By Tyrone A. Moore
They (my brothers) really knew a lot about rope tying. Sometimes our brothers Jesus and Samuel would catch me and my sister lying on our stomach and hold us down by putting all their weight on our backs, or our shoulders. One would pin us down, while the other would smother us, by placing a pillow over our head where we couldn’t breath. I would kick and scream, terrified that I was going to die! But for my brothers, it was all fun and games. Til this day, I do not like anyone to pin me down, or to put their hands over my mouth. It makes me very claustrophobic and feel like I can not breath. That is the price my sister and I paid, for having our brothers baby-sit us! By the time I was seven years of age, my brother Jesus, was DRAFTED into the Vietnam War. When I started in the third grade, I was eight, and I had the nicest teacher, that I ever had! Her name was Mrs. Walter. She was very concerned about my reading disabilities. She was thoroughly disgusted, at how my previous teachers, and school, allowed me to advance from one grade, to the next, without me fully knowing how to read, or how to understand, English. So Mrs. Walter, took it upon herself, to spend some extra time teaching me how to read, write, and understand English, the best as she could. Because she had other students to attend to, obviously her time was limited. But she definitely went the extra mile with me, unlike any other teacher in my life! Mrs. Walter was Caucasian with brown hair, that she always wore in a pony-tail, and wore spectacles. She looked like a little girl. Mrs. Walker was not too much taller than I was. She had to be in her early twenties. And Mrs. Walter always wore dresses and skirts too. To help me out with my English, my new teacher, kept me after school for roughly, around fifteen, to thirty minutes. Everyday she taught me how to read and write, to help catch me up with my peers. My friend Cassandra, would wait for me after class. Mrs. Walter also sent me home with some flashcards to study. Yes, Mrs. Walter almost made going to school for me bearable. In the third grade during recess time, it was not recess time for me. It was a time of living hell! Three particular girls, use to corner me in the bathroom, and would take turns beating me up. This was happening frequently, but I would never tell my teachers, for fear I would get a worse beating, from the teachers! Besides, they were not going believe a Mexican girl, over a bunch of white girls! I guess the first time they beat me up, it was very easy and fun for them, because I didn’t give much of a resistance. It was like they were a pack of wild dogs devouring their helpless prey. Like a pack of wild dogs, they would wait for me, in camouflage, out on the playground watching my every move, while I was playing with other kids. I did not know it at the time, that as long as I was surrounded by other kids, I was protected. But just like a young and helpless foe, who wandered too far, from the rest of the herd, the predators awaited patiently, for their opportunity, to strike their victim. I was very easy prey, because I never learned the safety, that the herd provided, until much later, and until after many beatings in the bathroom, or on the way to, and from school! On the many occasions I went to use the restroom, I would get ambushed coming out of the restroom. The pack of wild dogs was harsh, calculated, and thirsty for warm blood. After getting pushed to the ground, one girl sat on me, and holding me down, while the other girls kicked, and spit on me, calling me spic, and nigger. Lying on my back facing up, the girl sitting on top of me, would bang my head; repeatedly, on the hard cement until I felt I was going to black out! The school’s recess bell, and someone approaching, was the only thing that stopped their fun. All the crying and pleading for them to stop hitting me never worked. Thank God for saving me by the bell (no “puns taken!”), or someone coming over to where they were attacking me, they probably wouldn’t have stopped until I was unconscious, or even dead. After the beatings, my head was ringing, and I was dizzy from the head trauma. The ordeal made me throw up! Some of the beatings stopped, because I stayed away from the restroom for a week or two. Thinking it would be safe if I waited, maybe they would forget all about me. After about two weeks I sneaked into the restroom. Perhaps they did not see me go in. I was wrong. Apparently, the pack of wild dogs, must have seen me go into the restroom. It was as if the scent of blood was too irresistible, and have followed me into the restroom. Once a wild animal, have a taste of warm blood, and feel the power of the kill, it’s a craving that cannot be satisfied by anything else. Picking up where we left off, I played my usual role as the punching bag, and they were their usual loving selves. They called it tough love! But the problem was it so good. Once again I got the generous helping of their version of TLC. I knew what was next, because the beatings now became very predictable. Pushed to the ground, held down and pinned, kicked, spit on, an called the n-word, and called spic. Worst of all the beatings, was getting my head pounded on the cement floor. It was if they were trying to see if they could crack my head wide open or something! I think I must have sustained multiple head concussions. I became very forgetful. When I was taught something, or was told to remember something, I would forget it most of the time. I have been labeled as a retard by my teachers in the past. But my new teacher Mrs. Walter believed differently. She continued to work with after school. Unbeknownst her, she could not come to terms why I could not retain what I was taught. I complained a lot about having real bad headaches all the time.Mrs. Walter had me go see the school nurse. After the nurse looked me over, she sent me home.
