Hey my people! Happy New Year, and all that good stuff or whatever. Hope you and yours are all doing well.
Today I was fortunate enough to take a break from depression, exhaustion and stress to have a CRAZY memory of something that happened as a kid. It isn't really significant or anything, but because I can't get this crap out of my head, I figured the best thing to do was to type it out and take you guys on a quick journey with me back to my beloved Irvington, NJ. I believe this was 1983.
Before I go into the actual story, I have to share some pertinent details. My mother's side of the family have always been Jehovah's Witnesses, as long as I can remember. So it was normal for me to be around and abide by the customs that come with the faith. One of which is keeping fellowship with fellow "J Dubs". Thus, enter Jason, the son of one of my grandmother's closest J Dub friends. So when she came to visit, she'd bring her kids, and since Jason was the same age as me, they'd often expect us to have play dates while the adults did whatever adults would do. I wouldn't know, because the instruction was always "go outside and play", which we obediently did. Jason was a miniature kid even for his age, so because of that and his peculiar looks, was the object of much ridicule I remember, even way more than my then funny looking ass. We attended the same elementary school, and I'd find myself having to intercede on his behalf when the ridicule got too much for him, often because in defending himself, he'd write checks his lil ass couldn't cash. Plus I knew if he saw that I was present when he was in trouble and didn't help, he'd tell his mother, who'd tell my grandmother, and no telling where it'd go from there. Oh yeah, I neglected to mention that he was a HUGE snitch. HUUUUUGE. Like, he wasn't even ashamed of it. Probably why kids didn't like him.
Ok, and here is another detail that's important to the story. This ghetto ass map I just drew is horrible, but I knew I needed the visual aid to make this point. So let me break down what this is from left to right. The projects on the far left represent the project buildings I first remember living in when I started school. The next building is Berkeley Terrace Elementary school, my first school in walking distance of the projects. Further down is my home, the 3 level house my grandparents, aunts, uncles and later my mother and I lived in. And on the far right is Grove Street Elementary school, the school closest to my then home. All of these were on the main street that I was raised on, Grove Street.
Ok got it? Aiight. Story time.
So I was enrolled at Berkeley Terrace since pre-K, since it was right there. I don't remember exactly when, but sometime shortly afterwards, my mother and I moved from the projects into the house my grandparents owned, which is where I would remain until I left NJ. As you can see from my ghetto ass map, Grove Street Elementary (or Grove, as we'd call it) is closer to my grandparents house and the school I should have been zoned to. But some how I continued attending Berkeley Terrace (or Berkeley, as we'd call it) up until the end of 3rd grade (or the beginning of the 4th, I can't remember exactly). What happened, you ask? Jason's big ass mouth.
For some reason, my mother was alerted to the schools becoming a little bit stricter on the districting, so I was instructed to never give my true address. Apparently she was using someone else's address to keep me zoned to Berkeley, but never told me what it was. So I was in between a rock and a hard place, because I couldn't tell the truth OR lie if asked. But thankfully, I was able to avoid being confronted about it for 3 whole years until this one fateful day.
So my homeroom teacher was going row by row, desk by desk, asking each student what their home address was. And I was at my desk freaking out, because my mother gave strict instructions not to give my home address. But what the hell was I going to say? I couldn't give a fake address, hell, my address was the only one I knew. I don't think I've ever known my address in the projects, and even if I did, I was afraid to be caught in a lie. So what the hell do I do? She gave no contingency plan. So I did the only thing I could come up with. When she finished with Alicia, (the tall girl who sat in front of me who had a jheri curl that stunk, and was developing early so she was musty ALOT.....sorry Alicia), the teacher got to me and asked me the question she asked everyone:
Her: Marcus what's your address?
Me: yes ma'am
Her: what is your address
Her: *puzzled* what?
Me: iono (I can feel the heat from the whole class staring at me)
Her: You don't know your address?
Her: how can you not know where you live?
