January 25, 2009


Years later we moved to Gates Ave, right down the block from my granny. During that time I had one brother and three sisters. We lived in the worst building on The Ave. The only good thing about it was that we lived right across the street from C Town. Our building was horrible. There were so many 40oz bottles and cigar guts all over the place. The elevator smelled like shit and it had the nerve to shake while riding in it.
I was always afraid of elevators, the only time I would take an elevator was when I saw another person get. I was happy to leave Hancock Street, the apartment was too small for us, and the friends that I once was tight with had started to act a little funny.
It took us about a week to get settled, I enjoyed our new apartment. I was in heaven. I had to share a room with my sisters, but I didn't mind because they didn't bother me. My brother had his own room of course, he would get anything he wanted and I always had to wait for things. My mom and I barely talked to each other, it seems as of she didn't care about me anymore.
As time passed, the only thing I was allowed to do was go to school and do my chores; there was no more hanging out with my friends. I had to stay in the house all the time.
Her phobia was getting the best of her. The phobia she had was me becoming like her and going through the shit she went through as a teenager. She told me many times that she would die and go to hell with gasoline panties .. she let me end up like her! She was passionate about me becoming a young lady, getting an education, and a high paying job, so I can take care of myself. I understood why she felt that way so I respected that, but she would go overboard with the things she did. Mommy dearest had me doing some things that a normal teenager would fight with their parents about. This really took away from my teenage life.
I was doing the grocery shopping, laundry, cooking meals for the family, taking my siblings to school, make sure she took her medication, house work and so on. I felt like a slave. It got so bad, I couldn't have friends, I also had to get off the cheerleading team and go straight home.
She started treating me bad. If things didn't go her way or a male friend got on her bad side, she'd take it out on me. The beatings she gave me were so bad, I had marks on my face and arms; and I was called all kinds of bitches and whores! It got to the point where she would do and say things to hurt me. Living like that was very disturbing and I couldn't wait to get out of her house.
I made a promise to myself that when I grew up and start having children, I would never treat them the way I was treated! Whatever problems I had they would not become my children problems.
Years passed and I'm now in the 10th grade. I had run away from home several times and lived with a family member that was off the hook, so I came back home and faced more of the storm. I discovered that she was dating this young guy who lived across the hall who use to be a crack head; I never understood her choice of men. None of our fathers were worth anything anyway. They would stay around until she got pregnant and before you know it they're gone with the wind. What type of shit is that? That's not being a man! I would call that Bitchassness!
I couldn't stand her young fool! He was always being nosey! I ignored him most of the time. I notice things had changed around the house. My siblings were starting to act out and the house was always dirty. I knew I wasn't going crazy, because my mom and I kept this house clean from top to bottom. She always kept the freezer and cabinets packed! This mother fucker came along and she went down hill! I didn't know why she would get involved with a man like that; she could've done so much better!
My mom always felt she needed a man to love her; the love from her kids wasn't enough. The things she use to do and say were unbelievable at times. I truly believe she was a woman suffering from bipolar.
Since I've been home all I heard was my mother and her boyfriend fighting like cats and dogs. I asked my brother if this went on all the time and he told me yes. I knew I had to do something, so I called my mothers old boyfriend (Panama) and told him the situation. (He was always in love with her and he treated me like his daughter. He wanted to adopt me as his daughter but my mama said no!)
He told me not to worry and that he would come soon. I didn't tell my mother anything; I wanted to surprise that young fucker! Twenty minutes later Panama was on the bell. I immediately buzzed him in. I propped the door open so he would have easy access to get in. I ran in my brother room and told him to go in my room with his sisters and he did what I ask him to do. I sat down in the living room and waited for him to come in. It took him no time to get upstairs. He came through the door very quietly and I pointed to her room. He had his brother with him.
He came and sat next to me and said "Que pasa sobrina?" I replied "Mi Madre is loco! (My Spanish wasn't all that great.) She keep getting hooked up with these no good men. I wish she was still with Panama. I miss him so much Tio!" "I know you do, maybe it wasn't meant for them to last. You also have to understand that you're mother is a hard lady to get along with, don't get me wrong I love her like a hermana, she just have too many issues. After we handle this situation and you still have problems with this bastard, call me anytime! I don't care how early or late it is, you better pick up the phone and call me! Comprende sobrina?" "Si tio." I replied. (My uncle had a cute little Spanglish accent.)
