my 17th birthday.

With in two weeks time, preparation was being made, and I was visited by my new social worker Judy O’Brien at the group home. She wanted to make sure that this was what I really wanted to do after what I went through in the past.  Now, you have to remember, it’s on record of the verbal abuse, and not getting along with the family, but the beatings I never told her or anyone else from Catholic Home for Foster Care, now called A.C.S.

I reaffirmed her that I believed this was going to be different this time around and was sure what happened to me in the past was just that…the past. She supported me 100% and I had to sign some discharge papers that I was leaving  the group home, and it was by my decision to move back with the foster family I left over eight months ago. I am sure my foster  parents had to sign papers of their own that they made the decision to have me as their foster son.

Papers signed and I was back living with the family that took my brother and I from the orphanage home back in 1968. I did explained to my friends parents why I made the decision that I did, and they supported me also. They also reminded me that they were there for me should I ever need them. They were like a second family to me, and they proved it right to the very end.

Now, things were going well living back home. We all got along just fine, but they did have to accept some changes I am sure they didn’t approve of, and that was smoking and my street attitude. What I didn’t do anymore was get soda from the basement or put out those extra metal chairs when it was dinner time. Those days were over. But, what was brewing over a  five month period  became bigger than anything we all experienced  in that house, and what I was about to do next would change the course of my life. Because this time I didn’t need my mother to shield me from the heavy hands of her husband…he needed her to shield him from me.

 

Ready to Move On

I decided to do my last story into two parts only because I wanted to end the worst part of my life once and for all…my childhood. I will finally put to rest this chapter and share with you all my final moments living in the foster home that was supposed to save me from a life of a broken home, but instead, destroyed my childhood that left me nothing but bad memories and nightmares that wait for me in my dreams even to this day. I will also share my true feelings towards every member in that house including the moments when I received news of the death of  both foster parents and why I went to ones wake… and not the other. Thursday evening will be the first part of my final story living in the foster home titled “So Long”.

 

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St. Dominick’s Group Home on Colden Ave

It didn’t take more than a week to be placed in a group home after telling my social worker I wanted out of the foster home where I lived for almost 8 years…I had enough. At 15 years of age, I  wanted  to be placed either back in an orphanage home or any group home anywhere on Staten Island. I never told my social worker of the beatings I received over the years. I figure if  they place me back to the orphanage or group home, there would be no reason too. 

Unfortunately, there was no group home openings on Staten Island where I been living since 1967  when placed at St. Michael’s Home..sad to say, the only available one was located in the Bronx. I did have an opportunity too be placed in an orphanage home called St. Dominick’s Orphanage located in Ramapo, New Jersey which borders New York , but after looking at the place, reality set in that I was only going backwards after just coming out of a foster home.

I was very adamant being placed in a group home regardless where it was located. I just didn’t want to end up in a place where I started when I was five years old. I was finally placed in a home located in the Bronx called St. Dominick’s Group home for boys  which was part of the orphanage home in New Jersey. It was a two-story apartment building set between homes located on a tree line street called Colden Ave. The picture below is the actual group home where I lived back in 1978 and 79.

There were eight other boys living there and a few of them were waiting to be placed in a juvenile detention called Spofford (a real shit hole for delinquents located in Hunts Points) for crimes they committed in the neighborhood. I ended up living with some pretty hardcore teens who not only came from broken homes, but they didn’t give a shit just about anything or anyone. These boys had some real issues of their own, and some of them had far worst stories than what I have experienced.  

The sad part is, the longer I lived there, I started picking up their attitude towards life. I’m not going to get into a lot of details or stories about my experience in that the group home, but lets just say that I left a foster home a scared young 15-year-old with the looks of a young Glen Campbell holding onto what was left of my innocence. At first I had short hair pushed back looking like John Travolta from Saturday Night Fever and acting like I was a little tough.

But than, after living with these troubled boys with lived worst than mine, I let my hair grow long with a  trimmed beard and mustache to make myself look older than I was, and no longer was acting…Slowly, I was becoming like the rest of them. I was no longer innocent. I always smoked, but was a sneak about it before. Living in the group home, I just lit up anywhere…I didn’t give a shit anymore about anything or anyone. I was becoming like the others who I was sharing that home with. I

had one big ass chip on my shoulders and the only one I have to thank is my foster father who I learn to hate more than anything in my life. I would sit on a shitty sunken bed that smelled like puke, sharing this run down bed room with another teen who was waiting to be placed in Spofford detention, and began asking myself what the fuck was I doing here? I knew deep inside this group home wasn’t the place for me and yet I refused to ask to be placed in another foster home…I wasn’t taking any chances after what I went through.

As far as I was concern, this was my new home and I was going to suck it up and deal whatever came my way. I ended up going to one of the toughest high schools in New York City called Evander Child H.S. and I learn one thing…mind your business and just get educated. But that wasn’t going to be the case with me. Between living in that group home and now going to this high school, I was heading in the wrong direction. There was a kid in the group home who was breaking into my room all the time and stealing from me.

I was getting a reputation not only being a wimp but what they considered…a pussy. Even my counselors would bring me into their room, close the door and tell me that I needed to stand up to some of these boys or I was going to have a real tough time living here.I found out who was stealing from me, and had the courage to wait for him upstairs to confront him. But I wasn’t going to just talk to him and ask him to stop.

His bedroom was on the same floor as mine, so I was waiting for him inside the kitchen on the second floor next to the doorway with a broom stick. Just as he walked up the stairs and entered I hit him across the forehead and watch him fall backwards. As he laid there in shock, I hit him again til a gash on his head opened up. Just as he was trying to get up, I pulled him by his collar and dragged him into the kitchen where I continued to beat him with now a broken broom handle till the counselors ran up stairs to break it up.

When this was finally over, this kid apologized to me and gave back my stuff. The counselors looked at me with a smile and told me to go to my room. After they cleaned up the mess we made in the kitchen, they both came into my room to let me know that when this spreads, I shouldn’t have any trouble with anyone else….Why? Because the kid I beat up stood over 6 ft. and came off as one of the toughest ones in the group home.

He had to explain to the others boys what happened, and the counselors had no problem telling the others what they had witnessed. From that day on, no one fucked with me. But I will say this…I would sit on my bed smoking my Kool’s  wondering if I was going to end up like some of these kids I was living with here in St. Dominick’s. I wasn’t sure anymore the direction I was heading and  had doubts that I was ever going to leave this place alive. I was becoming something I never thought I be.

I was turning into a tame-less animal with no fear and not a care in the world. I was walking around with a chip on my shoulder  waiting for anyone to look at me the wrong way so I can take out my aggression’s onto them. I could only blame one person for the life that I was now living….my foster father. Not only did I hate him, but wishing one day that I would find out from my friends on Staten Island that he died from a heart attack while driving from work, or worse, fell down the stairs inside his house and broke his fucking neck right in front of his kids.

But of course that never came to be. But I will share with you all a strange moment I had. It was the summer of  1979 while I was over at my friend’s house right across the street from the foster home where I lived for eight years. For some reason I went across the street to say hello to my foster-mother. I kissed her on the cheek and gave her a hug. Following that, I was invited inside to see everyone, Sandy, Linda, Barry and my foster father all standing inside the living room…and I wasn’t ready for what was to take place.

 

Dad No More

 Nothing was the same anymore since the last time I ran away to my father’s house out in Long Island. Spending a week in the hospital over a fake illness only strained the relationship between myself and the rest of the family I was living with. The truth be told, I can’t even remember the last time I actually felt like part of that family anymore. But I made the best of it no matter how uncomfortable it became living there. Even at the dinner table, not much was being said about anything.

I would just sit there, eat my dinner, clean up after myself and out the door I went to hang with my friends. Thanksgiving  of 1978 was no different. I decided that I wasn’t going to go to Brooklyn after dinner this year to visit family. Why should I ? Nothing was the same anymore, and I found no reason to go like I have done so many times in the past. Continuing living in this foster home was taking a toll on me and I wanted out as soon as possible.

I was done with the beatings and name calling as well as being around a family that I truly felt didn’t want me in the first place. When I was about 17, that’s when I found out that how I was picked because the system didn’t separate siblings…need I say more…but you already knew that from a previous story. Anyway, when I was asked if I was going, I made it very clear that I wasn’t. That’s right…I said I wasn’t going and had my reasons.

When asked by both my foster parents what they were, I didn’t want o get into the details, but made it clear I no longer felt part of the family and wanted to just leave it alone at that, and suggested we can talk about it the next day. At this time, everyone else was upstairs getting cleaned up and dressed, but for Linda who wasn’t going as well as her brother Barry. My mother was in the bedroom clearly upset as she was getting ready while my foster-father and I were in the kitchen just sitting there saying nothing.

Then he asked the question I was hoping he would. He asked me if I wanted to leave his family which I replied without hesitation that I did. I remember the look in his eye’s when I said that, because he looked not only surprised, but bewildered that I didn’t put any thought answering him. Not only that, but I continued to tell him exactly how I felt and that I wanted to speak with my social worker as soon as possible to be removed and placed in a group home.

He just sat there listening at first, but then started with the guilt trip how he took me in to give me a better life, which I uninterrupted by reminding him of the beatings and all the name callings I endured by him which only made matters worst. He started yelling at me how selfish I was being and ungrateful. That’s when I finally admitted that I no longer thought of him as a father or wanted to even call him Dad anymore.

There was silence for a few seconds and then he just got up from his chair and walked out of the kitchen and into the living room. I was sitting there alone and upset, but one thing I wasn’t doing was crying. Through all the years of crying, I no longer had any tears left in me.I just sat there by myself  for a few minutes when his daughter Linda decided to put in her two cents and comes storming into the kitchen where I was still sitting and started yelling at me, not loud, but in my face telling me how good her family has been to me while crying hysterical but coherent enough for me to understand what she was saying.

What annoyed me the most me was that she wasn’t even looking at me during the who time yelling at me. She was looking off to my right most of the time, as if she was yelling at someone else other than me. I found that not only odd but downright strange even at this moment while I’m typing. She said what she had to say, then walked out of the kitchen still crying. To be honest with all of you, I didn’t give a rat’s ass what she said or how she felt.

For that matter, I really didn’t give a shit what anyone thought anymore…this was about me. If they only knew how many times I thought about burning their house down when I was alone, I would have been out of there when I was 13 and not 15. Only once did I think about burning it down when my foster-father and I were alone while he was in the living room watching a  Met’s game while I was upstairs in my bed room. It was a Saturday and my mother went out to the store with her other daughter Sandy and my little brother.

Linda was out with her friends as well as her brother Barry with his. That just left us two in the house…alone. I sat there on the bed thinking ways to do it without getting caught by anyone. So I went outside and to the garage where the gas can was sitting next to Barry’s mini bike. I opened up the can…only to find it empty. Disappointed, I closed the garage door and put the heavy chain through the handle as we all did when leave and squeezed the old lock together than went back inside the house….He had no idea how lucky he was that day.

It was Friday after Thanksgiving and I called my social worker Mrs. Cardwell and told her that I no longer wanted to stay in with this family any longer and wanted to be removed as soon as possible. I remember her telling me that I had to stay there till they found a place for me, but if I felt threatened in any way, they would come for me immediately to place me in a temporary foster home till they found a group home available.

I don’t know why I didn’t just do that, but told her that I would stay till she found a place for me. I then passed the phone to my mother and went up stairs to my bedroom. After a brief conversation with my social worker, she hung up the phone and I could hear her whispering to her husband that it might take a week for me to be placed in a another home. A week….might as well said a year. All I could do was lay on my bed curled up in a fetus position wondering what was going to happen next. I knew this much, it had to be better than living in this foster home……or was it?

 

 

Arms Wide Open

Running away for the second time didn’t have much of a price to pay after all. There were no beatings, yelling or anything else for that matter. My foster-father didn’t say very much to me since I came home, but thought that was kind of odd not asking me any questions about why I ran away to my real father’s house. Jesus, I ran away for two days to rat is ass out as he put it, to my father’s, on top of that, ended up in the hospital faking an illness just to avoid what was waiting for me at home, and he didn’t want to know why I did what I did?

It wasn’t till the following Saturday  just the two of us, sitting at the kitchen table, when he decided to talk to me. Everyone else had finished breakfast and took off in the living room to watch television or hang in their bed rooms.He must have figured that was the time to ask me if I wanted continue living with them. Now just to go back a little, it has been a about three years they were going through the process of adopting  both my brother and I. At 13 years old, I changed my mind and decided I no longer wanted to be adopted.

I couldn’t do it…to be honest, I didn’t want them to adopt me. I knew that this wasn’t the house or the family for me, and it was the last place I wanted to be spending anymore of my youth living in. I been treated like shit since I was seven years old and gotten worst as I grew older. For the life of me, I had no idea why they would even want to adopt me in the first place. But I am sure Child Services was putting pressure on them to either adopt us or they were taking us back.

It wasn’t unusual for  families who take in foster children into their homes just for that nice checks they get once a month for room, board and cloth allowance from Child Welfare, and I am on a mission to find out just how much my foster parents were getting all those years for my brother and I. Anyway, my foster-father reassure me that things would be different, then got out of his chair with arms wide open and hugged me.

What bothered me more than anything was that hug. That’s what he always did after the many beatings he gave me or his infamous verbal onslaught. He would have someone get me from my bedroom where I would be laying on the bed, to go see him in the kitchen….Daddy wants you. My stomach would get into a knot just hearing those words and thinking what he was going to do next. I would take my time going down the steps and walk slowly into the kitchen only to find him sitting in his chair at the table smoking his Pall Malls while pretending he didn’t notice me. I would walk closer to him cautiously and stand by and just look at him.

