Growing up in Brooklyn around the late 80's was a time I would never forget. I enjoyed those days; I wish I could go back. I had a good life, my mother made sure that I had the best of everything. I was the luckiest kid in the world. I remember when my mom use to take me to work with her, all I had to do was sit on the sofa and watch cartoons while she cleaned houses. (White folks houses of course) I really had it good.
I was the only child at the time and she didn't mind taking me with her all over. It was better than staying with some of my relatives, anyway. Even though my mother worked she was still getting benefits for herself (Because of her epilepsy) and welfare. The money she made on the side was just some pocket change to get her through the weeks when there was no money coming in. I didn't grow up around my father, I wasn't missing much anyway. I did get curious at times and asked my mother about him, and all she would do is cry and say, "He's long gone, thanks to your great grandmother. I hope when you become an adult you would look for him." I wasn't concerned about looking for him, if he wanted me he'd have to look for me. I hated to see her so upset and I never asked about him again.
I had a lot of fun with my mother, until she started getting involved with half ass men and having more babies. Oh why did she have to go and have more babies! The love she had for me disappeared. Because of her pregnancy she couldn't work any longer. I watched her change from sweet to bitter. I guess she was upset that her child's father had stopped coming around once he found out she was pregnant. The days of going to the park had stopped; all we did was go to granny's house on the weekends. That was something I looked forward to doing.
My granny lived on Gates Avenue. "Bed-Stuy Do or Die!" as they say. Gates Ave was the place everybody would hang out on. (Just to make things clear, Gates Ave goes a long way up and down so I have to be specific about the blocks.) Everything was poppin on the Sumner (which is now called Marcus Garvey) and Throop side of things.
So many fights and shoot outs were going on; you had family fighting with other families. There was so much exciting shit happening and everyone knew my mother Miss Rosey. When I went outside I made sure I didn't get into any mischief, because if I did, someone would tell my mom and she would beat my ass right on the spot! So to keep from being embarrassed, I just behaved while my friends acted up outside.
Getting back to The Ave; the people are so damn ghetto. They would sit in the parking lot, drink and barbeque. You'd see everyone sitting out in front of the building like they were at the beach. But the ones that really were a hot fucking mess were the ghetto fabulous bitches and the hood rich niggas; they were the spotlight of the drama.
Ghetto Fabulous Bitches: These are the chicks that collect welfare and have kids by drug dealers. They depend on welfare to support their family. Some of these chicks have Section 8, so their rent is covered. The kids walk around looking like shit while their mothers strut up and down with gold and the finest clothes. Their apartments become a place for their drug dealing men to come and set up shop. These are the chic's that would do anything for money or a bag of weed. Some would do anything for a bag of potato chips.
Hood Rich Niggas: These are the guys that sell drugs or pimp chic's to fatten their pockets. They drive expensive cars and live with their mama. They have kids all over and won't take care of them. Some of these jerks have the nerve to walk around with the most expensive shit on and a pocket full of cheddar and can't read a fucking book, but they know how to count that money.
In the summer shit got so crazy. The crack heads lurk around trying to steal stuff from stores or people's apartments. The corners are packed with drug dealers laughing and cursing while holding on to their nuts. The chics dance nasty to the music blasting from the cars. On the block the kids run around acting crazy. The teenage boys play skully and the girls are jump double dutch.
Inside the staircases were the nasty ghetto hoes in training, giving blows jobs on one floor and the crack heads were smoking crack on another floor. My mother didn't like me hanging out in the building, even though I was well known she didn't trust anybody. I've seen so much shit that I could tell camp fire stories for a life time. Most of my friends were from Gates Ave, I didn't have too many on the block where we lived on. The only real friend I had on Hancock Street (where I lived) was Davina; my mother was good friends with her mom. In fact she was my mother's hair dresser. When I wasn't with Davina I was on Gates Ave with my other friends running around or skating around the block.
Gates Ave was famous for the block parties. I couldn't wait until it was time to get it on. The main blocks always had them together. So many events would be going on but my favorites were the dance competition and the regular dances. Groups would come in their best outfits and dance. The guys always did the break dancing and flipping tricks. Everybody had their grills out cooking and having a great time. The DJ had these monster speakers playing all the slamming hits. I remember the dances we use to do, one was called the smurf, that's when roll your shoulders and step in and out and you can also put your flava in it. The other dance was the wop, Oh my God, that had everybody going crazy in the street. No matter what dance we were doing we always added a little more flava to it! There were no block parties like Gates Ave back in the day!
Damn the 80's were crazy, but I had a beautiful life as a kid and my mom was cool in her own way. Those were the good ole days.