by Linda Henderson
Junior was a happy child who came from a family of five. He was the second child. He had stability and balance at an early age. He was a very curious child and loved tinkering with his tools and gadgets to take things apart and put them back together again. Laughter filled their home and lots of love.
Within a twinkling of an eye things became topsy-turvy. His father walked out of their lives to sew his wild oats leaving a safe home where balance was not the norm. His mother had to work two jobs to make ends meet so her children could receive an education but left him with the responsibility of babysitting his siblings.
By age 13, he left his home and a family who loved and cared about him. He left the only love he know to adventure out into a world filled with violence, sex, drugs and alcohol. With no father to guide and direct him, he had to rely on his wits.
Being proud, he wanted to make it on his own without any help. He slept in cardboard boxes or the cars of friends. To survive he depended on hot meal programs and shelters for food and to take a shower. For clothes he would steal from the store and change at shelters. He relied on Catholic Charities, soup kitchens and learned how to starch his clothes so he could wear them for a couple days.
Then one day he came up with a brilliant idea. He took his last change he had to buy pencils with erasers. He got paper and wrote a note, “Free Pencils for Donations”. Within a week he had $250 in his pocket. So at an early age he started hustling, living life in the fast lane of sex, drugs and alcohol. His first dollar he made doubled in a week. His first meal he bought on his own was at a restaurant, it consisted of steak and potatoes.
At age 19, he joined the Marines and was sent to Viet Nam. He became a big man and realized this wasn’t for him so he left to go back to being a pimp. His girls called him Big Daddy and learned the consequences if they betrayed him. Then one of his tricks landed in jail, he realized his life style was destroying people so he left the life of crime and violence. He was on a roller coaster filled with thrills. By the time he was 43 he worked odd jobs to survive. Now at the age of 63, he has mellowed out and has settled for peace and serenity.
Copyright Cleveland Street Chronicle April 2016 Issue 23.2 Cleveland Ohio