You Never Know the Person’s Story

Part One – Good and Happy Times

Well, I come from a family of twelve – 7 girls and 5 boys. My parents were raised in Galveston, also. My father, he was the chief cook at St. Mary’s hospital, head cook for 20 some years, almost 30 years. And my mom, having 12 kids, she was mostly at home. And, my mom was amazing. She was able to just mold that 12 kids, get dinner ready on time, have us ready for school on time.

We all went to school, none of us were dropouts or anything. We finished school on time. Some of us got scholarships. We got jobs at like age 14 or 15. I love looking back on those days because they were good and happy times. You know, it was struggles, but just having a nest together made it a whole lot easier.

Part Two – You Go On ‘Bout Your Business
At 14, I got fed up with my father and his alcoholism. At 14, I was waiting downstairs for him in the middle of the night because he hadn’t gotten home yet and I couldn’t find him that day. I just waited downstairs and I just got fed up and I said, “Mom, don’t you think it’s about time you stopped… we don’t have to be going through this. You can get on welfare. We can get food and stuff.” She said, “You right,” she said, because I say, “I’m tired. Aren’t you tired?” She said, “Yeah, I’m tired.” So she said, “Don’t let him in.” And he lost his key so when he came knocking to the door, I went to the door and raised the shade and looked at him and I said, “You got some money?” I said, “Let me see… pull out… let me see some money.” He talking about, “You better open this door girl. You better open this door.” I said, “No.” I said, “Let me see some money first.” He ain’t got no money and I could tell he had an alcohol bottle in his pocket because I knew the shape of the bottle – a half pint – he said, “Open this door!” and I wouldn’t open it. He took his fist and bust the window to try to reach in and he cut his hand. I said, “You’re not getting in. You haven’t showed me no money.” He said, “I don’t have no money.” I said, “I tell you what… “ (his hand was bleeding) I said, “That bottle you got in your pocket? Take that bottle out your pocket and pour it on that cut and you go on ’bout your business.” He did. I said, “You ain’t never gettin’ in here any more.” And that’s when my momma got on welfare and we wasn’t struggling as much no more.

Part Three – Going Home with Me… This Time

I made a vow once I was in high school (and I had got married when I was in high school), I said once I pay off all my bills, I’m goin’ out there and I’m gettin’ my dad off the streets. I did that. The day I paid my final notice on my furniture and stuff, I said it’s time. I told my husband, “It’s time for me to go out here and rescue my dad.” ’cause I couldn’t see a man havin’ twelve kids down on those streets. That day I went lookin’ for him, I looked for him and I looked for him. And, I couldn’t find him. Called the hospitals… he wasn’t there. Called the jail… he wasn’t there. And then I went to the county jail. They said he had been there and when I got there he was sittin’ on the steps, and I said, “Ah, Dad,” and I grabbed him. He grabbed me and I said, “Come on.” He said, “Where we goin’?” and I said, “You’re goin’ home with me… this time.”

Part Four – I Live by My Heart

I live by my heart. I got to stay strong, man, ‘cause I’m the one that loves everybody. Some people have never had it in they lives. Never! They’ve always wanted it, and to me… even if you don’t know desires of it, you entitled to it, bein’ a livin’ human being. But it comes hard… comes hard. That’s why I tell some people, “You never know the person’s story! Don’t judge them ‘cause you never know the person’s story! And it’s hard when you don’t have someone to talk to that’s really listening’! See, you could talk to people and they not listenin’. But it’s somethin’ to talk to people and you know they really listenin’. ‘Cause it can be a heart breaker when you start talkin’ and it make you wish you could take it all back ‘cause they weren’t really listenin’. For real. It’s a difference. It’s a big difference to me. It’d be a big difference to anyone, really.

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