We lived in a two family house in Brooklyn and it was the upstairs neighbors kids who started the fire. Thank goodness everyone got out of the house in time and no one was hurt. Mom, my sisters, brothers and I was spread out to different homes until Mom found us a place to live. All we had left was the clothes on our backs for a while. Then eventually mom was able to buy us all clothes again.
The youngest ones which was me and my two brothers stayed with my mother and my older sisters and brothers settled in with friends and neighbors in the area. Back then family lived close by so we stayed with my brother and his wife for a month or two.
It was difficult staying there because my brothers wife did not like my mother at all. I felt so sorry for my mother back then because she was always trying her best to help around the house and keep us out of the way but my sister in law always found a reason to start an argument with my mother and would talk about her behind her back.
So the day came when we moved from Brooklyn to the Queens area and when I tell you it was the happiest day in my life back then, I mean just that because I was at the Junior high level but in Brooklyn there was no junior high school where we lived. So I was lumped in there with a bunch of mean high school girls. So the day we moved to Queens was a memorable day for me.
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Even today I believe God must have heard the prayers of a little girl like me. I didn’t think I was going to make it through that High School in Brooklyn alive because of the girls that was in my circle, they were definitely a bunch of mean fighters. And it seemed there was a fight every single day after school. I hated going to that school so much it wasn’t even funny because I never felt safe. I remember one time talking to my mother about the fact that I felt I wasn’t going to make it alive in that school.
So I knew it must have been God protecting me because for some reason I was never noticed by these girls. When I say never noticed, I mean that they never wanted to fight with me. But they always fought with each other and for some reason no one ever thought to start a fight with me….. except for that time in elementary school when Beverly Jenkins used to pick on me all the time and my mother and sisters made me fight her back as they stood there making sure the fight was square and fair. Well that too is another story.
But anyway I felt in my heart that eventually these girls were going to get around to noticing me and wonder why no one ever had picked a fight with me yet. I mean those was some mean girls. It was way beyond being drama queens and cat fights. Those girls used to go as far as to hide razor blades in their pockets and didn’t think twice before passing one to the fighter so as to slice the other poor girls face up for life. They didn’t care. But I had to hang around with them if I wanted protection from the other girls they were against. It was fierce. It almost felt like I was in a girls gang or something like that.
These girls fights were planned days ahead and it seemed as if they had fighting down to a science. I remember how they used to join together and form teams to braid the hair of the two fighters. Then they’d put lots of grease on their faces just before the fights (the grease was used hoping that instead of scratching your face that the nails would just glide off and save your face. And the braiding of hair was done so that no one could pull your hair out your head or use your hair as a means to grabbing onto you and whipping your butt real bad.)
Then not only that but you had the perverts sitting in cars lined up along the blocks leading to the school. The amount of times I saw men watching us walking to school was many. That’s the reason we used to go to school in pacts because if you were ever walking that route to school alone the chances of you being grabbed up or snatched up by those freaks was high. So there was safety in numbers.
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So the first morning I woke up in my new bed living in our new place in Queens, had me with a huge smile on my face. I was very relieved and happy because I knew I somehow survived and made it out of that jungle without so much of a scratch.
The first day in my new school which was a Junior High School instead of a High School, I began to meet new girls my age who were much nicer then the girls I was around in Brooklyn and they didn’t seem to spend their lives scheming and preparing for after school fights day in and day out. It was a new beginning and so that’s when I started to feel safer in school.
My older sisters went to the high school and life changed so much for us. It was a step up for sure because although you still had a fight here and there after school, even those fights weren’t as vicious. It wasn’t so easy but I did make new friends and so we gradually made the necessary adjustments.
But it wasn’t so easy for mother because she was a single parent and times had gotten really hard for her to provide for us. (Coming up in Part Two)