Her: *sigh* ok, I'll just call your mother
Now usually, the "I'll call your mother" line was a threat that struck fear in me. I'd always been threatened by my mother that if she got called to the school for anything, any punishment I was due would be served right there....in front of the class. But this time, I knew I couldn't get in trouble for following her instruction, plus she could handle this issue and take the pressure off of me. So my teacher rolled her eyes and moved on.
Jason, who sat a couple of seats away from me, whispered aggressively "You know your address! Just tell her!" I shook my head furiously, and motioned for him to STFU. He groaned and rolled his eyes, and just kept looking at me shaking his head. After the teacher finished with the last student, she went to sit at her desk in the front of the class, and I saw Jason get his lil ass up and walk to her desk. I already knew what was about to happen. I can still hear and picture it now:
Jason: Mrs. MacGeorge, Marcus knows his address and I do too.
Jason: He lied about not knowing his address. He lives at ******** Grove Street! (looking at me intensely as if to say "that's what you get for lying".
The whole class stared at me, and the teacher asks, "Marcus is this right?"
I was silent. And remained that way until school was out. Determined not to be disobedient to my mother's instructions, and seeing red for Jason blowing up my spot. Puzzled as to why he didn't mind his business, while expecting nothing less from his snitching ass. Turns out my teacher had to call my mother up to the school anyway, because after we were dismissed to go to art class, I caught up to Jason and grabbed him and tried to put his little ass through a closed locker. I was able to ram him into it once, pull back, and ram him into it a second time before someone grabbed me and whisked me into Mr. Perry's office (the principle. I still remember him, wow). His big head ass wasn't hurt or anything, but still.
I don't remember what happened after that, I don't recall getting punished by my mother, but now there was the inconvenience of transferring me to another school. And I was scared. At Berkeley, all the tough kids and bullies knew me, so they really didn't mess with me or let anyone else give me a hard time. But Grove was different. I never ventured to that end of the neighborhood, I knew none of the kids there, and I knew I would have to endure the ridicule and bullying I used to deal with all over again until I was no longer a target. I will say though, it was a low key blessing in disguise. I had a chance to revise my character, so when I got tested, I could exude fake confidence so people wouldn't think I was soft. I even got into my first fist fight with a popular bully and it was called a draw, which, for a nerd like me, was a win. Which would eventually give me real confidence. Grove was where I first let girls see my personality, and I actually developed a friendzoned relationship with Gloria, the pretty puerto rican girl who lived around the corner from me that I'd see sometimes when I'd go to the corner store. (She actually popped up in a dream a few weeks ago....anyway). And shortly afterwards, my best friend Lawrence had to transfer to Grove for the same reason I did, so 4th and 5th grade turned out to be pretty decent. Eventually I was transferred back to Berkeley for 6th grade, I don't know how. What was the best outcome overall, was that all kids from both Berkeley and Grove were zoned to attend Myrtle Ave Jr. High, so when the incoming 7th grade class pulled up, I knew EVERYBODY. And kids from both schools gave me cool points for being able to walk through the halls and getting "whassups" from everyone they didn't know.
And yes, Jason's snitching ass was there too.
Our relationship was deaded after the incident. Yes, his mother would still bring him and his siblings over, and we'd be expected to go outside and play together, but I would completely ignore him. Which he also snitched about. I even heard him run inside and tell the adults "Marcus won't play with me." And he didn't like that I had so many other friends that I spoke to at the jr high while avoiding him. He even got into a fight with one of my new friends due to the tension. I distinctly recall him swinging a hard punch and missing so bad that the momentum caused him to twirl in the air, lose his balance and fall belly up on the hallway floor. Everyone laughed and walked away.
So, there's no real point to me sharing this with you all. I know you probably are like, "look at how it turned out for the positive! You shouldn't still hold malice for Jason".....and to that I say, y'all are so sweet. LOL. Anyway, it's just a story that got stuck in my head that I needed to get out, and I did! I appreciate you listening. And speaking of listening, y'all should listen to the episode of THE REMEDY I aired a couple of days ago, I enjoyed it and think you will too.
And to Jason, wherever you are, sincerely I hope you are doing well. I mean that.
That still was some hoe ass shit you did though.
Till next time y'all. Peace & love!