My earliest recollection is living with my mother and 21 year old half-brother in the Princess Apartments on Norton Avenue in mid-town Los Angeles. I was around four years old at the time. Life was good for us in those days. My mother was a professional hairstylist and owned her own salon, so we never wanted for anything. And, the middle-class neighborhood we lived in was culturally diverse and peaceful, so life was good. I truly believed that we were living the American dream.
I didn’t know much about my dad or his family, as the only common interest he and my mother had, apart from bringing me into this world, was their involvement with the Nation of Islam, where they’d met. He came around every once in a while, and that was okay; because, although mom, Chucky and I made a relatively small family, the three of us were happy together.
Notwithstanding the fact that most people thought Chucky was more like my father than my older sibling anyway, as he picked me up every day after school to hang out with him and get something to eat before bringing me home.
Charles, or Chucky as we called him, suffered terribly from Sickle Cell Anemia and needed to visit the hospital every other month for blood transfusions. He was constantly in pain. Nevertheless, he never let it stop him from making sure that I got up each morning, ate breakfast and made it to school on time. Chucky was the glue that held our family together and my mom and I adored him greatly.
Yet within a few short years, the life that I had come to know would come undone in ways we could have never imagined.
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