It’s been a while since I have told one of my tales from the hood. I had a chat with my sister in law and she told me about the funeral of her black classmate’s father, that she recently attended. She was raised Catholic and had never been to a black baptist church. She described in detail to me her experience and she found it fascinating. My husband told me a similar story about his first experience in a black baptist church, after he accepted an invitation from a black guy he was in the army with. I was not raised in the church, so their tales reminded me of my first experience at a black baptist church.

That’s actually not what I am writing about today. The first time I went to a black Church was when I was in 8th grade and my friend’s mother was killed and I attended her funeral. This is yet another time that Allah saved my nappy headed me.

As I mentioned before, I am from the South Side of Chicago. I lived in a lakefront Condo, but I played all over the neighborhood. There was this apartment complex one block away from me with a backyard playground that I use to play in. One day my friend’s mother had company. She was a drug user and this man she had over was there, I assume doing drugs with her. My friend was very uncomfortable and begged several of us to stay with her. We all said that we would ask our parents if we could spend the night. My mother had a rule that if she did not know the family, then we could not spend the night. I’m not sure if my mother had ever met my friend’s mother, but if she did then I knew she would never let me go. I asked anyway and of course she said NO! After the street lights went off, everyone went home and my friend went in the house.

The next morning my mother walked to the store and when she came home she told me that something was going on down the street and that the SWAT team was all over the place. A few minutes later my friend Mimi called and told me that our friend and her mother were being held hostage and to turn on the news. I turned to the news and saw the SWAT team all over the background and in the toy jet, as that was the highest position in the backyard that gave a straight shot to their back door. Later the news showed my friend being released and reported that her mother had been killed. It was not on the news but her cousin told us that my friend was raped too. Praise be to Allah for saving me from such a calamity!

UPDATED A FEW MINUTES LATER TO ADD

Subhanallah, that brought back instant memories. Almost every boy from the backyard was eventually killed. This was a good community. Many two parent homes and if it was a single mother she was hardworking and trying to raise her kids right. The last time I saw my friend was around 1994 at the funeral of her next door neighbor, Jason. Jason was a very good kid (he was about 24 when killed). Nobody knows who killed him or why till this day. I remember at his funeral his mom asked all of the ‘backyard’ kids (who were now young adults) to stand up. It was a very moving moment. About a week or so later their neighbor, Carol invited us all to her house for kwanza. Shortly after that her son, Lateef was killed. Two other boy’s from the backyard, that I know of, were also killed. There’s some talk about the statement Tony Blair made concerning violence in the UK black communities and he reffered to it as ‘black culture’. Some blacks are upset about this, claiming that it is ‘gang culture’ that can be found in any race. I don’t think so. This mess is rampant in the hood.

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