He put down his smokes, while getting up his chair with arms wide open and tell me how sorry he was…and all I could do was cry. I hated when he did that, and he did that almost after every beatings. So to be standing there telling me how sorry he was and that he really loved me  hurt more than the beatings. But, I just hugged him back and walked away. As I walked away, I knew that one day he was going to beat me or call me names one too many times, and there was going to be a heavy price to pay, and you can bet your ass it wasn’t going to be any weekend trips to my father’s house that’s for sure. The following year later, all hell broke loose on Thanksgiving Day. 

 

Jan and Dean

Let’s see, I left off from my previous story that I had only twenty- five minutes to make a decision what I was going to do once I got off the Staten Island Ferry. I knew what was waiting for me at home and the scenario in my head wasn’t playing so well. So with no planning, I decided to pull a stunt that just spiraled out of control from the moment it started to the very end. I was standing on the bus ramp just outside the Ferry terminal waiting to get on the bus, and faked an episode of hyperventilating.

The bad thing about that was I actually had to go through the symptoms to make it believable. My body started to tighten, mouth drying up, and my fingers were curling in looking like a stroke victim, I eventually passed out from lack of oxygen to my head because of breathing so fast. Before you know it, I was laying in the back of an ambulance being treated by the Paramedics. They rushed me to the emergency room where they started giving me I.V. asking me a bunch of questions like, my name, address, and my age.

I pretended that I didn’t understand what was going on and played it off pretty good. What I didn’t expect was for them to shove a tube up my nose to pump out my stomach. I learned later they had to make sure I didn’t have any drugs in my system and not overdosing on anything. I had to endure all that  just because I didn’t want to go home. On top of that, I decided to fake a speech impairment by stuttering when talking.

When I was at my father’s house I watched a movie on television about two rock and roll singers named Jan and Dean. One of then got into a car accident and if I remember right, had injuries to his head that caused him to stutter for a while. So I decided to add that to my acting debut that evening, and it seemed to go over well. The nurses at the desk called my foster parents and within a couple of hours my mother came walking in with her son Barry.

I remember her looking at me asking what happened when I got off the ferry. At first I didn’t want to answer, but tried to explained while stuttering, how I was feeling dizzy and sick while on the ferry-boat. She just leaned over to me and asked if I was faking everything just so I didn’t have to come home? Dam, I thought I had this all down packed. Hell, even the nurses seemed to fall for it including the doctor, but she figured it out faster than I thought she would.

 My mother knew something was up, and her son Barry figured that out just as fast. He asked had I seen that movie Jan and Dean which I told him no. But he didn’t buy that either. He knew I was full of shit soon I opened my mouth. She asked me if I wanted to leave the hospital and to go home with them… which I replied that I didn’t. She just looked at me with watery eye’s gave me a kiss on the forehead and left.  I knew I had to continue this charade till I came up with a better plan, I just didn’t know what I was doing anymore.

I didn’t feel guilty at all  wasting everyone’s time at the hospital with my antics. I did what I had to do to prevent myself from getting a beating from my foster-father at all cost. Who knows what would have happened had I gone straight home to face the music. Maybe he would have been nicer to me with no intentions of hurting me if only I gave him the chance. I guess no one will ever know the answer to that because I ended staying in that hospital for almost seven days till they released me, but not after visiting with a shrink that was assigned to my case.

I told him only half the truth what I did, and explained how scared I was going back home, but had to stick with this story hoping that when I got home, everyone would feel sorry for me. I had such a dear friend who visited me almost everyday. She was always upset to see me hurting the way I was. I told her some things, but she never knew about my secrets. She never knew about the beatings and I wasn’t completely honest with her that I was faking the whole thing.

I wanted too, but I felt bad doing that to her. To be honest, I think she knew all the time and didn’t want to say anything to upset me. She was my friend back then, and to this day, even though many years have passed since I last saw her, I will always remember her being there for me when it mattered the most and to this day I still  lover her for that. The day I was discharged, my mother came to pick me up and I just sat in the car quietly as she drove.

As the music played on the radio, I looked out the car window wondering  what was going to happen next. How long will I keep pretending that I couldn’t speak without stuttering? I just sat there in deep thought when a familiar song started playing I  heard a couple of days ago at my father’s house…it was from the movie Jan and Dean.

 

Twenty Five Minutes

Like I said in my last story, my foster-father called me Michelle once too many times, and I finally had the courage to not only run away, but actually met one of my brothers to meet me on the South Ferry terminal on the New York side and headed to my real father’s home out in West Hempstead Long Island.  Now my father was very happy to see me, but knew something had to be wrong for me to do what I did without the knowledge of both my foster parents.

I remember him hugging me at the side door of his house and all three of us we upstairs the second floor of the two family house he shared with his wife Pat. His wife was very friendly and gave me a warm hug but just as concerned as my father why I ran away. We all sat down in the kitchen where I started to tell him how my foster-father was treating me for years, but never told him about the beatings. I felt that had I told him, he would have contacted Social Services and I would have found myself back at the Orphanage home, or worst, another foster home.

That was my thinking back then, and I can’t explain it any other way. I remember Star Trek on in the living room and my dad made my brother and I a root beer ice cream float, where he told me that we will talk more Saturday morning over breakfast and that he was going to call my foster-father and  find out what has gone on there all these years living there. He seemed pretty upset, so I think that’s why he didn’t want to talk about it at least for that evening.

I didn’t say much after that and all three of us and watched Star Trek as Pat ordered us pizza for dinner. I remember looking around my father’s living room and  to see pictures of us on the walls. There were pictures of  our school pictures on the wall as well as some pictures of us when we were small. I  wondered at times how he must have felt knowing his children were scattered about in foster homes and at the orphanage as well living in the projects with my real mother in NYC.

I also wondered if he ever thought about if he ever wanted us back as a family now that we were a little older, so I asked him that night, and I will never forget what he said. He told my brother and I who was living with him that he dreamed of one day owning a big house and yard and having us all live with him as a family. He wanted that more than anything else in life. To this day, it no longer mattered to me anymore why he haven’t told the truth about why he left us back in 1967 to be with another woman or why he felt he needed to lie to me when I was about twenty-six  years old.

Never mention his whereabouts the day my we all were taken from the only home we ever knew by Social Services and  placed in a shelter for two weeks till they figure what to do with us. The only sad thing about this all is my father died on the side of William Floyd Highway alone a broken man with broken dreams….I guess it was his time to pay the piper. I may not believe in a God, but if there is one, my father had a lot of explaining to do as well as my real mother.

They made their choices for whatever the reasons they may be, but still had to explain one thing and one thing only… why they were failures as parents. Saturday came along and it must have been about 9 in the morning when my brother and I woke up finding our father making pancakes for us for breakfast. He sliced some apples and folded the pancakes over them then  flooded them with syrup…just the way pancakes should be made. When we all sat down, he let me know that after breakfast he was going to call my foster-father and  have him a few words for him that he may not like, and that’s exactly what he did.  

Within a couple of minutes on the phone with my foster-father, my father let him have it, and from what I could remember, my father started raising his voice and telling him to knock it off calling me names, specially making fun of my legs. He went on to explain to my foster-father how he and my mother couldn’t afford braces for me, as well as the medical conditions with my other brothers and sisters. Yep, even the day we were born, just about every one of us had some kind of birth defects, with my oldest sister and brother having the most serious conditions.  After a few more colorful choice of words my father had for him, my foster-father asked if he can speak with me which my father agreed, and he gave me the phone.                                                                                                                                  

I got on the phone only to have my foster-father call me a rat for running away and telling on him. I could hear his wife talking in the background to give her the phone. She got on being a lot more rational than her husband and asked when I was planning to come home. I told her that I would be back sometime after that evening and take the bus home. With that she told me she loved me and we both hung up. I saw my father upset, and he promised me that if my foster-father started with the name calling again, he was going to come to the house with my social worker and have me removed but never said to live with him.

Where did he think I was going to go if that was to happen? Either way, I never told my father anything after that. For some reason, as much as he said how much he loved me, I  didn’t think he was going to let me live with him. The only place I saw myself was back at  St. Michael’s Home or another orphanage called Mount Loretto that was on Staten Island also, and no way was I ever going back to either one of them that’s for sure. 

That evening my brother and I headed back to New York City and he stayed with me till the ferry came to take me back to Staten Island. We both said goodbye and he walked away going down the escalator while I got on the ferry. I looked back to see if I could see him, but he was already gone. I found a seat in the front and waited for the boat to pull out of the dock. I had  twenty-five minutes to think what I was going to do before I got to the other side.

I was thinking of different scenarios what was going to happen when I got home, and none of it turned out good. Maybe I was thinking to hard and it wasn’t going to be as bad as I when I got there. But, I wasn’t going to take any chances. I had to think of something much more daring than just running away to my fathers out in Long Island. I needed to get everyone’s  attention and so scared that they would have to feel sorry for me and forget that I ever ran away to begin with. What I did next not only got their attention…… but made things only worst.                                                                                                                                                                                

        

Bow Legged Freak

This story has no beatings in it but has something just as painful and hurt a lot longer, and that was Verbal Abuse. Trust me, I had my share of being called many hurtful names by my foster-father throughout my years living in that foster home, but there were two names that not only did I hate, but one name had a major effect on my life well into my adulthood. Now I can’t remember all the times he called me names, because there were so many, a lot more than the beatings that’s for sure, but I remember the first time he called me ” Bow Legged Freak”. 

I was about 12 years old, and at times liked to play with my foster-brother’s Hess trucks he had up in the attic. The attic was pretty cool because most of our toys were stored in piles along the wall on top by the steps, so my little brother and I  would explore around to see what was in the boxes that were piled about. All the way in the back there was this little room to the left that stored some really cool stuff in boxes of all sizes that belonged to my foster-brother Barry.

He had lots of baseball cards and Lionel Train sets…old ones, not those fake plastic ones we have today. But he also had some Hess trucks scattered about and I would play with. But of cause if Barry found any of his toys of his broken, yours truly would get the blame even if I never touched anything of his, I was getting the blame regardless… according to that family I was not only marked as a thief but a liar as well.

So this one Saturday afternoon, Barry had come down stairs with one of the Hess truck in his hand and walked into the kitchen where I was sitting and asked me if I was playing with the truck. At first I said no because I didn’t remember the last time I played with it, but it didn’t matter, because I was guilty already regardless whatever my answer was. What I do know was I didn’t break anything of his. If I had, I would have hidden that truck so deep inside that attic, his children’s children would not have found it.

But it was sitting where it always were by the top of then steps in the attic by all the other piles of toys, and the smoke stack was found broken off. Now, you think that would have been the end of it, but I couldn’t be that lucky. My foster-father decided to ask me the same question as his son. Not only that, but now it became more like an interrogation instead. The only thing missing was a swinging light above my head, and him telling me how he had ways of getting people to talk while lighting up a smoke.

Every time he asked me a question, I just looked at him and said that I didn’t know. It was a matter of time before my head became a target for his soda can, but I would just stick to the truth on this one. I didn’t break anything, specially his son’s Hess truck. But, of cause that wasn’t enough. I said I didn’t know one too many times with a couple of shoulder shrugs to follow before he threw the salt shaker at me  yelling that he didn’t want me to touch anything unless I asked….Message received.

That could have been the end of this, but as always, he would go on about it as well as other topics that had nothing to do with the subject at hand. What started over a broken toy escalated how I needed to have my Puerto Rican (Spic) blood drained from my body and have it replaced with his blood. If that wasn’t enough, he would then go on about how my parents were both good for nothing and should have been in jail. Not for nothing, but I had no idea what he was talking about, but I guess maybe he knew something that I didn’t.

What he was doing was trying to bait me to say something back, but I never bit. I may have been only 12, but I was learning something after those years of beatings and name callings, and one day, would learn to prefect it…and that was Patience. Right after his ranting as my mother once again told him to just shut up, he says this…” I don’t have to shut up while this Bow Legged Freak lies”. Right after he said that…I just looked up at him envisioning stabbing him in his chest with the very fork I was holding right in front of everyone. Instead, I just sat there saying nothing and continued to eat my dinner.

But from that day on, I use to grab toilet paper and rolled them into a ball and  place them strategically  inside my white knee highs, than have rubber bands hold them in place than put  my pants on so I wouldn’t look like I was bow-legged. I did this every single day til I was about 16 years old. I was so conscious over my legs that I would never wear shorts in public til I was about 30 years old. The other name he called me was Michelle. I always knew that he was going to call me that one to many times without paying a price…and sure enough, he did.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Five Miles (part II)

There I am, walking along the busy roadway by Clove Lake Park freezing my ass standing on the corner waiting to cross the intersection, when I notice a car slowing down  pulling to the side of the road where I was standing. The person rolls down the passenger side window calling my  name. I looked down to see the girl I liked from my class brother  looking up at me from the front seat while her dad was asking where I was going.

I remember saying hello but told him that I was going to a friend’s house just down the street from where they lived. He told me he was on his way home and that he would drop me off. But as soon as I got in, he told me something different instead.  My foster parents had called and informed him that I had run away and if he could ask his daughter Arlene if she had seen me anytime today. Sure enough she told him that I was with them and had left when the skating session was over.

