Saturday, May 16, 2009

Homeless at 10 yrs old.

This isn't a happy story and one I've never truly shared in detail with anyone in my life. I tell the vague details in hope that someone can find the deeper pain and feel it with me. Unable to really go back to the moments and live them again. However as I have been saying, I am learning to open up and will try to share with you my reader that which has been hid in the dark for some 28 years.

I had been living with my Uncle for a couple of years while my dad was in prison for possession of marijuana. Not allowed to call my father Dad during this time, I referred to him only by his name. I learned abuse first hand. I knew fear daily and often cried for a hero.

I found a short break in the storm when my Dad made parole and came up to Seattle to visit. I greeted him at the door and although my heart leaped inside, fear made me address him again by his name. No sooner than the name escaped my tongue I could see the hurt it shot into my father. The moments in my life I did get to share with him he had always striven to be a great dad and now as the World smashed in at him I had only but added to the blows.

That's what I loved about my Dad though, no matter what life threw at him he was always quick to recover. Before long he had taken me away from the abuse he knew was in my life. We moved to California and lived along the rivers near Grass Valley selling fruit from a roadside stand. What I didn't know at the time was he had skipped parole to try to bring that joy of youth and connection with him that was so vital then, back into my life. It was the greatest thing he could have done for me but it was not to be with out it's consequences.

We were on our way to Sacramento, I trip we had often made to resupply the stand, when dad was pulled over for a routine traffic stop. New Mexico had issued a warrant for his arrest and our time together was near its end. Fearing that they would put me into the system he called a nearby friend, he hardly knew, and pleaded with him to watch me until he could get things straightened out.

The friend reluctantly went along, bringing me back to his tiny pad above a business. I was offered a small closet for a room and he tried to be accommodating although he was obviously not prepared, nor wanted to be. Food was scarce, I remember his fridge had a jar of mayonnaise and a beer in it.
I don't really remember what sparked me running away from here. I do remember feeling I had a better chance of survival on the streets.

the first few days went ok. I would go to grocery stores and tell them our family was moving and we needed boxes and as I made my way through the store with a couple of empty boxes I would grab some food and hide it in them. I remember the first day sitting beside this building near the store tearing at the bounty I had procured with such haste and jubilation. It was the best I had eaten since being separated from my father.

Inside I am not really sure what I was thinking, just that I had survived and that I could survive. I awoke each day with two thoughts in mind; finding food and where I would sleep that night.

A few days later the instinctual joy of survival would be challenged. I had took a short cut through an alley partially in the hopes of finding that nights hiding place. When two kids a little older than me popped out in front of me angrily asking me what I was doing in their alley. Before I knew it one had beat me to the ground and was on top of me smashing my head into the cement.

Like some slow motion moment in a movie as my head bounced off the solid ground with the firm grip of his hands. I had a thought, what if I died in this alley? Who would know? Who would identify me and make sure some one in the family was contacted. I was not able to come up with an answer and the fear of that suddenly swelled inside me. I can't die here. I couldn't let that happen.

Adrenaline pushed by that fear filled my body and I stood up with the kids still on me and slammed him to the ground. Grabbing his head I started smashing his head against the pavement just as he had done me but with a rage they both must have felt. And as I screamed how do you like it, how do you like it, his buddy took flight. I could see the fear in this kids face and tried to pull myself together. I faced a few fights after that but fear always pulled me threw. Giving me the strength I needed to overcome.

I met nice people, too, but I never let on that I was a homeless child as I didn't know what the consequences might end up being. I could end up in juvenile or worse they could send me back to the family dad had only just rescued me from. Either way I felt safer for the moment just leaving things as they were.

Within the first week or so a Truant officer caught me as I was walking down a back alley. By the grace of God I managed to get her to take me to one of the new friends houses where the friends mother, luckily, covered for me and helped me to enroll into a nearby school. To this day I do not know how that worked out. I attended for awhile but had a hard time as it was not near the resources I had been surviving on and so somehow managed to get transferred to another school closer to the railroad tracks I often slept by.

With each passing day troubles only seemed to grow and danger seemed to be lurking in wait for its chance. One night while hanging out in a park passing time before I slept I would meet another homeless kid only a couple years older than me. We hit it off right away and within hours had become good friends. He invited me to stay at the same abandoned church him and a few other kids slept at.

