My Very First Momories...
|One of the first things I can remember as a child, is going to see my dad at his rented house by the railroad tracks that led down to the cival war tunnel in East Chattanooga Tennessee. We were all having fun and talking excitedly, and my 2 younger brothers and sister were playing. I was trying to get them to be quiet as I knew my moms fun times didn't last too long before she was throwing her fist at one of us for being to loud. Or some reason we didn't understand.
Mom was talking to daddy Dale though and I was halfway listening and not understanding a word. My brothers and sister were trying to include me in on their play so I was distracted to and couldn't concentrate on understanding the adults fully. I was five years old and my sister Linda was four, Jesse was three and baby Johnny was two. So I couldn't fully understand too much I heard. Sometimes when our mom yelled at us we couldn't understand why she was yelling or mad at us.
We were very excited about going to our dads. Mom was going to let us spend a weekend with dad. It would be a weekend of no beatings and not being scared that our mom was going to kill us. She acted so evil sometimes we couldn't be sure if she was the devil or our mother. Out step dad, Dale, was pretty nice to us kids but he beat on mom a lot. She always accused him of flirting with women and liking it when women flirted with him.
As we pulled up to our dads we excitedly jumped out of the car as soon as our mom and daddy Dale opened their doors and lifted up the front seats for us. We ran to hug dad who had come out onto his front porch. Then we ran to play and exercise our legs that were tired from being in the car from the long trip we'd just taken to get here. Mom and daddy Dale were sititng in the car as dad went over to the car and was talking to them.
"Come on and get in the car kids, we've got to go to the store to get something to eat." Dad called to us. We ran over to the car cause whenever dad went to the store he always bought us whatever we wanted. And as as we went into the market just on Glass Street he got us a bag of cookies and sodas to drink. Then we went to the grocery store and he went in and mom made us all stay.
He came back but we didn't go back to his place we went to a little house just down the street from the store. And dad and daddy Dale got out and went in. Mom stayed with us for a while till it was taking them too long and then she got out to go in.
"Keep your damned ass out here." She said to me, gritting her teethe, as I tried to go with her. Then she slapped me and told me she'd beat my brains out if I got out of the car while she was in there.
I waited a long while it seemed as my brothers and sister played oblivious to anything the adults were doing. We all was eating the cookies that were shaped like feet and drinking our sodas we had picked out. I was getting so tired and wanted to go to the door and see what was taking them so long. Mom always threatened me but sometimes she forgot about her threats and didn't do as she said. So I eased out thinking about it, then walked slowly towards the front porch.
Just then my mom came out and told me to get back in the car and she got in on the drivers side and started the car and drove away to grandmas which was just around a few corners from there. She wouldn't tell us nothing as to why we were leaving dad and daddy Dale.
Latter on that evening mom was going back to dads when we saw daddy Dale at the washatteria and he was moving fast then suddenly our front windshild glass was cracking in a million little lines and some of the glass was falling on baby Johnny, so mom called the police and we followed them to my dads. There she told us to get all of our stuff that we had left to spend the weekend. We did. Then we went back to grandmas.
Late in the night mom took us to North Chattanooga to her sister, Vickey's, where we spent the night. Then the next morning we drove back to East Chattanooga to grandmas. When mom turned the car off of Glass Street onto Daisy Street, we saw daddy Dale walking. I wanted to know where my dad was but I didn't wanna make anyone mad so I kept it to myself till I knew everyone was in a good mood.
At grandmas we played and forgot about the grown ups and their mess. I didn't even wanna be around them so I went into my grandmas room and layed on her and grandpas comfortable bed. I liked to fantasize about things and I did just that. Later there was a knok on the front door and it was the police and a childrens service worker who came to get us all and was taking us away from mom and daddy Dale.
We all went except for Jesse who hid under grandmas bed. The worker took us on and we didn't know what happened to Jesse. We were taken to a building where there was other children at and we were all taken up some stairs where the door at the bottom of the stairs closed very hard and made an echo through the hall of the stairway. even at the top of the stairs the door did the same thing. It made me feel like we were going to prison like our oldest brother James.
Me and Linda were told to go and take a shower and baby Johnny was led away by a big black lady. There were blacks everywhere. Our mom and grandma had always made us think we should be scared of blacks and we all were very nervous. My brother Johnny cried and was holding his free hand out for me and I tried to go get him but the other lady got in front of me. She told us to take off our clothes and she gave us more for when we got showered.
We hurried and were back in the front where it looked like it was a kitchen but it didn't have no stove. It had a frigidare and sinks. There were also windows to a room where tiny babies were laying in baby beds. I loved babies and was staring at them as they slept and cried and watched the lady who was in there pick them up and cuddle them or feed them bottles. I could watch them for hours.
One of the women ushered us on into the sititng room where there was a TV and chairs to sit in. In another room there was a tricycles, toys, and kids plying ball. They were all girls. And when they saw me and Linda and baby Johnny a lot of them came and crowded around us. Most of them were black and we didn't know what to do with all of them around us. I answered their questions for what seemed like forever.
"What are y'all in here for?" They wanted to know as they touched our hair and our arms. We felt like toys ourselves as they quriously checked us out. We were scared to even be touched by them. Soon though we found out that nothing bad happeded to us as we were touched by them. So we began to ease up on our shaking and shying away. My brother Johnny would push hands away from him and they soon left him alone to play with me.
They liked messing with my blond hair and my sisters brown hair. They liked touching our skin. It kinda felt good to have so much attention from them. It seemed like we were the popular ones and we enjoyed it. Having never had so much attention before we felt the beginnings of an addiction to it all. Or at least I did. My baby brother Johnny wouldn't let me out of his sight without crying and making a big fuss.
Johnny had to sleep in one of the bigger baby rooms and he didn't like it either. So when they put him down to let him go he'd hurry to me and get in my lap. There he'd stay till I made him get down. He pitched too much of a fit though whenever I tried to go and play with girls my age. And the worker would make me come back and keep him quiet. So I kinda got mad at him and fussed at him angrily as I had to watch him. Even my sister Linda would stand or sit close beside me.
I was so tired of them by the end of the week I couldn't stand it and fussed at them and even pushed them away when the workers back was turned and she wasn't paying attention. For breakfast, lunch, and supper we all went downstairs to the big dinning room where two long tables were. Boys set on the sid by the boys door to where they went and us girls sat on the side of our own door. Jesse was with the boys and he tried to come to me but was stopped and made to sit down.
Jesse was taken away when he wouldn't eat and turned the bowl over into the floor. He fought the man who took him away back inside the boys door. I was scared they were hurting him and couldn't stop thinking and worrying about him for the rest of the day as I didn't see him for luch or supper. I didn't mind staying close to Johnny or Linda after that and kept them close.
Then the worker came to see me. He told me that he had good news and my brothers and sister where being chosen by foster parents for good homes that they would soon be going to. He told me they hadn't found any place for me yet but they would so I shouldn't worry. I cried as first johnny left and then Linda. I was told later that even Jesse had gone as well. I now was free to play with the others all I wanted to. But now my heart wasn't in it.
I was chocen to go to a foster home a while later and it was a nice place. They had a girl my age who I got to play with and I liked eing able to watch the big tv in the childrens sitting room. I loved the foster moms cooking which was always some kinda good tasting casserole. She always let us drink milk. We had hardly ever gotten to drink milk at home or at grandmas house. Dad had let us drink milk though, but truthfully, we hardly ever got to go around dad much.