She also told him that the last time she saw me, I was walking from the rink towards the main intersection. Well, the rest was history. We pulled up in his driveway, with his wife standing on the porch with a big brown sweater over her shoulder and gave me a slight hug. We all walked in, and sat in the kitchen while Arlene’s mom made me a something to eat while her dad asked what happened at home. I told him some stories, but never told him about the beatings.

I think he knew I wanted to say more, but I for some reason I didn’t want to say anymore. I was crying but not like water falls or anything, more like holding it in, but the tears said enough. He told me that he had to call my foster parents because they were upset and concern. Yeah right…maybe my mother was, but as for my foster-father, that’s another story. I’m sure he had something else on his mind when I got home. I think I was there for about an hour before Arlene’s dad said it was time to take me home.

We both got in the car and he drove me home.We did talk a bit about school and all, but he seemed more concern about how I was doing at home. I think he was trying to get more out of me, but I knew what he was trying to do, but no way could I have told him the truth what my life was really like living in that foster home.  I remember telling him that I lived about ten miles from the house, but he said I lived closer than that.

It was quiet in the car for the last five minutes of the ride back to my house and as he made the turn onto my street, I felt my heart beating fast once again. All I can think of was not only was I in trouble, but for sure there was a beating waiting for me inside the house.  As he pulled up, my mother and Sandy were by the front door looking out the open glass vent waiting for me. He turn to me and said that if I ever wanted to talk about anything that I could talk to him.

Her also said I was a good boy and needed to tell my foster parents why I ran away. He then gave me a hug and I got out of the car. I saw him roll down his window and  said to words to me…Five Miles. I just smiled back at him as I opened up the front gate and made my way up the porch steps and took one more look at Arlene’s dad as he drove away as I watched the tail lights fade away. My mother opened the door and hugged me asking why I did what I did.

I just looked at her and started crying. Sandy just gave stood there with a look on her face I just couldn’t figure out. I wasn’t sure if she was happy to see me, or just confused that I ran away and maybe, just maybe knew why. I just wanted to go up stairs and get into my bed, and just wanted the night to end…but that wasn’t going to happen. I heard my foster-father clear his throat, and I knew that was just a sign letting me know he was in the kitchen….waiting.

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Five Miles (part 1)

This is just a story when I ran away for the first time when I was thirteen. One night I got in trouble for forgetting to remind my foster-father that we were running low so he could bring home a couple of cases after work. Now, I didn’t receive a  beating on this occasion, verbally assaulted instead. As always, it was during dinner as everyone sat there listening to him call me just about every name in the book. If  I anger him enough that didn’t call for a beating, he had no problem calling me a Spic ( I am half Puerto Rican), Bow legged Freak (cause I’m bow-legged), Retard, Numb Skull and any other derogatory names you can come up with.

But he did have one favorite name that I believe he actually enjoyed calling me in front of the family and that was being called “Michelle”.  He started calling me that when I was about thirteen. I have no idea why, but I kind of figure he was calling me a sissy in his own way and came up with Michelle for Michael. I hated that, and to be honest, I couldn’t give a shit being called those other names…but Michelle….that really got to me and I would show it by the expression on my face when he call me that at the table.  I would look up at him squinting as I tighten my lips a little. He knew right then and there I was getting mad, but he didn’t care one way or another.

He knew I feared him, and I showed that when he would stare back at me, and as always, would take my eye’s off of him like a beaten dog being challenged by the alpha male. He went on with his rant till my mother would tell him to just shut up and as always, he get in the last word and just like that it was over. But going through this stress and anxiety what seemed like every night, was taking its toll on me and I needed to do something to slow it down if not end it. So what do I do? One snowy Wednesday afternoon, I went to an ice skating rink where my friends from school all went, without permission from my foster-mother.

I just told her that I was hanging out with my friends in the neighborhood but instead, hopped on the city bus to Clove Lakes Ice Skating Rink to meet up with my friends from school including a girl I liked from my class name Arlene.  As they all skated around having a great time, I just hung about on the side drinking hot chocolate watching. When the session was over by five,I told them I was going home, but I never did. I just walked around along the park and trying to figure out what I was going to do next. It was all ready dark and getting colder out, so I needed to  think of a place to go to get warmed up.

At first I walked over to a gas station that was down the road from the skating rink to go to the bathroom, then continued walking along a park called Clove Lakes. A couple of hours had passed and I knew by then, my foster parents were looking for me. I imagine them calling up my friends from the neighborhood asking my whereabouts, and knew that if I went home now, I was definitely going to get my ass whipped big time by my foster-father. Here I am, walking around in the cold with just a couple of dollars in my pocket, and I had no idea where I was going to go or what I was going to do. I didn’t think this one through that’s for sure. But I knew one thing…going home wasn’t an option anymore.             

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Lesson Learned

 I walked in the kitchen to see my foster-father holding my dirty underwear in one hand and a towel in the other. He than asked if I needed one of them to wipe me, considering that I was having a hard time doing it myself.  I of course responded with a simple no, but it didn’t matter what my answer was, from the sound of his voice and that towel in his hand, I can safely say I wasn’t ready for what he was about to do.

They had me take all my clothes off right there in the kitchen BUTT ASS NAKED while he made a diaper out of that towel that he was holding while his wife took safety pins to secured it on me. Then he had me stand in the corner right next to the doorway of their bedroom and the kitchen and said this…” You want to act like a little baby, than you will be treated like a little baby.” and had me stand there not just for a while but the WHOLE DAY!!!

The only time I was allowed to move was when I had to go to the bathroom. Other than that, I stood there looking like Tarzan’s son Boy wearing nothing but a towel that was meant to look  like a diaper, as their children sat down eating breakfast. Now you have to picture this in your minds, everyone is eating breakfast, and there I am standing in the corner wearing nothing but a towel made into a diaper, and no one said anything!

I have to be honest here, and this may sound a little weird, but there was only one person who I didn’t want to look at me standing there in the corner was my foster-sister Sandy who by the way, was the same age as me. I liked Sandy ever since that first day we met at St. Michael’s home playing through the parlor window.

I always remembered her big smile and how friendly she was to me. To be honest, I can’t think of anything she ever did to  hurt me in any way during my years living there. She never made fun of me, and never said anything to hurt me in any way, and NEVER told on me to get me in trouble. I guess what I am trying to say here is that I really loved her like a sister back then.

But as I gotten older into my teens, my feelings for her started changing, and I was liking her in another way, but kept that to myself. Trust me, had I told my social worker the truth and admit I started having feelings towards my foster-sister Sandy when he asked me when I was about 14, I was out of the house faster than a greyhound chasing a rabbit.

But that’s another story I will share  for another time. Anyway, everyone finished  breakfast and did whatever they did that day, while I just stood there by myself in the kitchen when the door bell rang. It was my Linda’s friend Beth who lived across the street from us. I remember hearing her voice as she was walking in as my foster-father rushes me out of the kitchen and inside their bedroom but never closed the door.

Beth walked in the kitchen to say her hello’s to my foster parents and for some reason, I started coughing intentionally. I knew that if she heard me, she would have easily see me standing inside the bedroom. So what do I do? I kept moving closer to the bedroom door so she could see me. I was thinking if she saw me, maybe she would tell her parents and they would come over to help me. That was my thinking anyway.

My foster-father saw how close I was to the door, and gotten up while Beth was talking and closed the door just enough that she couldn’t see me. She was only there to return something that her mom borrowed and chatted a bit and then left.  Then the bedroom door opened and he told me to step back to the corner where I originally stood.

They had me stand there for at least a couple more hours when my foster-mother handed me my clothes and told me to go up stairs and change. It was 4:15 in the afternoon….I stood there for over 7 1/2 hours! Lesson learned the hard way that’s for sure. From then on, there was never an issue cleaning myself anymore. I changed my underwear at least twice a day, because I wanted to make sure they were always clean. You want to know something………I still do.  

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Potty Mouth

I made it very clear that after the holidays I was going to be posting stories that will not only be disturbing but violent as well. So I will ask my followers to stop reading my blog if you are getting too emotionally attached or just having a hard time reading the stories of my childhood. 

Remember, this blog has a purpose and a goal,  I don’t want to lose what I am trying to do here with my stories. This blog is meant to Inspire and Motivate, and to send a message that no matter how bad life may be, past and present, surrendering your Dream to Succeed in Life should never be an option.

You must be able to pick yourself up even when no one is there to help you or to guide you, and continue on your Journey. In order to ACHIEVE this goal, you must NEVER use your background not to SUCCEED!

You have to recognize your strength and your weaknesses and decide if you are going to ignore it and let it slip away, or SEIZE the moment and become VICTORIOUS. Remember that it’s impossible to learn and  grow and become Successful in Life without the inevitable adversities and difficulties you must contend with and rise above to become a better person…I read that somewhere recently, and I couldn’t have said it any better. 

This next story has nothing to do with me cursing or changing any babies diapers regardless of the title, but it does have to do with something that was done to me when I was about 11 years old that was not only embarrassing but humiliating as well.My wife and younger brother are the only ones who knew until now.

For awhile I had this issue of not wiping myself good after going to the bathroom…I know, sounds embarrassing, but to be honest and blunt, at 51, I really don’t give a damn who knows anymore. Anyway, when I went to the bathroom I always seemed to be rushing myself either to go outside and play, or just being lazy to do the perfect job.

But when it came for my foster-mother to wash our clothes, she would call me by the hamper upstairs near our bedroom door, with my underwear in her hand and start asking me silly questions how come they were soiled inside. Now I knew it was safe to shrug my shoulders to her or just say I don’t know, but what she would do was pretty out of left field.

She would  yell at me that I was disgusting and how much of a pig I was not to wipe myself good, and she do that right in front of her kids, who by the way, would just stand there as one of them would repeat the same thing, then she would take the underwear and shove them into my mouth.

I don’t mean wiping it across my lips, or my face, I mean shoving them inside my mouth while smacking the living shit out of me at the same time. I can’t even tell you how many times this happened. You can bet your ass, either Barry or Linda had something to say when we sat at the dinner table.

One of them would make a sly comment for a chuckle, but Sandy, their younger sister never did. As for my grandfather, he didn’t say much, because it always seemed like he was in his bedroom watching  TV when this was taking place. I have to admit he really didn’t know much of what was going on.

But that never stopped those two nit wits from busting my balls every chance they got. They thought it was funny to tease me the way they did. They had no idea what it felt like of the Humiliation and the Embarrassment they as well as my foster mother, inflicted on me that followed me for many years.

I’m not sure why my foster-father didn’t get involved in this. It was as if he wanted nothing to do with it….I don’t know, maybe he felt it was his wife’s problem and thought she had it under control…to be honest, I didn’t put much thought into it. One Saturday morning my foster-father called me to come down stairs and into the kitchen.

My heart started pounding as I was trying to figure out what I did wrong, but either way, I was preparing myself for the inevitable. I cautiously walked into the kitchen, and there he was standing by the doorway between the backroom and the kitchen holding one of my dirty underwear in one hand and a towel in the other. I had no idea what was about to happen next, but saying I was scared was putting it lightly.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                                      

Under the Covers

Throughout those eight years living in the foster home where all my beatings and the verbal onslaught took place, there was only one spot in the house where I would hide and pretend I was anywhere else but the one place that was destroying not only my childhood, was in my bed under the covers. I would  close my eyes and  hum the theme to the show the Partridge Family while rocking back and forth. I would close them so hard and wish that someone, anyone, would take me out of this foster home. But that was never going to happen unless I told on them to my social worker Mrs. Caldwell who was assigned to my brother and I.

Once a month, she would visit us and always ask if I liked it there. I would  lie and say yes and then tell her that everything was fine. I never told her about the beatings, I never told her about the names he would call me, I never told her about the humiliating things he would do to me in front of the family, I never told her that I ran away three times, and I never once said how much I hated them all and didn’t want to live there anymore. I put on such an act I was believable. If they were giving out trophies for ” Best Young Bull Shit Artist on Earth”  I would have won it hands down!

After our visit, she would talk with my foster parents for a few minutes, then gather her belongings  and walk out the door. I would stand by the kitchen window looking out hoping she would notice me before she would get inside her car and see that I wanted her to take me with her…but she never did and would drive away.  It  always seemed that no sooner did Mrs. Caldwell leave that I would get the third degree for a couple of minutes. Questions like…What did she ask me, what did I say, do I like living here…those kinds of questions.

I would just tell them what they wanted to hear, and then it was over.  I would either go up stairs or outside. For days after the visit I would be mad at myself for not telling Mrs. Caldwell the truth, but I think I was more concerned that if I did, they would not only take me out of that house, but my little brother as well. I don’t know why he wasn’t treated the way I was, but I was happy that he wasn’t. They really loved my little brother, just too bad I never felt that kind of love the way he did. I started believing that I was just there because  it was a policy for the Orphanage home not to separate siblings.

I starting thinking that the day we all first met in the parlor back in 1968, they had chosen me like a  puppy at a pet shop. You know, when you look through the window searching though the litter, to pick the one that is the most shy and submissive, the one you can house break faster than the wild ones barking and jumping around like little head cases on caffeine. To this day, that’s exactly what I believe. I don’t care what anyone says, but I was a second income for years in that house.

They received a check from New York City Catholic Charities once a month for childcare expenses as well as room and board including paying tuition for the catholic school we both went too. Not a dime came out of my foster parent’s pockets to care for us and that’s a fact! I am on a mission to this day to find out how much they were getting for those eight years I was living there. I do know one thing…those checks stopped when the adoption went through for my brother when he was in his early teens.  