It was nice to have someone who truly knew what I was going through and each day of school was spent in anticipation of escaping this bizarre attempt at normalcy and returning to the fold of lost souls that had become my shelter.

Although he tried to hide it at first, within days I learned that when he was ten and ran away from a very physically abusive home that he was not wanted at, a gentleman had started feeding him drugs and after getting him addicted started him into prostitution. As he would work the street making enough money for his fix and our dinner, I would watch from a distance as men both young and old, professional, and troubled alike would take him away for the fulfillment of their own perversions.

Over the next months I would learn a lot about the forgotten children of the night and watch in fear and curiosity as each child working the streets went about their business. One of those dreary nights a gentleman had approached me asking for my services just as I was beginning to give in and go with him my friend caught me and got me away from there.

Two weeks later he would ride off with a man and not show back up until early that morning. When he came into the abandoned church we were staying at I knew immediately something was very wrong. He was sweating and pale, stumbling as if about to throw up, I had no clue what an overdose was and as he convulsed vomiting up and twisting in pain, I felt more helpless than I had ever felt in my life. I tried to hold him hoping it would pass, but it only got worse. The life went out of his body as I held him tight. Before the sun reached the horizon he was dead and me and the one other kid staying in there, filled with panic and disbelief, ran from the building. We had another person call it in to the police. I watched from the roof of a nearby laundromat as emergency units carried him out of the church.

my chest and heart burned with emotions I had never felt before. I couldn't go back to school. I couldn't do anything but wander lost among the everyday hustle of the city. I sat for two days in the park I first met my friend, watching trains go by and sinking ever deeper into an abyss of dark thoughts. I didn't know what to do or where to turn.

Depression mixed with guilt won out and by the second night I believed I couldn't live another moment in a World as sinister as this that had let us all down. I knew I could not go another day here on the streets and I knew I did not want to go back to the hell dad had saved me from. I could only see one way out of it all and that night without a sliver of doubt in my mind, I made my way on to the railroad tracks. As I watched the singular light from the oncoming train approach and choked with tears I grabbed the tracks with all the strength my hands had and waited for the sweet arms of death to take me away.

I had chose a dark, distant and quiet part of the tracks to carry out my plan but God was not willing to let me give up so easy. A young girl who had mysteriously found her way to where I was at came running out of nowhere to plead with me to get off the tracks. I was determined though and would not be persuaded. So she resorted to physical force and although I had fought off many people stronger than her, she was empowered and forced me from the tracks missing the train by a mere fraction of a second.

A part of me felt, even then, That this had to be divine intervention. The next day with some help, I hunted down my grandmother in Texas and begged her to help me. I don't remember how I got to Texas even now as I write this. I only remember the horror I felt when I got there and the Uncle, who was once living in Seattle, had moved to Texas and of course was all to happy to take me back in.

I would never recover from that year and found it impossible to pretend to be normal again, in school or with my family. This marked a downhill spiral that would carry me well into my twenties. With no one to relate to and every one more burdened by the problems of their lives to see my pain, I took to the notion that I was the only one that would be there for me. Me and the mysterious force that had intervened that suicidal night.

At the age of twelve I ran away again and in the summer of my fourteenth year I left home not speaking to my family again until I was in my twenties. Even then I feared letting people in and had sunk to a fifth of Jack Daniels every night doing what ever I could to stay drunk and disconnected from my own emotions and those who would try to get in.

It was not until I held my first daughter that I realized why God had saved me. And as I held my daughter back up towards the heavens and asked that same unseen force that had watched over me to be with her, I knew inside myself I could never go back and change my life or relive my childhood, but I could do everything in my power to make sure my children never came near a life like I had lived.

Many people have tried to convince me to stray from the path of a caring, overprotective dad, who would rather spend his time with his children than socializing and vying for economic status. It will never happen though. I would rather be the financially poor, misunderstood parent than the father of another lost soul. Even in the wealthiest of companions I have shared time with I see the hurting lost eyes of their children crying out to be loved.

My children trust me, they know I will always defend them and indeed they have grown to be the greatest friends I could ever know or want to know. I could never give that up. Nothing is worth losing there love.
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Monday, May 11, 2009


I am just setting this up tonight. I wanted an environment to share Blog sized thoughts. I have a MySpace but people often shy away from there. I hope this will be an easier more welcoming place for all to read and share feedback.

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