George Maris author Reggie's Story, made into a play called Stages of Change.
|Excerpt from book, Reggie's Story, by George Maris being made into a play called
Stages of Change
My father left when my mother was carrying me. My mother was scrambling to survive. My father was working over at the Pentagon before he left. My mother didn’t want to lose any of us. She wanted to keep us all together. I lived on 14th Street in the city of Washington D.C. I can remember back when I was A little kid. I was like a little clown. I use to always make faces and stuff like that. I had a stepfather. He was the guy who came along after my real father left.
At that time there was a thing going on between the colors of your skin. It was even in the black community. The lighter your skin was the more respected you were. It was the lighter skinned people, (you know) to them was more respected and could be that way and stuff. By me being really dark skinned, my stepfather, he was light. So I was the black sheep compared to all the rest of my siblings. He always beat me, you know because I was like a jokester.
I always made faces acting like a clown and stuff, play at the table. So many times we didn’t have anything to eat, so I would play. I had to be sent to bed with no food, stuff like that. For many summers I was abandon to my room until school reopened.
“ Like, The Kids in the Addict the dresser knobs looked like it had faces and became my friends”.
“I can remember being a happy lil feller with Gods breath on me. I didn’t know black or white. I was just play in the mud happy”.
I can remember when Martin Luther King was having The Poor Peoples Parade on um, right in front of my house. I lived on 14th and Park rd, that’s where everybody was sitting. They were getting ready, putting on old clothes (stuff like that) to get ready. I was too young.
My older sister was getting ready. I was sitting on the steps in Washington D.C. On 14th Street between 14th and 16th is where the Caucasian white people lived. You know the middle class people, the people with money and stuff. Sometimes they would venture over my neighborhood for the prostitutes, drugs, whatever. They preyed on the community, anyway, so I was young and I wasn’t allowed to be in this parade. So I got up off my front step and walked into the crowd.
This guy grabbed me by the hand and took me across the street, on the other side. (“Like I’ll tell you about it”) I can’t remember his face but I know he was Caucasian. He took me into this place; this house and he put his penis in my mouth. I remember after that he ejaculated he gave me some soda to wash out my mouth, than took me back out to the crowd and let me go. I think he thought I was a girl; I had lots of nappy hair.
I am lucky, I am lucky, you know.
Now today I am thinking, I just learned this last week or at least a couple of weeks ago, (in group), that he didn’t kill me he didn’t kill me. All this long time (you know) almost 50 years old, just a couple of weeks ago I just thought about that. I was lucky. For a long time I suppressed that, to come back out there, to that place. It was like I didn’t know, you know, I didn’t know, something bad happened to me. I really can’t remember but I know I still got a beating, that night from something else I did.
“I got beat pretty bad. Um, I should have learned my lesson then about stealing”.
This time for me was time to go to school. I was always scared starting kindergarten. I saw the world as a war zone, Vietnam War, Civil Rights and culture classes. For some reason I got a notion, when I can see my reflection at my feet I would become paralyzed. It was like stepping into the water, you know what I mean? I think I might have heard something about; we were brought over by boats and slavery and stuff, all that mess. I wouldn’t step into the street to go to school. The school was right there across the street. There was a streetlight and the crossing guard. I would stand there and cry and cry. It so happened the first week of school it rained, the whole week. So every time I went to that corner, I would cry. My sister would try to pull me. My sisters beat me and try to drag me across the street. I always thought I would drown, if I step my foot into the street. I guess they figured out, I wasn’t gonna go to school in the morning or something.
My grandmother she was like 98 and she was blind. So they use to sit me with her. I would sit around with her till it was time for me to go to school and stuff. That’s when I first stole (some pennies). I don’t know where I got Stealing. I do know my grand-mother had some pennies in a jar. I ran down to the store, (I had some freedom). My grandmother, she’s blind, fooled me; she knew I took those pennies. I said” Oh Lord”.
My mother came to pick me up and stuff and I got beat pretty bad. Um, I should have learned my lesson then about stealing.
“I was trying to join the Boy Scouts; mom dropped me off at the Church teas house. I was five; my mother thought this was one way for her to go to work without a baby sitter. I was molested again by, the leader of the church”.
I got into my first bout with crime was when, (remember the man who molested me before), when I was living there, this was before I moved away from 14th street. We had a school next door; I stood in this chair and pulled the fire alarm. The detectives came to my house and said it was me.
I was like. Oh Lord. I said,” I didn’t do nothing”, (you know what I mean).
But they knew who did it. They had the shoe prints in the chair.
They showed my stepfather who was there at the time (the lights came on and he was there). They showed him the shoe print, it was me. I don’t know what they went through. I guess I was too young to go to jail. I got beat so bad. The kind of beating that he held me in the air. I couldn’t eat and stuff. I was naked and he beat me with a wet extension cord, then he put me in cold water. I remember running, just running trying to get away from him. Everybody else was sitting around eat-ing dinner and stuff. There were times when my back was so bloody my shirt was sticking to my back. I could have torn a flick, cause he would stand there and talk to me. I still have marks and stuff from it now, but anyway.
“I was weak and I got other buddies that were weak”.
At the time heroin was real, they used to call it smack. It was real popular with the older guys and stuff like that. I would see little things lying around and I remember when I was in school. They showed us this video of this little boy, black guy. He found some drugs and he went and used it and stuff like that. That’s when I got my first idea of using drugs. It was supposed to be a prevention measure but it was educational to me in the ghetto. You know how to do it.
I went to Junior High School, that school where my apartment was, the one on 14th street. It was called Lin-coln, but it was like gangs in the school and stuff. I was real intimidated by them, (the gangs). I couldn’t beat them so I joined them. I remember when the gang threatened me for money,” all I find I can have” they would say.
I used those same words to intimidate others to get my lunch money. I was weak and I got other buddies that were weak. We formed this gang called Jr. Executioners. Together we thought we had strength. The places we met were filled with syringes and drug para-paraphernalia and spit up that littered our clubhouse everyday so I stopped going to school and started hanging around the neighborhood. I met a friend that lived down the block. His mother was real pretty and he only had two brothers.
I never did itI thought that was, hey, they lived in this house; (he must be rich or well off). They dressed real well and stuff like that. I would always go down there to eat and play with his toys. His mother was usually working every day. She worked for the government, my mother cleaned houses, and she was just... she cleaned this house over at Georgetown. So she wouldn’t be at home during the day. She didn’t know if I went to school or not. I stopped going to school in Junior High School, my mother never knew.
I became the leader of our gang;