After years living there as foster children, I think Catholic Charities, who ran the orphanage and group homes in NYC, put pressure on my foster parent’s to adopt us. It was all about the money. If you weren’t going to adopt, then we would have to be removed and go back to the orphanage home. It was a financial burden on the system, and I learned that when I was living in a group home when I was fifteen. Anyway, it doesn’t matter, I wouldn’t be there to long.

At the age of 14, I had run away many times from that house, and I guess you can say, I ran away one too many times because I ended up at my real fathers house out in West Hempstead Long Island, and the  world I once knew  was about to come to an end, but not the way I hoped it would. You want to know another secret that only my wife knows? To this day, I still rock back and forth right before I go to sleep. This is something I never even told my therapist……..well, not yet.

                                                                                                      

White Ruff

This next story is about a library book that sat in my bedroom for at least three months and totally forgot I even had it. I guess that saying Out of Site Out of Mind applies here. I was in 3rd grade at the time and we had a library inside our school, so once in a while, I would take out a book and bring it home to read and forget that I even had them half the time. But, eventually, I read the books and returned them before the due date….sometimes. But this one particular book titled ” White Ruff  ” sat on my dresser for three months. I remember signing for it, just didn’t remember returning it back to the school library.

One night at the dinner table, just as we were in the middle eating dinner, my foster-brother Barry asked if I had a taken a book from the school library. I had no idea what he was talking about, because it had been awhile that I did, so I just shrugged him off and said no. Thought that was the end of that, but you guessed it, it wasn’t. He asked again like he knew something, but still, I had no idea what he was talking about, but now I was wondering why was he even asking me in the first place. I mean, since when he was so concern what books I take from school? Not for nothing, it wasn’t even his business in the first place, unless he was up to something.    

But this is what they would do to me at the dinner table. They didn’t do this at any other time, but if something was wrong, sure enough it came up at dinner time, as if they all couldn’t wait to see what would happen next. My stomach would turn half the time, because I never knew when someone would bring something up what I’ve done wrong so they can watch how I get my ass handed to me by a deranged school yard bully, only this bully was their father. Can’t believe I just used the Bully terminology.Lets face it, each one of them sitting at that table all knew what would happen to me if I done something wrong.

Was this family that sick themselves, that they enjoyed seeing me get beaten and choked by this animal they called a husband and father? For that reason, I never talked at the dinner table. I just kept my mouth shut and huddled over my dinner and ate fast just to get through it without ant incidents.      Anyway, I told him I had no idea what he was talking about, when his sister Linda had now jumped in and ask if I had taken a book out a few weeks ago. The only thing I was thinking was how long before the old man starts asking. I didn’t say anything. I just sat there playing with my soup trying to figure out if I even taken a book out. in the first place.

Well, it didn’t take long before Barry pulls out the book like he was one of the Hardy boy’s solving a mystery with the help of  Nancy Drew sitting next to me. Maybe they thought they caught me in a lie and believed that I stole this book and tried to hide it. Who knows, either way, I was feeling  light-headed and could hear that familiar sound of my heart pounding hard inside my head again. Sure enough, my foster-father asked me if I have taken the book? Looking up at him, I was kind of confused for a moment….was he asking if I had taken the book or stolen the book?

It does make a big difference, because I could just say I forgot I had it and just return it with the late fee and that would be the end of this story…but I couldn’t be that lucky. So what do I go and do? I tell him that I didn’t remember. Of course that wasn’t going to cut it, so he asked me when did I take the book? At that second I could not think fast enough, when he raised his voice in such a way, I knew what was next. So in a panic, I just shrugged my shoulders. He had just warned me that when he asks me again,  I better not say I don’t know or shrug my shoulder or he was going throw the can of soda at my God Damn Head! 

Trying not to cry, all I could do was shrug my shoulders and with  fear in my voice said I didn’t know. That can was tossed right at my head just as he threatened, and got up towards me with the book in his hand and grabs me as I was sitting, and squeezes the back of my neck so hard I thought his fingers were going to tear into my skin. My mother yells for him to let go, but he still managed to get one of his infamous karate chops to the back of my neck before she jumped in to shield me from  anymore harm. Everyone just sat there in silence. I guess they got what they wanted. To see me get beaten up by their own father.

As my mother was holding me tight, I remember looking at my brother Timmy sitting there with his hands over his ears as he had done so many times before. What was he thinking through his little mind witnessing the beatings through his eye’s? He was three years younger than me…Will he remember them or will those memories fade away as he grows older…I always wondered. I never did get to eat my soup, just as well, I hated her soup anyway. To me it was  just a bowl of hot water and small shells.I may have loved her, but my foster-mother couldn’t cook to save her life.I just went upstairs like I always did after all my beatings, and gone to bed.

But, not without standing on the top of the steps and hearing my foster-father instruct Barry to return the book to my teacher, and tell her that I stole it and I lied about it. Sure enough, in the morning right in the middle of a reading class, there’s Barry knocking on the door to my classroom and walks in with the book in his hand, approaches my 3rd grade teacher Mrs. Baldassano  while he looked right at me and said the following, ” My Foster brother Michael stole this book, and had no attention of returning it”,  then looked at me with a grin on his face and walked out of the classroom.

My teacher just stared at me with disappointment and asked to see me when class was over.  My classmates all sat there in total silence as I just wanted to crawl inside my desk feeling humiliated and embarrassed what just took place. Here is my foster-brother walking into my class, and tells everyone that I was a thief. From that moment on, I knew that no matter what, he was going to pay for doing that.  He had no idea what I was planning to do, and either did I , but I knew one day I was going to make him pay…and pay he did, just read the story “MY SEVERANCE PAY.”   🙂

 

Cotton balls and Pancake

I am sure most of you are wondering how did the Social Services fail me and not know what was happening all those years living in that foster home, and not have one person intervene on my behalf. Simply put it…no one  knew. I never said anything to anyone until I was 17  and already out on my own to my than social worker Judy O’Brien.

You also have to understand that this was the late 60’s and 70’s. Child Abuse was not even an issue or talked about back then, and it wasn’t till the 80’s when it finally was getting the attention and the recognition it deserved. I will tell you how my beatings were hidden from the outside world that not even my teachers picked up on any signs that were clearly there staring in their faces.

For starters, no one saw the bruises on my neck because most of my beatings that took place always seemed to be on the weekends. So that gave a couple of days for the marks to fade away. But, when I was beaten on a week night, my mother had something she would use in the morning before I went to school…and that was Cotton Balls and Pancake.

Now anyone from the 70’s know what I am talking about. The women back then used that as make up from a small tan liquid bottle on their faces to cover any blemishes or break outs. So when I would come down stairs to have breakfast, my mother would notices some bruises on my neck and  go into the medicine cabinet and return with cotton balls and her magic bottle of that brown makeup.

She would lightly dab away as she blew on the cover up to dry faster before carefully buttoning up my white school shirt but leave the top open and clipped on my school tie. From what I heard, there was doubt that this was even done to me. But let me make this very clear. Everyone was upstairs getting dressed for school because they were always dragging their ass’s getting ready for school and that is why no one ever saw this take place.

What’s crazy about this story is, I just remembered this not too long ago. I was flipping through the cable channels one night, when I came across a scene of a woman who had been robbed and beaten by a mugger and was too afraid to tell anyone including her husband. Turns out  that she was cheating and didn’t belong in that undesirable neighborhood  across town in the first place.

The next morning, she looked in the mirror and saw bruises on her neck and arm. Nervously she took out some cotton balls and make up and started dabbing away where the marks were…than just stared at herself in the mirror. That’s when it hit me. That was exactly what my foster-mother did to cover up the art work her husband left on my neck countless times. Amazing, after all these years, it took a scene from a movie to remind me this forgotten secret…… Cotton Balls and Pancake.

 

I Am My Brother’s Keeper

My brother was about three years old when we were going back and forth to this foster home back in 1968 before being placed there permanently. He had no idea what was going on, and I am sure his memory of anything that young was very limited at best. But I will share with you all something  what both our foster parents would do to him that would get him to cry.

No, they didn’t touch him or beat him in any way.They didn’t punish him or anything like that. It was six words they would torture  him with…I Don’t Love You No More! They both would say that to him just to see his mouth shake, what they referred as the “Birdie Mouth” followed by pressing his head against my mother’s side and cry. 

What was wrong with them. At that age we both were traumatized coming from a life of a broken home, and being placed in an orphanage home before being placed here, and for your enjoyment, you tell a five-year old that you don’t love him anymore?I’m not kidding. I can’t remember how many times they would do that to him…even at the dinner table they would pull that shit with him in front of everyone.

What bothered me even  more, after teasing him, you know what they would do next…..HUG HIM! After my baby brother cried his eye’s out so many times, they had the audacity to HUG HIM after repeatedly telling him how they didn’t love him anymore?  What were they thinking of? Did they really believe that was funny to them?

To them and everyone else at the table thought it was cute to see him get upset the way he did, but for the life of me, could never understand why they would do such a thing to a little boy, who by the way…WAS MY BROTHER! I hated all of them for doing that to him for a long time. Just the thought of it now is upsetting that I can’t think straight.

I had to stop doing this story for ten minutes just to clear my head before I continue. Maybe he doesn’t remember any of this…I don’t know, not like we talked about it…but I remembered, and that’s all that  matters.  I love my brother so much, that I would go back in time right now, this very second, and let my foster-father give me his best beatings, if it stopped my brother from ever hearing those words.

Just because he was adopted and holds another last name, never changed the fact, that he is my brother to this day, and I will always look out for him till the day I die……for I am My Brother’s Keeper!

Pass The Salt Please

It was a hot summer Saturday afternoon back in 1976, and my mother put out cold cuts for dinner like she usually did when she didn’t feel like cooking, and that was just fine with me. I loved the ham sandwiches with potato and macaroni salad on the side. That was a treat considering that we ate the same food every week.

The week started off with starting soup on Monday, Hamburgers (burnt) on Tuesday, Steak (burnt) on Wednesday, Prince Spaghetti day on Thursday, and Fri was either Fish sticks (burnt) or Pizza from Master’s Pizzeria. So when it came to eating sandwiches I was having seconds. But this particular day, when I went down in the basement to get soda from the refrigerator, there were only four cans left.

Shit…I forgot to tell my foster-father that we were running low on soda a few days ago, so that after work he would have brought home a couple of cases like he always did. If you remember a few stories back, I had many chores  and counting soda was one of them. I stood there for about a minute thinking of an excuse why I forgot to tell him we were running low. 

I knew he was going to be pissed when I came back up with only four cans instead of six. I mean, this guy loved his soda. I had already experienced his wrath when I had forgotten a few other times over the years. So once again, I had to think of an excuse, but I couldn’t. I figured I was due for a berating session anyway, so what the fuck right?

 I mean, it had been awhile, so I am sure for him this would be justification to start calling me names like bow-legged freak, spic, good for nothing, or his favorite name he had for me…Michelle!  Hell, maybe he might sneak up behind me as he always did, and give me one of his favorite ” Karate Chops” to the neck. Either way, this was not going to end well for me.

So there I am, unloading the sodas from my arms, and that one can of beer for my grand father, when sure enough he asked where were the other cans? I didn’t even bother trying to make up a story, I just told him that I forgot to remind him that we were running low. He didn’t say anything at first.

He just sat there looking around the table as if he was waiting for someone else to bitch, but no one said anything. My mother, with a soft voice said it was fine and made a jug of iced tea for anyone who wasn’t drinking soda. She saved the day and I wasn’t going to get in trouble after all. We just started eating our sandwiches when my foster-father decided to ask me out of the blue, what were we going to drink on Sunday?

In my head, I responded with a fuck you, followed by how I didn’t give a shit what they drank, and they all could drink dog piss for all I care, or maybe get off his ass and go to the fucking store himself  if he needed to drink that shit so bad with dinner. I Swear that’s exactly what I said… in my head of course. But, in reality I just looked at him and said I didn’t know.  

That was not going to fly well, because nothing he hated more was hearing those words “I Don’t Know” coming from my mouth when I didn’t have an answer for something. If that didn’t crush his balls, the ” Shrugging of my Shoulders ” would drive him over the edge for sure. Now, I took many beatings over the years for doing just that, but the shrugging of the shoulders was all I could do when I was too scared to say “I don’t know” when asked a question.

His face would get all distorted with just those three words. But today it was different. He just sat there calm for a moment than he takes his can and throws it at me and hits me on the right side of my head. His daughter Sally, who sat to my left, ducked on that one. My mother yelled at him for a few seconds, and the table got quiet.

My grand father could only shake his head with disgust, leave his half eaten sandwich, and head back to his bedroom upset. This old man had seen enough. He was in his 80’s and couldn’t do anything to stop the abuse he had witnessed over the years, and I knew that bothered him.

My foster-father continued complaining how there wasn’t going to be any soda for Sunday’s dinner while my mother tired of his mouth, tells him to just shut up. I just leaned over like a convict protecting his chow, and started eating my potato salad when he explodes out of his chair, lunges over the table and “Stabs” me in my right arm with his FORK! 

I’m telling you, that fork not only broke skin, but stood in an up right position when he let go for a couple of seconds before my mother jumps out from her chair and runs over screaming at him as she pulled it from my arm. She then hurries into the bathroom and gets out that bottle of red liquid called Mercurochrome and dabbed it on my arm…..You know what I did?