As we're sitting there talking and catching up on old times, I hear my mom screaming at the top of her lungs. "What are you doing here Panama?" "I'm here because Sukanya called me crying about this bitch ass hitting on you! Rosey what the fuck is your problem!" "I don't have a problem! You're the one with the problem!" "I tell you this Rosey, this bastard is leaving and he better not come back in this house; because if he does he will be in somebody's fucking garbage in a body bag! Am I making myself fucking clear?' Of course the fucker had to play hard and say. "Yo who da fuck you think you is coming up in here man! You don't fucking know me! I'll beat your ass right now mother fucker!" The stupid ass fucker swung at Panama and missed. Panama swung and hit him right in the face. He gave him a Brooklyn beat down! I was so fucking happy he got fucked up! Ramón (Tio) came down the hall and grabbed Panama and said "Stop it! You made your point!" Ole boy got up from the floor and looked at my mom and said "It's over, fuck you!" My mom replied "Fuck you too bitch, that's why you got your ass beat mother fucker!" He left the house with a fucked up face and a sore body. I was so glad that he got his ass beat.
I went in the room to tell my siblings that the madness is over, but they were sleep so I just left them alone. My mom and Panama were talking in the kitchen and mi tio was on the couch sleep. I guess after all the confusion he was tired as hell. I asked Panama and my mom were they getting back together and in harmony they said "No." and laughed at the same time. My mom always seems to be happy when he was around, but I guess her issues will always be in the way of them being together. They both went in the room and the music came on. (I knew what was about to happen.)
I woke up my uncle and asked him to tell me the story about my mom and Panama. He looked at me in confusion and said "You really don't know what went on?" I answered "No I don't! That's why I want you to tell me, and I want the truth!" "Adonde tu mama? "She's in the room with Panama." "Okay here's the deal. I know who your father is, he's my brother. Your mom met him at a bar on Dekalb Avenue many years ago. Rosey was hanging out with Nilcia (their sister) at the time. Your mother had men losing their mind over her, because she was beautiful and had a bad shape! She always kept her hair nice and she dressed very well. Panama would stare at her.
One day he called Nilcia over to him and told her to introduce Rosey to him. So Nilcia did what he asked her to do. Ever since that night they were inseparable! He took care of Rosey and she made my brother happy as well, but problems started to occur when you were born. Rosey was already pregnant by your father by this time. She lied to her mother about who the father was.
When your grandma found out that he was Panamanian, she forbid him to come around, and she threaten Rosey that she would send him to jail if he didn't stay away from her. Because your mom loved him so much, she would not come over to the house as much, she had to sneak and bring you to Nilcia so she can see you.
We went through a lot of problems with your American grandma! She was a very ignorant woman!" "So what happened with my father? I don't care about the fight with the family! I just want to know about my dad and how Panama got with my mom." "Your father left to go back to Darien to visit some relatives; he decided to stay there for awhile. (Darien is in Panama)
Time goes by and we lost contact with your mother for years. All the numbers we had to contact her were all changed. So there was nothing for us to do at that point. My mother was very sad because she wanted to take you to Panama and let you meet your father and other family members.
One day I went to St. Johns hospital to get some money from Panama. I see him talking to this familiar lady and it turns to be your mom. I was happy to see her and to know she was ok. She looked at me with a surprise look and gave me a big hug. I was wondering why she was chatting with Panama, so I asked. Panama explained to me that they were dating and that he knows about your father and her. I thought it was kind of awkward, but if he didn't care why should I? My whole family was pissed with your mother and father, because they didn't fight hard enough to be together.
