Such a Failure

When you have no place to go, home should be an option.

First let me paint the picture for you of what my mom was about to sign up for again. A disappointed mother whom she could never please, 5 sisters who were “better than her”, A neighbor that loved to fondle her as a child, gang life outside the door, drugs closer than before, 3 children, roach infested house, mice infested house, church across the street and living back in her childhood trauma. 

Now I do not know personally my mothers childhood trauma however what friends, an aunt and an uncle told me is all I can go off of. Born in Shannon Mississippi to a mother with little to no education and a father who was a tradesman (aka jack of all trades master of many). She was the fourth child of the Jones-Forbes clan. They relocated to Michigan in 64’ and my mother was born in 62’, Grandpa Bill brought land with a shack and built a house and Grandma tilled the land and grew the food to eat. It was perfect until one night Gramps went crazy and had to go to the hospital. This was in the early 80’s and he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and high blood pressure. He stayed around for another 7 years before his heart gave out and this 6 foot plus frail man ended up withering away until he was too frail to walk. He was put to rest that year a few months after I was born. But the damage had been done to his kids. The shotgun holes in the house from his breaks, the budweiser cans in the basement and the stench of old spice in the air. Bye Gramps. 

Now my mom having to humble herself to live with a woman whom she knew disliked her had to be a gut check. I remember the day the cab dropped us at 1221 Ionia. My mom looked at the house and I held her hand tight. She walked out the cab and knocked on the door, no answer so she walked around to the garden. There she was as loving to the food as she should have been to her child. My mom said, “Hey Mama. Is it okay if me and the kids stay a spell?” My grandma responded, “Kids girl I done had your kids since the Fall, with no help from you.” There was a little rocker with my brother in it and I tickled him. My mom looked defeated, “She said mama I just came from the hospital I need a place to lay my head please.” My grandma’s face looked concerned, “ What happened Gene?” I never saw my mother cry, not even after beatings. “Red(my nickname) found me half dead in a closet” she said. The tears my mom had falling I stopped with the lil man and went to her. My Grandma walked over to her and wiped the tears and said, “Dem tears of pain, I hope you are done with that life.” My mama nodded, grabbed lil man rocker and my hand and went into the house. My mother cooked, cleaned and took care of her kids. Well sorta my sister hated my mother and loved my Grandma, she barely looked at my mom or said thanks. My mom’s new home had an attic, it had a window and crawly things at first but my mom made it into a home. She was an amazing cleaner. She set traps for mice and roaches and me and my brother slept with her, my sister the princess had her own bed, room and dresser. She was my grandma’s favorite (She never got sold to men and sneaked out the house all the time) and even when Granny got mad she still gave her stuff. My mom tried to chime in but to no avail that girl hated her. 

On April 13, 1994 at the dinner table my mom said, “Kids I’ve been doing really well and I want to move out of here to California. We can start over.” My sister said, “Move? No, I wanna stay with Granny.” “Well you’re not Granny’s child, you’re my child and ought to go where I go” saaid my mom. It was tense, “I hate you Virginia I’m not going anywhere with you” she said. My Grandma looked concerned and said, “Do what you have to Gene.” I remember this day so well it was the dinner of the night before Virginia was murdered. 

When you want a fresh start there may be barriers in front of you…..

She had invisible shackles on her and the life she wanted to leave.

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