I asked Barry to pass the salt as I took my fork from my right hand and switched to my left and defiantly continued eating saying absolutely nothing. I then got up to throw away my paper plate and went straight to my room. As I cried silently on my bed, right then and there, I decided I wasn’t going to give this ” PRICK ” any more satisfaction seeing my pain any longer.

I was going to fight back from now on. I didn’t know how just yet. It was not like I was planning to do it anytime soon, but you can bet your ass, the next time he even thinks of beating me……..will be his last.

 

The TRUTH Shall Set You Free

If you thought for one moment this GI Joe watch was over…think again. That was round one of the ass kicking I took that Friday night, and I never admitted anything or told the true story how I even obtained the watch in the first place. I guess I should have, then the punishment would have fitted the crime… well in his mind at least.

You see, the next morning I took my time to go down stairs for breakfast, I was waiting for my foster-father to go outside or do something, just as long as he wasn’t in the kitchen. But when I walked in, there he was sitting at the table smoking his Pall Malls reading the newspaper as always. Every morning, he wake up coughing and spitting up all that shit in his throat for like five minutes straight, from many years abusing his lungs since he was a teen.

There were many times he would have a choking fit right in the bathroom by the kitchen. I would lay in bed listening, and be waiting for my mother’s scream for someone to dial 911. To be honest, I was hoping that he would have choked to death. I fantasized that the paramedics came and couldn’t do anything to save him and pronounced him dead right there on the floor of the kitchen, right where I sat having my Cheerios.

When everyone was screaming and crying…I was smiling. May sound sick, but that’s the truth! Anyway, as I sat down to eat my Cheerios, he was sitting at his spot pretending to read his newspaper while puffing away on his Pall Malls, but I am sure what was on his mind wasn’t in the papers, but the vicious beating he had given me the night before.

My mother was wiping down the table when he decided to ask me again about that watch. I guess he thought that I would just  get down on my hands and knees and blurt out a confession that I stole that watch from his son. Let’s get this straight. I stole the watch and lied where I got it from.

I gave it to his son like an idiot, then took it back and returned it to my classmate without him ever knowing it, and this poor excuse for a parent, continued questioning me like he bought the watch for his son and I actually stole it from him. That wasn’t going to happened. So I stuck with the original story, and denied everything.

Then suddenly, he started talking nice and asked if I was playing with it, and just forgot where I left it. Seemed like an opening to me, so I went with it and said maybe and that I just didn’t remember. So he asked me where was the last place I was and we both can look for it. Well, I thought about the back yard and the empty lot next to us and said that I was there playing.

He decided that after I finished eating, we both will go outside and search for it. Fine with me but right there, even for a ten-year old, I knew it was going to be a long day, and a long day it was. Every time we couldn’t find it, I would tell him it might be somewhere else… in the back yard, the side of the house, the empty lot next door to us, my bedroom, even the basement and attic.

By now, seven hours had passed looking for this frigging watch that didn’t exist, I still refused to tell the truth.By where the sun was, I knew it was past dinner time and everyone had finished eating and was out of the house. I went back in the woods, and continued to search until my mother called me in to wash up and eat dinner.

After cleaning up, I sat down alone at the table with my dinner on a paper plate with another one covering it. There was no microwave to reheat, so I sat there eating a cold dry burnt hamburger with French fries and corn on the side. A can of Hoffman cola sat there warm. I had just put the fork in my mouth to begin eating when I felt that familiar force to the back of my neck with the flash of bright white light that followed in my head.

I was already on the floor, when he grabbed me again by the throat and threw me into the china closet. I could hear my mother yelling once again for him to stop, but all I heard was his voice for her to mind her own business. No one was in the kitchen but us three. Just as I got up, I was lifted off the ground and rammed into the pantry closet just like the night before.

I was screaming by then and begging for him to stop, but that wasn’t the end of it. He grabbed me in a bear hug, and I must have taken about three blows to the back of my neck while my mother was trying to pull him off.  As much as she was shielding me, he still managed to get one more hard smack to the side of my head that my ear felt like it was on fire.

It was so numb I didn’t feel it for hours. While this was going on, he kept asking if I stole the watch while my mother pushed him  away from me. By now, I would have admitted that I caused the Great Black out of 1977 to stop him from beating me. Between catching my breath from crying so much, I told him that I did take it and lost it.

My mother, in a soft sympathetic voice, asked me why didn’t I just tell them the truth? I just looked at her and told her that I was scared. She then sent me to my room where I stayed for the rest of the evening till I fell asleep. When I woke up, it was Sunday morning and I could hear everyone downstairs in the kitchen eating breakfast.

I could smell bacon and my mother’s pancakes all the way upstairs to my bedroom. She went to the bottom of the steps calling me to come down and eat. As I walked in the kitchen, my mother had already made me a plate. I sat down, not saying a word to anyone and started eating.

I had to apologize to their son for taking the watch and lying about it. The funny thing is…to this day, I never told any of them the TRUE STORY about that GI Joe watch. But, I do know one thing….whoever said the TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE….was an ASSHOLE!

 

G.I. Joe Watch (Part 3)

Well, I heard lots of moving around upstairs in my bedroom for a good twenty minutes and then silence. Other then my baby brother whining about how he didn’t want to eat any more of his fish sticks it was pretty much the same at the dinner table…it’s amazing I can remember that. I don’t know what was going through my mind at that very moment, but he was about to come back down empty-handed and I was bracing myself for the inevitable.

When I glanced to my left, I could see him walking back through the hallway and he was moving in slow motion. Even the sound of my brother’s voice whining sounded slow. As I looked around the table, everybody was in slow motion. My mother was cutting up my little brother’s fish sticks, and it seems like seconds just to make one cut. All of a sudden, I felt this pressure on the back of my neck, and a bright flash of white light flooded throughout the inside of my head.

Than everything started moving normal again, and as if someone turned up the volume from inside my head. Then it happened. Linda had moved away from her seat, because I found myself bending over toward her side of the chair, and she was standing between the doorway of the kitchen and the backroom.

That when I  was lifted off the ground and thrown against the pantry door behind me where I was sitting. I looked right at his eyes, and what I saw wasn’t the man I once saw playing the banjo with a lampshade on his head all happy and singing…this was a monster with a red face and his eyes just as red, had his hands around my throat, lifting me off the ground, slamming my head as hard as he could into the pantry door.

His fingers were so tight around my little neck, I no longer could scream or cry because he had cut off my air way…I was going to die right there in the kitchen. Through my tears, I looked over to my mother, and I think she was scarred herself, because I finally saw her get up from her chair making her way to me, yelling for him to stop.

As he still held on to me, I could see him biting his tongue as he always did, before and during all my beatings, then he opened his hand and released me. I dropped hard onto the floor trying to catch my breath, with my pants all wet from peeing myself, I looked up to see my mother above, shielding me from the hands of a monster.

He continued to scream in a deep voice, calling me a Spic (slang for Puerto Rican) and a Thief, as he tried to reach over my mother’s shoulder, attempting to grab the back of my neck. As she lifted me, I thought I was going to pass out in her arms. He walked over to his chair, still calling me a fucking spic and a thief, and went on about how his kids never stole anything, and how he has a spic in the house who’s a thief.

I don’t know what else he was saying, because I was trying to stop crying so I could catch my breath. She called him a “Fucking Animal” for doing what he did, as she held me tight in her arms. My mother when upset or angry, had no problem using every cuss word in the book. She used all of them on him.

I looked over through her arms and could see him almost choking on his own dentures that were falling out of his mouth from yelling so much, trying to fix them, as he still continue the verbal assault. As she was wiping my tears and my face with her apron, my mother told me to go upstairs and change my clothes and to lay down on the bed to calm down.

I remember asking her if he was going to go upstairs also, which she assure me that he wasn’t. I left the kitchen and through the hallway covering my mouth, so he wouldn’t hear me crying, and went straight upstairs to the bathroom to wash up. I looked in the mirror and all I saw was red marks all over my neck, and my eyeballs looked like they were bleeding.

I looked down at my pants and they were soaking wet from peeing all over myself. I took them off, and the smell got stronger.  You know when you change little babies diapers, as soon as you take off the clothes, you get that first whiff after they pee on themselves….that was me…except I was ten and not ten months old.

I could still hear him yelling at his wife, just couldn’t hear what he was saying. I guess I didn’t want to. My neck was starting to hurt, and my body began to ache. I just cleaned myself up and went to bed. You know what I was doing when I was laying there all alone in the room? I tried to hold my breath as long as I could…..Ten years old, and I had my first thoughts of suicide.

 

G.I. Joe Watch (part 2)

I would have had a great plan had Barry not walked in the bedroom when he did, but now I had to figure out a way to get Tony’s watch back without him knowing that I had taken it in the first place. Not to drift here, but I hated spelling bee’s when we had them in class, because the easiest words gave me the most headaches, like the word Stressful…S…T…R…E…S…S…F…U…l…Stressful, and that was exactly how my day was.

I looked up at our classroom clock, with my left leg shaking under my desk from anxiety, waiting for this day to end. The clock shows 2:43…two more minutes, I got this under control, I’m saying to myself with my eyes closed. I open them up and it was only 2:44. I thought for sure my eyes were closed for two minutes.

I looked around the classroom to see that all my other classmates are waiting patiently, and here I am ready to pull a hammer out from my ass and run up to the bell above the classroom door and bang it myself.  Finally went off….Thank God! I ran to the head of the line to be the first to dart out of the building to my waiting mother in the parking lot.

But of course, we had to wait for the rest of the Partridge family to get out of class. So we sat there for at least another five minutes till everyone got in the car so we can head on home. My mother seems to be taking her time exiting the parking lot, and here I am wishing I was Fred Flintstones so I can blast both my feet through the car floor and help her move this blue dragon on wheels faster.

On our way, I looked over at Barry’s wrist, and sure enough he’s wearing the watch. He had no idea that he will not be wearing that for long once I get my hands on it…again. After stopping at the grocery store on our way home, as we always did for bread, milk and snacks, we finally pulled in the driveway.

As always, I would go upstairs first to change, while both my foster sisters seemed to linger in their school uniform for a while, when Barry walks in and started to change also. I noticed he took the watch off and placed it inside the night table draw and closed it. He put on his sneakers and out the bedroom door he went.

That night, when everyone was in bed, I looked over to see if he was sleeping, and then opened the draw slowly to peek if the watch was inside…and it was. I closed it, and laid there waiting to hear my foster-father cough his ass off downstairs as he always did. That’s when I knew it was almost time for all of us to get up.

So I got up first, took the watch, and placed it inside my school bag and jumped back into bed till I heard my foster-father leave the house and my mother ironing all our uniforms as she did every single morning. I could still hear the sounds of the steam coming from that old iron as I am typing. She then would stand at the bottom of the stairs and scream out every one of our names to get out of bed.

 She would do that a couple of times till she blew a gasket and started using profanity and her yells became piercing screams. I was already downstairs by then, eating my cereal when she would switch from Mrs. Brady to Linda Blare from the Exorcist. My younger brother was right next to me at the kitchen table as always.

We were never a problem getting up, it was her kids that would give her the nervous break down every single morning. Anyway, as we jumped inside the car, I noticed Barry wasn’t wearing the GI Joe watch and didn’t say anything either…good…because he was never going to see that watch again as long as he lived that’s for sure.

When we got to the school, everyone was already inside because we were late…as always. So I had to get a late pass from the principal’s office and headed to my classroom. My classmates were already settled in, waiting to start daily prayer. I noticed that Tony was not in that day…talk about luck…so I took the watch and placed it inside his desk all the way back with his school books and the dirty deed was done.

The watch was returned to its rightful owner, now I would have to go to confession and spill my guts to Father Sandie’s what I had done, and receive my penance…and that would be 4 Our Father’s, 3 Hail Mary’s and my sin would be forgiven. Well, that may be true for most, but it wasn’t God who I feared in my young life.

 

As it turned out, my classmate Tony had the Chicken pox and was out for that whole week. So I felt pretty good that when he returns, he will find his watch and all would be just fine. Barry never brought up the watch either, so I guess you can say all went well. But that would not be the case. That Friday night, we were all at the dinner table eating fish sticks and fries, Barry decided at that moment, to ask me if I had seen the G.I. Joe watch I had given him.

I knew something was up, but I continued eating pretending that I didn’t hear him. That gave me enough time to think fast how to respond. So, he asked again, but this time he wasn’t he only one. Linda had asked me also. I can understand why Barry did, but not for nothing, why was she asking me?  

I just looked up and said I didn’t know, and reminded him that he had it last, and had no idea what he did with it. My mother just sat there with a look on her face, and that was enough for me to figure this topic was not about to end. I continued eating when his father asked him where he put it last.

Barry responded that it was in his night table and when he went to put it on today it was gone. With that, my heart started beating fast, followed by my head feeling all warm once again, and on top of that, I now lost my appetite. I knew that I couldn’t very well tell the truth, that I originally stole the watch and returned it to its owner, so I just played it cool, to see where this was heading.

But I do know this, they all knew about this missing watch way before I even sat at the dinner table, as if this was planned from the beginning when the questioning would come up. My foster-father turned to me and asked when did I see the watch last. All I did was shrug my shoulder and said I didn’t know, when without warning, he flung his can of soda just missing me and landed on the floor behind me.

He then stood up and asked me if I had stolen it from his son. The last time I heard the word “Stole” was when I was about eight years old when I took my friends Scott’s watch from his toy box. Before I got to answer him, he went over to where I was sitting, grabbed the back of my neck and said the following… You Son of a Bitch, you better hope I find it before I come back down! 