Anyway your dad had started another family in Darién. When he heard the news about Panama and Rosey, he hit the roof! He came up here so fast! Panama and your father had a big fight that left their brotherly relationship into pieces! Your father was hurt that your mom would do that with his brother." "Wow I didn't know that story all she told me was that my dad had left her for another woman in colon. She never told me that Panama was my dad's brother. Now I see why Panama took care of me like his daughter." "Si sobrina, he loves very much!, He would do anything for you. Let me ask you this sobrina, do you how you got your name?" "No I don't tio." "Your father named you after our father's mother, her name was Sukanya and your middle name comes from our mother Analynn. So that's why your name is Sukanya Analynn Cruz. My mother adores you and can't wait to see you again. Do you remember your abuela? "I remember her a little bit. I would love to see my family again. Maybe we can set up something for the holidays. I can come around Christmas, if it's okay with them." "Don't be silly of you can come, everyone will be happy to see you again." Just when I was about to say something else the door opens and they come out laughing and acting silly. I guess they had to let off some serious stress! I feel a lot better knowing the truth behind the madness. She could have told me the truth; she didn't have to lie to me.
Panama walked over and gave me a hug and told me to call him anytime. I didn't want him to leave, but I knew he couldn't stay. I gave Ramón a hug and he winked at me, I knew what he meant by that. I know my mother didn't want Panama to leave but she made no effort to stop him. I was mad with my mom because she could tell me the truth instead lying about it.
Six months had passed and the relationship my mom and I once had was starting to develop again. I knew she was seeing Panama off and on again and she let me contact my father's family.
Everyone was so glad to hear from me. I was glad to hear from them as well. I love talking to Ramón, because his accent makes me laugh.
I noticed my mom started to get thin and she would throw up every morning. But this particular day was different. I ran in the bathroom and she was bent over the toilet throwing up, this was going on for awhile.
Finally she stopped throwing up! I was getting scared. I took the kids to school and came back to get dressed. She was sitting on the couch drinking tea and watching television. I walked over to her and asked if she was ok. She patted the chair and said "I want to have a talk with you." I did what she asked me to do. "What's wrong mama?" I asked her. "Oh child I just want to talk to yah about some things. I just found out that I'm pregnant again and I decided not to have the baby. I'm going to the doctor to get checked out and schedule an appointment for an abortion.
If anything should happen to me make sure you look after your sisters and brother and finish school. Don't end up like me with nothing! Get all you can out of life. I know we had a rough road and I do love you very much. Nobody in my family is going to love and care for you like I do. As for your grandma, she would only be in it for the money. I don't know if I would be comfortable leaving my kids in her care. I just want you to know that I love you and always make wise choices. I never had a bond with my mother or with my grandmother. I look to men for love when I didn't get it from home. I had to learn about life on my own. I'm having this talk with you to let you know that I was hard on you to make you strong and independent; I don't want you to depend on anyone! When you start to date, always choose your men wisely, don't jump into a relationship until you know everything about the man you are dating. I hope you take in what I just said to you. Well I said all that I'm going to say, now you get ready for school and don't worry about me I'll be fine."
I felt strange listening to her talk like this, but what can I do but listen to her. I gave her a kiss and said "Aw mom you'll be fine, a strong woman like you have nothing to worry about." She replied "I'm not worried about myself; God is gonna take care me! I'm worried about you, this world is crazy and if you're not strong, you're gonna head down the wrong road and I don't want that for my kids! Always remember that a stranger will treat you better than your own damn family! Families are blood suckers; they will suck all the blood from yah and leave you to die! Family will use and abuse you. When you get to the point when you feel down and out and life have no meaning to you anymore, just talk to God and he will see you through the storm and bring you out in the sunshine."
Her words touched me dearly, because I knew she was trying to give me a hint about something. I just couldn't put my finger on what it was.
I went in my room and got myself together for school. The whole time I'm starting to feel uneasy. I tried to shake the feeling but it wouldn't go away. I walk out my room and into the living room and my grandma Bea was there. "Hey granny, how are yah?" "I'm fine Susie. Don't be late for school now." She said. "I wont I'm leaving now." I waved to my mom and headed out the door. I ran down the stairs and already niggas were in the staircase smoking weed. Damn don't they fucking go to school I thought to myself. I brushed passed them and continued down to the first floor. I saw the B52 in front of C town, I ran quickly to catch the bus. Making it to first period was out of the question, but I got there just in time for second period class.


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.