|I feel afraid. I don't know if there's an actual reason to be afraid or not.
The cops got to my house just after 1:30 this morning. I told them what I needed to say.
My conscience for humanity in general prevented me from keeping my mouth shut. I wouldn't have been able to have restful sleep until I got it off my chest.
I fought the ringing of the telephone through the hours of Monday morning to get my nap out. If I don't get enough sleep, my body chemicals will kick me into mania for sure. Then my emotions and abilty to know the real from the unreal will be out of my control.
Maybe I am afraid. All I wanted to do was help these 17 year old boys. They've got problems getting along with their families. They stay with friends to avoid the problems under their roof.
I'm not going to turn my home into a runaway shelter. I need to be safe at my own home. My home is my castle no matter what else happens.
When "J" appeared back in my life, after an absence of two weeks, he had quite a few very interesting tales to tell.
He's having schizophrenic symptoms now. What he told may be true, or it may be a figament of his imagination. Whether or not it was true, I had to report a possible dead body in a trunk to the police.
If it was true, it should be on the 6 o'clock news tonight. In the meantime, I don't have to be scared. I'm not in danger, at least not yet.
I don't know enough to be in danger. I only know what I heard. I wasn't there. What I know is only hearsay.
This is what I heard "J" say:
"I was with my uncle (some adult). He shot me up with heroin. I usually do it myself, but he did it."
"Then I went riding in the car with him. He said he had to do something. The next thing I knew there was brains flying everywhere."
It was a drug deal gone bad. The guy didn't have the money. He was "blown away" like on all the TV shows. The whole scene appearing in my mind reminds me a lot of the movie "Pulp Fiction."
"They just dumped the body in the trunk, and left it in the vacant lot across from the supermarket."
Ghetto Gandhi heard the story for the first time on that Sunday afternoon too. "GG" is not intricately involved with "J," except for the time they hang around together, being best friends.
Later that Sunday evening, when I drove "GG" to another friend's house to spend the night, we drove across the driveway at the back of the supermarket where "J" said it happened.
Rain was finally falling on far East Dallas Sunday afternoon, as "GG" and I returned from leaving "J" at a YMCA sponsered place called Casa Shelter. It had been a long, hot, dry summer.
"GG" said, "There's where "J" said it happened."
A very large red circular area, on the concrete, next to the fence, was still visible.
"J" had found a boxcar that he said he could call home, along the railroad tracks that run through the neighborhood. "GG" and I had spent the afternoon convincing "J" that a shelter was better than a boxcar.
"J" admitted he might not be safe, because he had no gun, knife, or anything with which to protect himself. He spoke as if the reality of life on the streets was sinking in.
It took six hours of phone conversations to get "J" accepted into the shelter, but he would be off the street for at least Sunday night. "GG" and I sat by the lake with "J" and talked and smoked a cigarette before he went in.
"J" knew it would be his last cigagette for awhile. When you're not of legal age, and you go in to a shelter, the law doesn't give you permission to smoke. "J" wouldn't be 18 for another seven months.
"J" understood the rules before he went in to the place. He really didn't like not being able to smoke, but with all his other problems, he decided he could do without smokes if he had a safe place to sleep.
He was beginning to make some good decisions for himself.
There was no one to tell him "yes" or "no," or ground him if he didn't do what was right and proper. "J" had been a runaway for several months.
"GG" and I saw that he was locked in to a safe place. He qualified for this government assistance under a fine-line protocol called "safe place."
The phrase certainly applied. "J's" family members hadn't been able to supply a safe environment in which he could live.
"J" didn't want to call on Child Protective Services on his mother. He said he was in the process of being legally "emanicpated." That legal procedure would mean he was an adult, separate from his parents' "guardianship."
"GG" also had not wanted to call Child Protective Services. He had told of once recently, when his step-father had "pinned him to the ground" while administering discipline.
It just didn't seem right to me.
But we were talking about what happened when he lived at his mother's/step-father's house, just around the corner from my "castle."
What assistance could I be, if he wouldn't speak up?
I did what I could. I wrote his mother a letter, wreaking of my anger. She should have received the certified letter notifcation today. What repercusions would "GG" face from this letter going to his house?