He then let go, stormed out of the kitchen and up the stairs he went to find the watch. It was silent for a moment at the table, I looked over to my mother and I know I gave her the look hoping that she will protect me for what was about to happen next when her husband comes back down stairs empty-handed….

 

The G.I. Joe Watch (Part 1)

To all who are following my blog up to this point, as I have warned before, this story and the many more to follow, will not only be disturbing, but violent as well. Back in 1969, I was supposed to be saved from a life in an orphanage by being placed in a Foster Home, where I should have been protected, loved and sheltered, from the ugliness I once knew growing up in the projects back on the west side of NYC.

Instead, it was that very foster home where I needed to be saved from. As I think back remembering every single beating by the hands of the man I would one day call “Dad”, I can only think of two things that I feared most growing up in that house for those 8 years….my foster-father’s temper, and when he would silently stand behind me.

It was the beginning of June in 1972, and we had a couple more weeks before the school year ended. Did I ever mention that I went to Catholic school? Mt. Carmel St. Benedict was the name. The last time I drove by the old building was about 10 years ago…surprised that it still looks the same just with fewer children then when I went.

Back in the day, we had nuns and priest for teachers, mixed in also were Leigh teachers. When we horsed around in class, or got caught doing something we weren’t supposed to be doing, we paid the price by the back hands of those very nuns who were our teachers. Nowadays, two things happen to any teachers that even touch a student for disciplinary action…LAWSUITS and JAIL TIME.                                                                                                                                

 That’s a shame in my opinion. Because to this day, I wish I could thank some of those very nuns that cracked me across the face for the antics I pulled when I was a little boy. I spent enough days having to stay after school mopping the convent floors, or cleaning the nun’s chapel dusting all the statues and replacing candles that needed to be…well….replaced.

Trust me, even back then, getting punished by the nuns, because I chose to be one of the class clown for attention, (wonder why), but my punishments continued at home as well…talk about double jeopardy. Growing up in a Catholic school with the teachers we had, Democracy did not exist no matter what our history books taught us.

If you acted up even just once, and you paid the ultimate price in front of the class….Humiliation!But, I had that wrapped up and sealed in my young life. I was used to being humiliated and having my share of Discipline by my foster-father back home. Guess you can say I was a pro receiving  more than just his back hand when I got in trouble at home…even when I actually did nothing wrong but shrug my shoulders when asked a simple question like…Did you do that?

Anyway, one day I was sitting in class when I noticed my classmate Tony was wearing a cool green watch. When I asked to see it, he turned around and showed me all the cool things it had…like a compass, guess if you got lost in the school yard, a mini telescope, to spy on the girls when they were playing jump rope in the school yard, and a cool time design in the shape of GI Joe laying down with a rifle in his hand.                                                            

So, what do I do? I asked him if I can wear it. He had no trouble taking it off  and handing it to me just like that. Even helped me strap it on. What a nice kid right? Well, after the bell rang for lunch, we all put our books away, when I nonchalant  took the watch off and placed it inside my school bag in the back of the classroom.

We all got on-line and headed to the cafeteria for lunch. I guess Tony forgot that he came to school with it on, because he never once said anything to me for the rest of the day. The last bell rang on this warm Friday afternoon, letting us know it was 2:15 and the end of the school day.

We all got up, rushed to the back of the room to retrieve our school bags, then jumped on-line to stand next to our school buddies to be marched out of the classroom and out of the school building to be released to our waiting parents either in the front lobby or outside in the parking lot. It was the weekend, our two days off  from school with no homework.

When I got home, the first thing we all did was to get out of our school uniforms and put on our play clothes, then back down stairs in the kitchen to do our homework if we had any that day. But the only ones who really did was just me. Everyone else did theirs anywhere but the kitchen.

After torturing my mother as she helped me do my math homework, which I never had enough fingers and toes to count with, I put my books back in my school bag and then rushed outside to play with my friends till I heard my mother’s voice yelling through the front door. As practiced by all the moms in the neighborhood, that it was time for dinner.

I would then stop whatever I was doing and run back home and through the kitchen to wash my hands in the bathroom. But for some reason, before I sat down at my spot, I remembered that I placed the GI Joe watch on the night table that was between my foster-brother’s bed and mine. When I went to retrieve the stolen goods to hide it, it was too late.

My foster-brother was in the room getting changed when he had the watch in his hand and asked me where I got it from. Thinking fast, I told him that I found it up the street at the old school yard where we always played baseball. He then asked me if he could have it as he was trying it on. Without hesitation I said yes. What was I thinking?

I’m the one that lifted the goods and took the risk of getting caught, and here I am letting him have my watch. So, we both went down stairs to eat our dinner. We had a big round dark wooden table in our kitchen, so the seating chart was at follows…My foster sister Linda sat to my right, her sister Sandy sat to my left.

To her left was my Grandfather, to his left was the baby of the family my brother, and then my mother, then her son Barry, then last but not least…my foster-father. The table may have been round, but he made it very clear he was sitting at the head of the table…and you knew it!

As we were eating, my foster father, in the middle of dinner, noticed the green watch on his son’s wrist and asked him if that was his best friends watch because he never saw it before. Barry told him that I found it outside and gave it to him. So far so good. No one made a big issue out of this, so I was feeling pretty good.

I mean, yes, I took this watch from a school friend, who didn’t know it was missing. Barry is now wearing it, and I didn’t get the third degree about exactly how I found it. After dinner, I cleaned up a bit and went back outside to play. It was the weekend now, and not once did I never say Barry wear the watch.

But I did see it sitting there at the end of the night table, so I just looked at it for a second and I started to feel guilty that I have taken it in the first place. It was Monday morning and we were all getting ready for school. I took one more look at the watch just for a brief moment and thought about hiding it in my school bag and just return it back to Tony.

I could have said I forgot even had it and wanted to return it…and honest Abe move at best. But, before I finished that thought, Barry came back inside the room, put his uniform on and wouldn’t you believe he put the frigging watch on? You got to be kidding me. He doesn’t wear it all weekend, and now he decides to wear it…to school…where I stole I from? 

I could see that this was going to be a long day that’s for sure. I could hear my mother yelling at all of us that it was time to leave, and all I could do was stared at that watch on Barry’s wrist as we left the house, and inside the car on our way to school. Even when we got out of the car to kiss our mother good-bye, I still couldn’t take my eye’s off that damn watch.

Just as we started walking, our principal would ring the hand hell gold-plated bell for us to stop what we were doing. The second ring was for us to get in line. The third was to enter the school building and  march in line right into our classroom. As we were taking our books out of our bags, Tony, the boy who I took the watch from, turned around and asked me had I seen his watch he let me wear that past Friday.

My heart pounded so fast and felt my head getting all hot as I was trying to think fast what to say back. What seemed like minutes was actually just seconds when I responded that I gave it back to him and maybe he lost it. Great, not only am I a thief, now I’m a liar as well. I even helped him look for it inside his desk.

I could see that it was on his mind throughout the day, because he kept looking for it any chance he got. I had to do something, I had to get that watch back to him one way or another…So I had a plan to do just that.                                                                                                                                                                           

 

Banjo and Lampshades

The only good quality that I saw in my foster-father was his humor. I have to admit, when he was in the mood to clown around, he put it all out there to get a laugh, even if it was a lame joke. This one time, I remember playing catch with my younger brother when our mother called us inside for dinner.

We tossed our gloves off and raced, as always, to the back door to see who made it to the bathroom to wash up first.  It was usually me, but sometimes I let him win so that I can throw it in his face when I needed too. Brotherly love at it’s best! Anyway, I was sitting at the kitchen table while my mother was putting the food on the table, when my left arm started to hurt. 

As I started to rub it, I caught my foster-father’s attention and he asked me if my arm hurt when I moved it, which I responded back that it did. He snapped back with a smile on his face, and told me not to move it then. He went on about it for a few more seconds, but it always got a chuckle from me, because it was the faces he made when he asked me different questions about moving my arms.

At times, he just would sit at his spot at the table with his legs crossed, smoking a Pall Mall, and would make smoke rings come out of his mouth as he rolled his eye’s back blinking them fast. Maybe he didn’t always get the laughs from his own kids, but he always got them from me. He would take spoons and play them as if they were drum sticks and hit anything in front of him, and that would annoy the shit out of my foster-sister Linda at times and she let him know it too.

Besides Linda being tall and very pretty, she sometimes came off a bit tough with her mouth, and I kind of liked that in her. She was the kind of girl who not only stood up for herself, but with that big smile and personality, you knew she was in the room no matter where we went. She also just might be the reason I love curvy women in jeans to this day.

She wore them tight like it was second skin back when she was in her teens. To me, it was almost as if jeans were invented with her in mind. If anyone had a perfect body to wear them…it was Linda hands down. OK, I’m drifting away here…let’s get back to my original story. My foster-father also had a hidden talent that I for one never knew.

I must have been about thirteen years old when we all went to Williamsburg Brooklyn for a New Years Eve party, held in my Uncle’s basement where we had been plenty of times for family functions over the years.My brother and I were in the living room playing when all we could hear were the women  laughing and screaming, as music played in the background.

Our Aunts, Cousins and Uncles were downstairs, but the ones we heard the most, were the Aunts doing all the hollering and screaming. So we got up, walked over to the basement door to listen to someone singing with music. I opened the door, with my brother behind me, and went halfway down the steps and knelt between the banisters to see someone wearing what seem to be a big hat, playing a banjo singing in a silly voice. You guessed it, it was my foster-father.

Whatever the words were to the song he was singing had everyone laughing and screaming, trying to sing along with him. All I could do was stare at him and everything he was doing from where we were on the steps. I don’t know what came over me, but I went down those steps and walked closer to him to see his face. I remember just staring at him as if I was hypnotized or something.

What I thought was a big hat turned out to be a lampshade over his head while he played this banjo just singing away. The family surrounded him as if he was a performer surrounded by his fans on stage.  For some reason, when he stopped in the middle of this song to take a sip from his drink or say something, god only knows what, they all burst out laughing, followed by claps and laughs.  

I wish I knew what the hell the song was, or if it was a song he made up. But it doesn’t matter. Whatever it was, sure got everyone all excited and worked up almost in a frenzy. He was the star of the family that night, and everyone loved him. Then one of our cousins yelled that it was almost New Years and then the count started…5…4…3…2…1….then everyone yelled Happy New Year!!!

As the hugs and kisses spread throughout the basement, I looked over to where my foster-father was standing with his drink in his hand and that silly lampshade still on his head, and for a moment…just for a moment, I wanted to be like him. Too bad when we went home that News Years evening, the banjo wasn’t in the car to come home with us….

 

My Grandpa

The only man I have ever known to call my grandfather, was my foster mother’s dad Terry. He was from Italy the town of Naples, the old country as he would say. I remember one day  he showed me pictures of himself as a young man, he was not only handsome, but built like a bull as well.  I would ask him many times to make a muscle just so I can see him flex and be amazed of the size of his arms that looked like they were ready to explode.

Almost every night, I would go upstairs and sit down on the floor beside his bed as he sat on his rocking chair by the window watching either Gun Smoke or Bonanza on his TV set. That man loved all western movies and series. But nothing excited him more than watching a John ‘The Duke” Wayne movie. 

I would be sitting down on the floor, watching one of his favorite shows, and he’d ask me to get him a beer from the basement, which was pretty much almost every night. I would look at him with a smile and as I left his room like the happy obedient littler servant that I was. I would get him his favorite beer Schaffer from the fridge, run back upstairs to his room, and stand directly in front of him with the can in my hand anticipating his next move, the nodding of his head.

That’s right. I’d stare at him like a faithful dog giving his master the ball so he can throw it. But the ball was that very can of beer I was holding and the nod he gave was the sign to open it up and take a sip, and boy did I take big sips. When I  finished, I handed him back the beer and sat back down wiping  the excess off my lips as we continued watching whatever program was on the TV set.

 Come to think of it, I even remember my first sip of beer with him. I was sitting on the floor in his bedroom as I usually did, watching Ten Commandments with Charleston Heston. Just after the scene when Moses’ mother told him who he was, while she was holding his blanket that he was wrapped in as a little baby inside the basket, my grand father asked me to get him a beer.

I must have been about eleven years old at that time, but I did just that for him and came back in his room with the beer in my hand. He looked at me and asked if I wanted a sip. There were only two people besides my grandfather who I ever saw drinking beer… my childhood best friend’s dad and my uncle who lived in Williamsburg Brooklyn.

So I figured if they drank it,  it must taste good. So, I took  one sip, followed by another small one when he encouraged me to take a man’s sip. So I took a big gulp and started coughing it up because it went straight down my throat. My eyes watered up and I felt my belly get all cold. The only thing I remember thinking  following that episode was, how good it taste!

The rest was history. That was our moment together when men were men drinking beer and sharing tales together. Ok, I’m exaggerating a bit, but still, that was always my highlight sharing a few sips of beer with my grandfather after a long day at the office.

I have many other nice memories of him besides our beer moments. I used to help him in the garden and water the vegetables. I helped him make his wine one year with my brother and foster-sister. I would hand him his cane and walk with him around the block just to stretch his legs. I loved being around that man.

When I used to get in trouble, he would come out of his bedroom, and walk down the stairs with heavy steps that everyone would hear, walk into the kitchen, rub the top of my head and pull out his chair and sit next to me. It wasn’t until I was in my 40’s that I came to realize why he would do that the few times that he did….he was protecting me.