I told my mother eventually to what was going on at school. My mother was highly upset to hear what was happening to me. She stormed down to my school and demanded to speak to the principal. After talking to my mother, the principal of our school called the three girls in to hear their version of what happened. As crazy as it sounds, one of the girls that constantly attacked me, asked if we would not let her mother know about the incidents, because she could get in the world of trouble, if her mother found out! I just knew I was so over getting beat up at school on a daily. I told my mother that I did not want to go to school anymore no matter what. “These three girls always gang up on me and beat me up in the bathroom!” I told my mother and the school’s principal. For the one girl that asked me not to tell on her, I lied for her so that she wouldn’t get into any trouble at home. But at the same time, I didn’t want these girls to keep pounding on me either. To my amazement, they had stopped beating me up! On the way home I didn’t have anymore trouble. Having my best friend Cassandra walking with me to and from school also helped a lot too! Cassandra house was further down the street from my house. So we arrived at my house first which worked out perfectly for me, because it allowed me to get home all in one piece. Well actually, the boys in the neighborhood still taunted me saying, ” here comes that black nigger, and there she goes.” They sometimes threw rocks at me too. But they were nowhere near as worse as those mean girls at school. The name calling I could live with, but getting jumped by three girls on a daily basis I couldn’t take it any longer. It was just annoying to called names all the time. Mom on the other hand always had some chores for me and my sister to do that us busy. Mom definitely needed the help besides mom knew it kept the neighborhood kids off our backs. My duties was mostly the two bathrooms in the house. I hated it. My brothers could never hit the center of the toilet. It seems they took a leak with their eyes blindfolded! They always had the bathrooms smelling like pee. Hanging clothes on the clothes line outside in the backyard was also another chore my mom had me and my sister do. We didn’t have a dryer–we couldn’t afford one. Mom washed all the clothes by hand, and ringed through two rollers that was on the wash tub. Every Saturday mom washed clothes and we helped or did some mopping–or scrubbing the floors. Saturdays was the hardest day of the week, because we had to clean the whole house! On the more mellower days, mom taught my sister and I how to sew. That was fun. We made table clothes and quilted blankets. Dad was so cheap mom would make us dresses to wear for school.Most of the time mom could be found cooking, cleaning, or making clothes. She was a hard working non-stop woman in the home. Did my dad appreciate all the hard work my mother was doing? I don’t think so. They did appreciate an argument or two though. Mom and dad argued a lot. One minute they are arguing, and the next thing you know–he would start hitting on her, sometimes until he got tired. Even the neighbors could hear them fighting–they were so loud! Their fighting was pretty embarrassing to us kids, and besides we had to face the neighborhood kids. All the neighbors could hear our parents fighting. Just another thing the neighborhood kids would tease us and to give us a hard time about. My dad (step-dad) was a very harsh man to my mother. He was a thinly built man about five feet and ten inches tall. The first thing he did when he woke up was like a cigarette to smoke–and he smoked non-filtered cigarettes. One thing dad didn’t do and that was drink alcohol, it made him ill. I guess smoking tobacco didn’t make him ill. Mom was very pretty an she had a very beautiful body too! Most of their fights was due to his jealousy over her. If she would even look at another man or go outside the house without his permission, he would beat mom up. Dad was very intimidated and insecure about mom’s beauty. That was the main reason for their fights–but that was not the only reason for the outrage. My dad would come home home an beat my mother if she did not have dinner ready on time. He also not tolerate if the food was not cooked right, or the food was not warm enough. One evening he had beat mom so bad–because he thought that she was trying to poison him! I thought our family was cursed, because there was so many bad things happening in our house.
*End of episode #9
Please stay tuned for more on the assault on Maria’s life in the episode #10.
Thank you for following this journey with Maria. If this has been time well spent, an you like what you have enjoyed the contents of this story, PLEASE leave a reply below!
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Tyrone A. Moore
The author, and owner, of this blog.