I know it’s been a while since you’ve heard from Author Eddie K. Wright or myself but let me assure you that he has been hard at work on his next release “Gangster Turned Guru Presents: The Evolution of A Gangster Turned Guru!” As I’m reading through his next book, I’m often amazed at the memories my ‘little’ brother sparks in my mind! Memories of a childhood where we shared every experience while at the same time experienced life so differently!
Most of the memories bring a smile to my face and an uncontrollable laugh to my belly. Some bring a tear to my eye and a lump of sadness in my throat. Others then give me a clearer understanding of why I do some of the things I do as a parent.
After reading a part of the chapter titled: “The Beginning” I was filled with a sense of peace regarding a decision I made as a new mother that I KNOW was a direct result of my mother’s belief system!
I’m not saying I had the best discipline rituals with my boys (now aged 16, 18 and 19 with no behavior problems) but… Before I gave birth to my first child I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I would NEVER ‘beat’ my children. I made it very clear to my (ex) husband that neither would he or anyone who came in contact with my children.
Now I know why…
…My childhood years were spent growing up in the suburbs of Smithtown Long Island where I realized early in life, I was on the ‘only’ list for a number of things. We lived on Twilight Lane where my sister Mimi and I were the ‘only’ kids without a father living at home. We were the ‘only’ black population in this town and probably for the next two towns over so Mimi was always over protective, being three years my senior. I was the ‘only’ one who had a sister who beat up the strongest boy on the block. We were the ‘only’ ones who’s hair little white kids were asking to touch like exotic animals that they previously read about and actually were able to pet.
When my mother would drop me off at school, I was the ‘only’ one asked by other kids if I was adopted and looked upon with such disbelief when I answered: “No, that’s my real mom.”
“But she’s white and your black” was the all too familiar response.
This was another subject added to the ‘only’ list. My sister and I were the ‘only’ mixed kids. Even the other two or three minority children at school had both parents of the same ethical background.
My mother was raised Irish Catholic in the same house we grew up in, nurtured in the hippie generation of love, peace, and happiness. She did her best to create a loving environment by herself from when my sister was three and I was just two months old. That’s when she finally had the strength to choose to change the direction of her life for the best by divorcing my father who I only saw a few weeks out of the summer. But even with such a limited time shared with him, he was still my hero. Big, strong, bald and black as the night. He always made me feel like I was the light of his world when my sister and I would visit him eight hours away in Rochester, NY.
I loved my summer vacations when spending time with my father’s side of the family and although I still felt some of those ‘only’ list effects, it was a different type of ‘only’. Now I’m the ‘only’ one with such good hair or the ‘only’ one with such a nice red bone complexion.
When living with my mother it was always a struggle for her to make ends meet and compared with everyone else in our town, we were considered pretty poor. But up in Rochester, I experienced what real poverty was like. Not so much with my father who had a good job and a decent place to live, even if it was for a period of time in a trailer on the grounds of the industry juvenile prison where he worked as a guard. It was when he took us to our grandmothers in the city or any one of my 18 aunts and uncles houses, that at a young age I realized how much my mother provided on her own.
In all our years of visiting my father, my sister and I were only allowed to stay over my favorite Aunt Linda’s house because she was married to my Uncle Eddie who together provided a beautiful home, was successful, heavy into the church and the only one who gained my mother’s trust.
My mother’s wrath concerning her kids was well known as my father once made a crucial mistake when he got an unexpected call into work when I was five years old and left me in the care of some girlfriend he had. At the end of the day, around 4:30 p.m. he pulled up to the curb and found me sitting on the front porch, bottom lip puffed out, eyebrows scrunched together and my arms wrapped around my chest. He knew something was wrong.
Normally, when he comes home from work, as soon as he steps out of his van, I’m running arms outstretched to be picked up, hugged and covered with a barrage of kisses. As I stomped towards him, chest rising from my deep pouts he asked: “Eddie what’s wrong?”
The floodgate of tears took over as I started breathing faster, trying to get the words out to express the cardinal sin that had taken place.
“Son,” he said bending and lifting me giving a reassuring hug. “It’s all right just tell me what happened.”
Placing me back down, I looked up with my light brown tear filled eyes and said “She whipped me with a switch!” pointing my accusing finger towards the house.
Whether it was panic, fear or both I don’t know. I don’t even remember what it was that I did and my father didn’t care. All I recall was that he stormed into the babysitter’s house raising all hell and no matter what justification she gave for whipping me with a switch, my father wasn’t trying to hear it. All I heard him yelling was ” When his mother finds out she’s going to kill me!!”
On my fathers side of the family, seeing my cousins get in trouble and being told to go out back and get a thin branch off a tree to make into a switch to get beat with was normal, but it was a well known fact that no matter what my sister or I did, we are not to be physically disciplined by anyone, my father included.
For my mother to hear that her five year old baby boy was beaten with a switch, would produce images in her mind of me being strapped up and whipped like the man in the beginning of the movie Roots. Mom enforced a non-violent, unconditional loving environment which she expected to be honored…
~Eddie K. Wright
I remember people throughout my young parenting years (INCLUDING MY BROTHER) telling me… “You need to spank/beat him.” Or, “One good whoopin’ will fix that little attitude.” I’m honored to say that I stood behind my mother’s style of discipline in this regard. My children have never known what it felt like to be hit with a switch, a stick, a spoon or a belt. I firmly believe NO CHILD needs that kind of discipline. My children prove that to me every day! I’m not the greatest mother and they are not the perfect children but… but we are perfect for each other and physical violence was NEVER a part of our lives! Thank you Ma! I love you! Thank you Ed… For reminding me!
Thank you for reading. You’ll be hearing more from Eddie very soon!
Big Sister Mimi