One of the last memories I have of him before he passed away was the day my foster-father made him cry during the biggest verbal fight I ever saw  between two grown men. I was right there at that kitchen when that happened. It started over feeding his dog from the dinner table and then escalated  to other things.

Now, I may not remember word for word what came out of both of their mouth’s, but I do remember the last words that came from my grand father’s mouth before he left the kitchen in tears. He yelled at my foster-father that he had no right treating me the way he did, and with that, he slid his chair out from underneath of him, stormed out of the kitchen, went upstairs to his bedroom and slammed his door shut.

That day, all I could think of was how much  more I hated my foster-father for what he had done to the only man I called Grandpa. It took me a long time to get over my grandfather’s death. I remember thinking days after my grandfather passed way, I will no longer hear his heavy steps coming down the stairs….. to protect me anymore.

 

Daddy’s Home (Part 2)

Now, where did we leave off? That’s right, we were on the back porch when Scott’s dad opened the door and invited us in. Not like this was a social visit or anything, but I think he knew why we were there in the first place, because  of  the look he gave me as I walked in, like a I know what you did  kind of look, if you know what I mean.

I was standing  between both my foster parents when my foster-father asked me if I had anything to say to Scott’s dad. Just before I said anything, Scott’s mom walked inside the playroom with a smile on her face saying hello to all of us as she asked if we wanted anything to drink. But my foster-father made it very clear that we weren’t there to visit at the moment but to return something that didn’t belong to me.

He reached into his pants pocket and pulled out the silver watch that I have taken a few days ago from inside the very room we all were standing in. He continued to tell what I’ve  done and wanted their son to know  I stole something that didn’t belong to me. I remember being embarrassed more than anything when he used the word stole.

I didn’t think I did. Not like I saw it and waited for Scott to walk away and intentionally put it in my pocket. I just put it on my wrist and we continued playing, but to my foster-father…I stole it. I had to apologize and promised that I will never do anything like that again. Scott’s father just told me that if I ever wanted to take anything home in the future, to let them know and it would be just fine.

They were very understanding, and that made me feel better. After that, we said our good byes and walked out  and went back home. I thought that was the end of that, but that wasn’t the case.  I walked into our house and went straight  up stairs to my bedroom to play with my brother when I hear my Sandy outside my bedroom door telling me that her father wanted to see me.

Thinking that the watch thing was over and forgotten, I thought nothing of it when I went back down stairs into the kitchen and walked over to where he was sitting. My foster-father  asked me a question that caught me by surprised. He wanted to know if I stole the watch. Confused I responded no. He asked me again if I had stolen the watch, but this time his faced changed like he was getting mad.  

I looked around to see blank stares from Linda and Sandy when suddenly, I felt my neck being grabbed and my pants and underwear  being pulled down. I  felt my body be lifted off the kitchen floor and placed over my foster fathers knees. He pulled his black belt off from his pants, and the next thing I  remember was being whipped on my naked bottom as I was screaming as loud as I can for him to stop.

It’s amazing what you remember when you’re getting your ass handed to you but, I looked  through my tears  and no one did anything to stop him, including my foster-mother. Everything seemed to be in slow motion. The only sounds I remember hearing was the sound of the belt being whipped on my ass and my screams….then he stopped. 

He took me off his knees and had me stand there with my pants to my ankles with everyone in the kitchen looking at me. I remember my foster-mother with paper towels in her hand, or maybe it was a towel, I ‘m not sure, but she told me to pull my pants up and she began wiping the floor. I thought that was strange considering that I  just got ass whipped by her husband, and there she is cleaning the floor.

I  don’t remember much after that, but do remember going up stairs and laying on my bed crying for a while. But then I noticed that my legs were wet and realized that I wet myself during the beating. So, I got up and  pulled out clean pants and underwear from my dresser and changed my clothes. As I was putting my pants on, now I knew why my mother was wiping the floor.

From then on, as I gotten older, no matter where I was in that house, as soon as I heard anyone yell Daddy’s Home….I felt sick to my stomach, even when I knew I never did anything wrong. This went on for all those years living in that house until I finally had the courage to leave when I was fifteen. Sometimes, when I think back…..I wish I had left sooner.

 

Daddy’s Home (Part 1)

There are a plenty of words you like to hear as a child growing up, like for instance… Milk shakes, Cotton candy, Amusement parks, Swimming pools, Play ground and of course everyone’s favorite, Ice Cream! Then there are words you never wanted to hear like Bath time, Homework, Test scores, Your punish, make your bed and clean your room.

Mine weren’t any of those. The only two words I hated to hear and feared more than anything else in the world growing up in the foster home was ”Daddy’s Home”.  When I heard those words coming from anyone’s mouth, no matter where I was in the house, I would go over the day starting from the beginning, and wonder if I did anything wrong that I might get in trouble for.

Now, I have to explain what I mean by that when I say trouble, because it always seem I did something wrong even if I didn’t do anything at all. That was my mind-set growing up in that home for eight years. It all started one summer day when I was playing with my new friend Scott, that  lived across the street whose dad was a Police Officer for the City of  New York  and his  mom was what we call to today a stay at home mom.

They always seemed to have all kinds of  animals in their yard from rabbits, ducks, two big dogs that looked like miniature pony’s, a few chickens and a rooster. It was like a little petting  zoo over there and I looked forward playing in his yard as we agitate the chickens so they can chase us. One day while playing inside his house, we were going through the toy chest like all little boys do.

We were pulling out everything inside to play with, when I noticed a silver little wrist watch. I picked it up looked at it and put it on my wrist and continued playing with my  friend. I actually didn’t put much thought doing that and continued to play with the toys we scattered about the playroom. When it was time to leave, I said my good byes and went back home with the watch still on my wrist.

Now, before I continue, let me be clear here. I took the watch to play with never thinking for one moment that I did anything wrong. But that wasn’t the case.

That very night as while sleeping, I was woken up by my foster – father asking me about something that was in his hands. I was half asleep, and had no idea what he was even talking about. He showed me a silver little wrist watch that he was holding in his hand and asked me where I got it from? My mother was standing next to him, while Linda, my oldest foster-sister, was standing outside my bedroom in the hallway.

I remember rubbing my eye’s and trying to think fast what to say. I don’t know why, but I told him that I found it in the milk box outside near the front gate. Back in the day, we had a silver metal box like a cooler, next to the front gate for the milk man to take the empty bottles of and replaced with fresh cold bottles of milk. I don’t know why I said I found it there, but that was the first thing I thought of.  

Not satisfied with the answer I gave him, he asked again where the watch came from, but this time his voice seemed like he was getting aggravated as his eye’s open wider standing over me as he was looking down at me.  I remember him telling me I wasn’t going to be in trouble if I told the truth so I can go back to sleep.

Again, I made up another story that a friend gave it to me at school, but  for some reason, my foster – father  wasn’t buying that one either and started to raise his voice just when my mother interrupted him in mid sentence and asked me in her soft voice where I got the watch from. Nervous and scared I told her that Scott across the street gave it to me.

With that she told me to go to sleep and the next day, all three of us will go to his house to return the watch back.  They turned off the light to my room and I fell back to sleep. The next morning after I made my bed, I went down stairs to have breakfast when  I saw my foster-father sitting there in his seat at the kitchen table reading his newspaper, smoking his Pall Malls as my mother was cooking bacon and eggs for all of us.

I remember my younger brother eating his alphabet cereal watching cartoons on the little TV set while the rest of the family was scattered about the house. My foster-father then asked if I was ready to go across the street to return the watch. For that moment I forgot about the interrogation I received from him the night before over that watch.

I had to think  a second before I answer, but before I did, he just came out and said that I better hope that my friend Scott had given me the watch and not have stolen it from him. That very moment, I felt my head getting warm and my heart vibrating inside my head like a drum. My legs felt weak , and I started feeling nauseous.

When my mother put the plate of bacon and eggs in front of me, I didn’t feel like eating anymore. I was feeling scared now because I didn’t know what was going to happen when we go to return the watch. Immediately after eating breakfast, the last thing I remember was my foster father again repeated that I better hope I didn’t steal that watch as  we walked out the door.

The only thought on my mind as we crossed the street, was hoping that Scott and his parents weren’t home….but it was Saturday afternoon and of course they were all home. We walked up their driveway, stepped on to their back porch and my  foster – father rang the door bell. I had no idea what was going to happen next, but rest assure, I was going to learn my first lesson by days end, and it was going to hurt.

 

Hot Wheels and Stockings

The year was 1971 and I’m just 9 years old living the life as a foster child. Rod Stewart came out with Maggie May and Three Dog Night with Joy to the World which seemed to be always playing when you turned on the radio. We had All in the Family, The Sonny and Cher show and let’s not forget Soooooooul Traaaaaaaaain on Saturday mornings.

Believe it or not, some very cool actors we enjoy today were born that year also, like Mark Wahlberg, Johnny Knoxville, Christina Applegate and  I have to add one of the coolest rappers we have today… Snoop Dogg! Now, I don’t remember much of that year, other than I was still visiting my real mother once a month at St. Michael’s Home and I had made some new friends in the neighborhood where I was living.

One of those friends not to long ago had committed suicide for reasons I will never understand. The last time I talked with him was about two months before he took his life. It was through Facebook we started catching up on old times and sharing whats been happening in our lives. Then one night my brother called me to tell me the sad news that our friend was gone.

Thanksgiving is over and now we’re waiting for the biggest Holiday of them all. Christmas Tradition in this foster home was pretty strange but I never looked that much into it. First of all, the house lights and tree were not put up until Christmas eve. Since we didn’t have a real fireplace in our living room, we had the traditional Yule Log playing on the TV with Christmas music in the background  as we decorated the tree.

By 10 pm we had to be in bed, but I remember going to bed earlier than that because of the excitement knowing that Santa Clause will be at our house soon, I figure the sooner I fell asleep, the sooner morning would come. Sure enough, as fast as I fell asleep it was Christmas Morning!  I remember my younger brother, who was about 6 years old, tugging my shoulder to wake me up.

I opened my eyes to find his face so close to mine,  I could smell his morning breath as he kept saying that Santa was here. I rubbed my eyes and looked over to my foster-brother Benny’s side of the room to see that he was still sleeping. I could hear my foster sisters Linda and  Sandy talking. I looked over at the clock on the night stand between Benny and Timmy’s bed and it was 6:30 am.

I could hear my foster parents down stairs moving about the hallway and living room getting ready for us. We all had to stand on the top of the steps in size order when my foster-father started filming us, he would turn on the lights that was attached above the camera. Let me tell you, those lights were so bright it was as if the sun came blasting through the front door.

My foster sisters and brother started complaining as we all walked down the stairs covering our eyes from that blinding light. Then they wanted us to smile and wave. ….are you kidding me? How in the hell can we smile when we couldn’t even see in front of us because of those lights that looked like they belonged in Shea Stadium? As we marched into the living room with the camera still on us, my foster-mother would show us where our piles of gifts were so we would be sitting in the right spot to open them.

Finally the lights were turned off and it took us about twenty minutes to gain our eye sight back….Ok, maybe it was a minute or two. After recovering from temporary blindness, we started opening up our gifts. I don’t remember what I got, but I am sure it was mostly what I asked for when we all sat down at the kitchen table weeks ago, and wrote letters to Santa telling him what we wanted for Christmas.

But now, it was time to walk over to the fake  fireplace and see what was in our stockings. Every took turns opening their stockings.When it came for me to open mine, I reached in and pulled out tissue paper. A little confused, I reached in again and pulled out a Match Box car. Something wasn’t right, my head started to feel hot and my heart was beating fast. Everybody else had small toys and candy in theirs, but me, I’m pulling out tissues.

I put my hand back inside and pulled out more tissue…nothing but tissues…one actually had my name written on it. I looked over to my younger brother and he had few Hot Wheels cars, small toys and candy. I looked at my foster-brother and sisters and they had all kinds of stuff in theirs. I looked back inside mine and it was just empty. I didn’t understand what was happening, but I felt like crying, but I held it in.

What did I do wrong for me not to get anything  but a lousy stupid  Hot Wheels car in my stocking? I looked over to my foster parents and they weren’t there with us in the living room. I looked over to my foster-sister Linda and she was saying something to me. But, I was in such a daze all  I saw was her mouth moving but I didn’t hear words coming out.

Then it was like someone turned up the volume and I heard the last few words that came out of her mouth….YOU WERE BAD!  Now I am going to end this story with this and my thoughts of what happened to me that Christmas day. How sadistic can 0ne family be to do something like this to a nine-year old child? I know some of the things I did were bad that year, but to traumatized me on Christmas Day was plain sick.

There’s  only three words I will describe what they did to me…HEARTLESS, SADISTIC and FUCKED UP…make that four words…Sorry for the profanity.  Because of what they did to me that Christmas, my children’s stockings have always been filled and over flowing with goodies even to this day, and now my grandchildren’s will be also. No child should ever wake up to an empty stocking on Christmas day……NO CHILD!

 

Where do they go?

I was a about eight years old when this story took place, so I hope it puts a smile on your faces as you read it. My mother was standing by the sink washing the dishes and my foster-father was sitting at the kitchen table smoking his Pall Malls reading his New York Daily Newspaper that he always brought home after work, when I walked in and stood between him and the small black and white TV sitting on a stand behind me and blurted out a question that caught them both by surprised.

My mother turned off the faucet, looked over her shoulder and asked me to repeat the question again..So I did. I asked where did all the people go when the radio and television sets were turned off? At first she just stood with a strange look on her face as if I asked where do baby’s come from, but that look immediately turned into a warm smile a mother could give, while my foster-father took off his reading glasses and placed them on his newspaper and told me to step closer to him so he could explain to me exactly what happens when we all go to sleep.

