Dear 7 year old Germaine,
Your mother will divorce your father.
She will take your two brothers to Texas and leave you behind.
Sometimes there are no answers for the actions of others. You will remember being in court and not knowing what is happening.
Prior to her departure all the memories you have will include her face. You will not have one memory of spending time with your father prior to her leaving.
After your mother leaves, your father Malcom will be a single father for 8 years. During those 8 years your father will give you the foundation of manhood.
This foundation will fortify inside you and become a staple in your life. You will accompany your father everywhere. You won’t know it yet but your father is sick.
Your fathers’ sickness is the addiction of drugs, alcohol, and woman.
You will accompany him to dope houses and be left alone for hours at a time.
You will spend time, befriend, and come to know more women than you could ever remember. These women will entertain your father. You will often hear your father having sex with these women since your room is next door.
During your time alone, you will learn to hear and trust the voice of your spirit. You will learn to speak to GOD as others speak to people they can see. The enemy will also come upon you and you will contemplate suicide.
The only grade on your 1st grade report card will be “U” unsatisfactory. Your second-grade report card will only display “N” needs improvement. These grades will reflect the inner turmoil inside of you.
You will walk to and from the school bus stop alone and come home to an often-empty house.
You will be molested by a girl several years older than you. This event coupled with your father’s life style will attach a sinful sexual appetite and spirit upon you for years. You will run away and turn yourself in to the police station.
All this will happen before the 3rd grade. The enemy will place hedges of destruction and demons all around you to prevent you from finding your purpose.
In the third grade your father will meet and marry a woman named Fredia. She will be your bonus Mom. Your bonus mom will create stability in your life. The result of your stability will be passing grades in school and the family moving to Atlanta, GA. The move to Atlanta will be a new beginning.
You will learn that God sends angels.
You will learn that sometimes you need to move, to move mountains.
Once settled in Georgia you will live in Stone Mountain. Stone Mountain State Park is the home of the monolith that has a Confederate Memorial Carving that depicts General Stonewall Jackson, Robert. E Lee and President Jefferson Davis etched in its center. The Klu Klux Klan will host rallies here.
Once enrolled in school in Stone Mountain you will be one of two black students in your class. Many of the students will call you Nigger as you walk the halls and walk home. You will fight them but feel overwhelmed. Though you are physically superior you will become exhausted because you can’t fight them all.
Robert Robinson, a man you will call POP, the only grandfather you will ever know; will tell you this –
“If you ever see me fighting a bear in the woods, help the MFing bear, cause I’m about to get his ASS.”
One of the students at school will spit in your face while you stand in line for class. You will fight and hurt him, and will receive days out of school and detention because of the incident. “Being in trouble” will no longer mean much to you.
Help the bear.
A boy name Johnathan (the other black child in your grade) will approach you and ask, “why do you get mad when they call you nigger? You are a nigger. Johnathan had it all wrong.
A Jewish boy named Luke will be your only friend. Luke’s presence will make it impossible for you to hate all people that do not look like you.
Your father’s sickness will reappear after two years. He will go missing again, and you will sit outside on the curb as you hear your bonus mom and father fight. TV’s will be thrown and the kids you play with will ask “Why did your mom say your dad spent all the money.”
Soon after your father will take you away. You will be abandoned on more times than you can remember.
You will be left with his girlfriends, left home alone, and left at the Boys and Girls Club. You will be taken to a Youth Facility after being left. You will lie to protect your father.
While in the 6th grade your father will drop you off for days at a time at the home of his girlfriend Rose. Rose will have a son and daughter. While the son is incarcerated you will sleep in his room. Once released you will sleep on the living room couch. You will be introduced to pornography and Ole English beer. Your most frequent meal will be microwaved bacon and cheese sandwiches.
You will experience loneliness.
During the middle of the school year, you will walk home as you normally do. Except no one will come to get you that day.
You will be home alone for 3 days with only your Golden Retriever Pete to keep you company.
You will eat a half-cooked chicken because you don’t know how to cook and the only thing to eat is a frozen chicken the in freezer. You and Pete will eat the chicken together. Both abandoned and both hungry.
Rose will come to get you on the third day. You will ask her to call your mom. When your mom receives the news, she will book you a flight and you will be in Texas that night. That day will be the last day you see Pete. You will not remember the last time you saw your father.
You will have a new start in Texas. The next 3 years will be extremely tough, but you’ve made it this far. YOU GOT THIS! Everything will be foreign to you. Billy the man that married your mom has adopted your brothers. Both your brothers are straight A students. You have never seen an A on a report card in your life.
The next three years will be spent mostly on punishment. You will hear your mom say “we need to let him go outside and play so he knows what being off punishment is like.”
You will have access to the family but you will not feel like you belong.
You will talk to your mom about this and she will tell you “Baby don’t make me choose between my son and my husband.”
At 12 you will be in middle school.
You will have to stay on point here. Gangs are everywhere and you will have to establish yourself. You will be jawed (someone will hit you in the face when you’re not looking) twice, over a girl.
You will witness gang fights where kids are stomped and put in the hospital, fights that encompass the entire school, race wars, drugs, and you will learn to shoot dice. In the eight grade you will witness a classmate attempt to shoot another classmate during finals. He will miss and shoot a little girl in the leg.
But you will also stumble upon the game of football this year.
You will find that you are good at the game and that it gives you an outlet for the pain and you remember what pop said: “Help the Bear!”
In the ninth grade you will have a new beginning. You will attend Lincoln Communities and Communications Magnet High School. Principled by Dr. Napoleon B Lewis AKA “Papa Bear”. This time the bear is here to help……
You will be surrounded by kids like you. That have experienced many of the things you have.
You will also be surrounded by strong teachers that will become mentors.
You will learn once again that God sends angels on earth.
You will find your voice.
To be continued…
(to read the rest of this letter: find it on the last page of Germaine’s book – released at The Conversation Event, Dallas, October 5. Click here to sign up.)