August 18, 2003
Mrs. C. Forest
3118 Cline Road
Subject: Your son, "GG", and "J", his homeless best friend
Dear Mrs. Forest:
I have taken the boys some personal items since their admittance to Timberlawn Hospital last Thursday morning. These items are regalos.
I have not spoken to the boys since admittance, but I know they are safe. The world is a tough place when you’re 17 and ½. Suicide should never be an option. Both were very close emotionally, and physically, to ending their lives. They asked for help, and I drove them to Timberlawn, and sat with them until they were officially admitted. A program called NORTH STAR is set up to be responsible for charges incurred.
Because I am self-employed, I am hereby requesting a nominal donation for professional services rendered as follows:
1 hour professional services for MSW, LPC, in training . . . . $20.00
Coordination of available government services, transportation, personal grooming necessities. . . . $29.00
Remittance especially appreciated before Labor Day, 2004. A check of $1.00 +, postmarked by Labor Day, 2003 will be accepted as payment in full. Times are tough all over.
On this date, I will contact the Can Academy and report their present situation. As of this date, any services request by the aforementioned minors, and pursued to positive consequences will be covered by a contract for services between them and me. I will retain and offer copies to the said minors as requested by them.
My billing system works on a sliding scale, and is written as a private (not government) Texas Public School System loan.
As a teacher for 13 years in the Dallas ISD (Spence in the late 1980s), Houston ISD, Corpus Christi ISD, Aldine ISD, and the Garland ISD-- teaching English, English as a Second Language, Texas history, and social studies—I know what "GG" and "J" may have experienced by age 17 and ½.
Child Protective Services said that the boys would reach the age of adulthood before any paperwork could be processed to some official action. "GG" was very specific that he did NOT want to involve this government agency. I have followed his wishes.
There are many forms of discipline a parent can use to adjust adolescent behavior. Schools don’t give “swats” anymore. Our society frowns on physical discipline.
Beating and physical abuse is unacceptable in this state, in this fine nation. Since 1999, as "GG" has been helping me with “house chores,” I have noted bruises on his body consistent with physical abuse.
"J" had two obvious self-mutilations on his arm a full day before he asked me to take him for help. He needed physical nursing care to prevent infections. He had cut his arm a dozen or so times with a knife, and had burned the inside of his forearm with a lighter. The boys said the blister had a shadow, and laughed about it.
"J" was very close to suicide. With 13 previous hospitalizations, a plan to sleep in the train stations overnight, and two keys—to get into a house with four accessible firearms, he needed to be someplace safe for him. Timberlawn does good work.
I drove the boys to Timberlawn Hospital, helped fill out assessment papers, intake papers, and sat through several interviews over a period of many hours. I did not leave them until they were admitted, and the financial arrangements were set. I left them in a safe place. I did what I thought was best at the time.
Bipolar disorder requires intense interaction between the patient and the doctor. The boys were adult enough to know they needed help, and I’m very proud of them for taking the opportunity I offered them. Their lives will be better in the long run. They will have lives.
Is there still blood on your refrigerator? The boys told me about it.
"GG" has done a good job of helping me keep my house clean, and I am grateful that you bore him into this world.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
"It's never too late to have a happy childhood. Walk in the rain, collect rainbows, smell flowers, stop along the way, build sand castles, watch the moon and stars come out, say hello to everyone, make up new rules, go on adventures, act silly, take bubble baths, hold hands and hug and kiss, dance, laugh and cry for the health of it, feel happy, say the magic words, and trust the universe."
- Bruce Williamson -
Dallas Can Academy
State representative, Jeb Henserling
The Honorable Senator, Kay Bailey Hutchinson
Mayor Laura Miller
The Texas Education Agency
I stuck a copy of this letter in the Forest's mailbox last Friday. A week passed before I got to the post office to send a copy certified mail.
I've only talked to "GG's" mom once or twice. I just want an official signature that this mother is aware of how fragile her son's life is. It seems to me that the boy doesn't get much respect around his home. That's why he prefers to stay at a friend's house.
I just don't understand how a mother could throw her own child to the winds of the street.
The street is a dangerous place. "J" believes it now.
So, having written all this, it must be time for the news. There's always some important information on the news anyhow. I can find out where the Ten Commandments and the state of Alabama stand today.
Legal lines, within overlapping political bubbles, for icons placed on dirt owned by the state: people need to pick their own battles, I guess.