He tells me when all the lights are out in the house and everyone is in bed, one person peeks out from the back of the TV set to make sure the close was clear and they all climb out, including the people inside the radio, and they go home. He wasn’t finished yet with his explanation. He also told me every night before going to bed, he would open up the kitchen window just a crack, place the radio there so that they to would climb out and go home and return  in the morning before we woke up. 

I remember standing there all quiet for a moment looking at both the TV set on the stand and radio sitting on top of the big cabinet against the wall, then looked at my mother and asked if that story was true. I remember her smiling back at me and responded…What do you think? Well, that was enough for me and left the room. That evening when everyone was going to bed, I ran over to the kitchen table, moved the chair close to the TV set and just sat there.

When my mother turned off the light inside the kitchen she noticed me sitting there and asked what was I doing? All excited, I told her I was waiting for the people to come out from the TV set. With that same warm smile she had given to me earlier, leaned over and kissed me on the top of my head and with a slight whisper tells me to go to bed. I remember asking her if I can stay up a few more minutes to see them come out, and she said it was fine.  

So, I sat there for what seemed like hours when in reality was just about five minutes, but no one came out to peek to see if the close was clear, so I gave up and went to bed. The next morning while having breakfast, my foster-father asked me if I saw all the little people come out of the TV and radio the night before. With disappointment in my voice I told him no. He looked at me as he lit his Pall Malls, took a puff and just said to me…..maybe next time.

This was one of many things I believed growing up in that house including that Macaroni grew on trees, Santa and the Easter Bunny had the keys to our house, If you lay down outside and put your ear to the ground, you can hear people talking Chinese, the faster the clouds were moving the faster the earth was spinning, and this classic…Jesus middle name was Howard.  🙂

 

My Severance Pay

I decided that I will be mixing my stories as I share my seven years living is this Foster Home, because it gives me the opportunity to be able to share the good ones as well. I don’t want to pressure myself constantly writing in a chronicle order. As you can see, I also like to keep my vocabulary very simple as possible.

After extensive research learning how to blog , one rule stood out from all the rest. That is to talk to my readers and not talk at them. I am trying to tell my stories in a way as if you are actually inside my kitchen hanging  with me over coffee and tea. To be honest, my vocabulary pretty much has its limitation considering that I dropped out my freshman year, so I’m not going to be using any words that doesn’t normally come out of my mouth or use in my everyday life as I continue to post new stories every couple of days.

Last night I was channel surfing when I paused on a channel for a moment to watch a  boy about thirteen years old, wearing a headset, delivering newspapers from his bicycle. As he reached inside his paper bag wrapped on the handlebars holding his papers, I watched as he tossed them clear across the lawns missing his targets, which would be the porches.

Some landed in the bushes, a few went right through the front windows while the others were just scattered about the lawn. I thought it was funny, because he was totally oblivious where the newspapers were landing. As I was watching that scene, it brought back some cool memories when I delivered newspapers called The Staten Island Advance back in 1976 to 78.

The route belong to my foster-brother Benny, and if I recall, had the largest route on Staten Island. This paper route was so big, he had well over 250 customers covering about 13 blocks in our neighborhood. He realized after  a few weeks  delivering that many newspapers was too much for one person , so he asked me if I would be  interested in helping him by splitting the route and that he would pay me five dollars a week.

I thought about it for a few seconds as I was doing the math in my head that was going to be twenty dollars a month. Hell, what did I know, I thought that was a lot of money just to deliver newspapers, so I agreed to help him. I was only about thirteen then, so he gave me the closet streets to our home and he took the streets that were a lot further. 

Immediately after school, we had to rush home and wait for the delivery truck to drop off the bundles in front of out house every single day. There was no time to do your homework, because people wanted their newspaper by 5 pm and they had no trouble calling our house asking my foster-mother if we are out delivering them…can you believe that?

They had no patience when it came to  their newspapers. Now, for a short time, I was guilty tossing my papers like that kid did on TV, but my customers were the laziest people I ever met. Some complained that they had to get out of the house to retrieve them  from their mail boxes out by the sidewalk.

Some had the audacity to complain I didn’t close the lid to the top of their mail boxes attached to their homes. They wanted me to either open the storm doors if they had one, drop the paper inside, ring the doorbell and wait for someone to open the door so I can hand it to them personally or placed them at the foot of the door if it was locked…..year right! 

Why  didn’t they just give me the keys to their homes so I could make a fresh pot of coffee waiting for them and just placed the newspaper on their kitchen table ready for them to read when they got home from work too?  I had over 150 customers, and I wasn’t about to cater to each one of them except for the ones who tipped me well.

But, as the complaints piled up, the tips were dwindling and my brother noticed that. Now, the average tip I would receive from my customers was about 50 cents. Some gave me 15 cents, while so few actually gave me one dollar. I had this little collection book that I had to carry with me every Friday which was collection day. I had to mark off who paid, who didn’t.

Some customers would owe me for three weeks at times. My foster-brother didn’t  go for that, so a few times, we both would do the route together on Fridays just so he can collect from the ones who owed more than two weeks…and they paid. My foster-brother was slim and stood over six feet  with a hair style he borrowed from country singer Glenn Campbell.  

If you are under 30,  just Google that name and check out the hair Du. I on the other hand stood just 5-4  and about 115 soak and wet and my hair style was  like……sad to say, like Glen Campbell’s also. Now, the point I am getting to is this. I was getting paid five dollars a week and NO TIPS! You read that right.

All my tips for the week, every week, went straight to my foster-brother and I didn’t see one extra dime……talk about Extortion! I remember one Christmas, as he was rolling in the dough with his Christmas tips, I could hear my  mother asking him in the hallway if  he had giving me anything extra for Christmas.

I guess he said no, because the next thing I heard her say was ” Give the poor kid something.” Guess he felt guilty and walked over to where I was sitting and hands me….$10.00 as a Christmas bonus. Can you believe that? He must have made over $400.00 from 250 customers maybe more, and all I got was a Merry Christmas and wrinkled $10.00 bill.

But, that was fine with me. I saw where he hid his tip money as well as the extra money he made working part-time in an auto wrecking yard on Saturdays. So, when he would go out with his friends, I go straight to our bedroom where we both shared including with my little brother Timmy, open up the top draw of his dresser, lifted up a couple of  shirts folded oh so neatly and would helped myself to extra $20 bill.

I did that every week for about a year and he didn’t notice a dollar missing. To tell you the truth, I might have been doing that longer than I  think…But I never gave a shit. When I needed cash to hang out with, I used his dresser as my own ATM and  I always did it with a BIG GRIN on my face…….I just pretended it was My Severance Pay!  🙂

 

 

Metal Chairs and Soda Cans

When I was living at St.Michael’s , we were taught how to make our own beds, fold our clothes and clean up after ourselves immediately after breakfast, lunch and dinner. So it was safe to say living in this foster home, I just continued to do what I knew best, and that was cleaning!  My Foster Mother witnessed first hand how independent I truly was for a boy my age to be making his own bed before breakfast was definitely a shock to her to say the least.

She never once had to tell me to do anything because I either have done it, or in the middle of doing it. When it was time for dinner, I would go in the back room  known as the little room, to grab a few metal folding chairs to place at the dinner table. I saw her do it once so I decided to get them to help out.

It was enough having to watch her do just about everything in the house from cooking, ironing clothes, making breakfast to sweeping and mopping  the floors, food shopping for a family of seven every Friday afternoon was truly amazing to watch. She did it all, even when sick, this woman didn’t miss a beat.

But, she didn’t just have five kids to take care of, but if you included her husband, there were six kids living in that house. I never saw a grown man be catered like this one. It was like watching The Honeymooners and All in the Family Live in our kitchen and not on television. When he would get sick, she turned into Alice and baby him. When he come home from work, she turn into Edith Bunker. After looking back, I can only say this…This woman was a Saint!

I remember not only those metal chairs that soon became a chore of mine to do every evening, but I would soon have few more as I gotten older. By the age of  fourteen I felt like the male version of Cinderella. I was not only doing those damn folding chairs every night, but I had to  feed the dogs and  go outside everyday with a brown shopping bag in one hand and a spaded shovel with the handle broken off in the other and pick up their poop in the back yard.

I would also have to keep up with the soda count in the refrigerator downstairs in the basement. This family was one happy soda drinking guzzlers at dinner time. My Foster Father would always bring home a few cases of that liquid sugar after work every couple of weeks, and appointed yours truly not only get them every night so this family can get their sugar intake at dinner, but when stock was low, I had to keep count so he would know when to bring more home.

Yep, now I was a store clerk. There was a price to pay if I  forgot to tell him that we were running low and their wasn’t enough cans for everyone at the table, specially if we had to go a whole weekend with no soda with dinner. That’s  a story by itself that I will share in time. But for now, let me continue with this one. My foster brother’s chore was to cut the grass but I did have to rake the yard after he finished.

If his allergies kicked in, guess who was his back up? Now, don’t get me wrong, I am all for teaching our children responsibility and discipline, but there was one thing, I didn’t need to be taught anything, I was bred to be Responsible and Independent from the age of  five living in St. Michael’s, so maybe that lesson should have been focused more on their own children then on me.

To this day, the sound of metal chairs opening up and soda cans on anyone’s kitchen table only brings me back to that very kitchen I grew up to despise. The hatred I carried during my years living  in that house was so powerful that at the age of 14 , following one of the countless vicious beatings I’ve received from the hands of my foster-father, I almost made a choice that would  have had serious consequences. It was either run away from that home or one day……Burn it Down!

 

Mission Accomplished!

Through out this weekend, I been debating what stories should I begin with  my time living in this foster home. I shared my first day so far with my last post, and nothing really comes to mind after that, other than going back and forth on weekends for the transitional period. See, when you are placed in a foster home, they just don’t pack your bags and off you go with potential foster families…it’s nothing like that at all.

The plan is to have you to go for short stays and then return back to the orphanage.After awhile they reverse it. You go to the foster homes during the weekday then back to the orphanage on the weekends til you pretty much don’t want to leave the home that you are placed in, including those weekends….Mission Accomplished!  

Guess it worked, because not long after, I found myself being enrolled in a Catholic school called Mt. Carmel, which was only about twenty minutes from the house I would soon call my home.But, I did had to return on Sunday’s for visitation to see my real parent’s, and that’s if  they showed, and spend time with my brothers and sisters as well.

But, those visits became once a month, then every other Sunday, till one day it all stopped. No more visits unless my real  mother or father wanted us for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Even after a few years as we gotten older, that all ended too. That’s what the system does to us. They slowly strip away just about everything you were, and in time, get us to forget where we even came from and the life we once knew. 

Now, maybe that was all good for my little brother Timmy who was only three years old and totally clueless what was going on, but for me, I never forgot my young life living in the projects and time at St. Michael’s home with my brothers and sister, and because of that, as I will eventuality pay a price for not forgetting. It’s 1968 and here I am with my little brother, living in this foster home with other children that I would soon refer them as my brother and sisters, and  soon would be calling their parents….mom and dad.

 

Hot Rolls and King

I remember looking out the rear window looking back at St. Michael’s home before we made the right turn on the main road. It slowly faded away the further we drove until I could no longer see Father Kenny’s house anymore. As we continued to drive away from the orphanage home nothing seemed familiar for the rest of the trip.

The ride to this family’s home seemed long, but I think that was because I wasn’t talking much during the ride. Then I felt the car slow down to a complete stop in front of a store. Mr. G asked me if I wanted to go inside this store with him. I don’t remember saying yes, but found myself getting out of the car with Linda as we both followed him as he held the top of my shoulder.

When we walked in, the first thing I noticed was this strong scent rushing into my nose. What ever it was it smelled really good. I had no idea where I was, but there was bread every where. I had never been in a store like this ever. The only place I ever remembered being in a few times was Val’s Pizzeria down the road from St. Michael’s where our counselors would treat us to pizza once in awhile, but I had never been inside of a bakery, specially that made fresh hot rolls.

Mr.G handed me  a warm roll that just came out of the oven and told me to try it. I refused at first, but it did look good and I do remember that it was warm and the dough melted in your mouth like ice cream. After Mr. W paid, we walked out with this big brown bag filled with hot fresh-baked rolls and drove off to a house that one day will be called home.          

The ride from the bakery to their house wasn’t that far because I remember Linda telling me that we were just five minutes away from their home. Before I knew it, we pulled up in front of this wooden white house with an old green picket fence. It reminded me of the little house where this old woman lived right in front of St. Michael’s Home by the bus stop.

Mrs. G was holding my three-year old brother by the hand while Mr. G took out his keys to open the front brown wooden door. Now I could hear a dog barking from the other side of it, and he had a deep bark that was not only loud but scary. When Mr. G unlocked the front door and opened it, there was this big black and tan dog jumping around all excited as his tail was slamming into the hallway wall causing this loud banging noise.

As Mr. G told this four-legged beast to sit, he instead pounced on my chest and started licking my face, I became frightened and started crying. I was reassured by Mrs. G that he wasn’t going to bite me, and that he was just saying hello. He was what they called a Black and Tan German Sheppard with a beautiful black marking on his far-head that’s called a crown.

He was licking my hand and pushing his head under my arm as if he wanted me to pet him which I found myself doing after all. This was my first day in this house and the only thing I liked about it so far was the hot rolls and this dog named King.