Posts Tagged ‘family’

Mothers in Prison and the Children Left Behind

May 10, 2009

by “Mecca Longwood”

Instructor’s note: This post was originally a presentation done by the author and his mother in class. They have chosen to publish it here under a pseduonym in order to protect the privacy of other family members mentioned. See the end of this post for an account of what happened in class after this honest and moving presentation.

One thing I learned growing up in my household is that women are more likely to be the primary provider for the child; so, when a mother goes to prison, that takes on a whole new meaning, different from fathers in prison. The visits alone could be a terrible experience. You get searched by adults you do not know inside a creepy building, and you have to talk to your mother through a glass on a phone.

I am the one to vouch that when your mom goes away it changes things that may be for the better, but at the time I didn’t see that. My brothers and I were separated in order to lighten the burden from my grandmother and my aunt, which made it harder to stay in touch with them. Things may have been different if mom was around, or maybe this is who I was destined to be from the start, but I have here the women who can give you the hands-on experience from being on the inside of the jail. My mother is here to tell how it can affect the mother as much as the child.

The day you were first arrested, did you think that would be the last time you would have with your children?
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Letter from Your Gay Granddaughter

May 10, 2009

by Chantia Holmes

Many gays and lesbians have a hard time dealing with their family when it’s time to come out. There are quite a few lucky ones who have families who are very accepting and unconditionally love them no matter what. However, that is not the case with me.

I live with my grandma, who took me in when I was 11, when my mother died. Seeing as she is my grandmother, she is old-fashioned and believes that homosexuality is in the same category with murder and rape/molestation. (She thinks it’s perverted.) Although I was not ready to, I told her (my grandmother) about my lesbian life-style when I was 13 years old. Now, five years later, she still believes that it is a phase. Deep down, there are so many things I want to tell her, and I think a letter will serve the purpose, but, I am too afraid. So, I am going to post the letter here, and maybe one day I will have the courage to actually give it to her.
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That Kind of Friend

May 10, 2009

By Anonymous

Have you ever had a situation where you thought disaster was imminent? Have you wanted a true friend that would help you through that situation but never found that person? I know a Friend who is willing to accompany anyone at any state of their lives. He has given me strength to persevere through the most dark and toughest circumstance—Jesus. (more…)

Life or the Nursing Home

May 9, 2009

by Anonymous

Instructor’s note: This student wants to share an urgent warning but has chosen to remain anonymous in order to protect her family’s privacy. Brace yourself for a heart-breaking story.

My father would have lived a lot longer had he not stayed in a nursing home. My father could walk, talk, feed himself, and put on his own clothes before he was admitted to the nursing home. Dilatin was the only medication that he was taking. Dilatin is a medicine for seizures. We took my father to the hospital because he kept falling. He was only falling because his medicine level was too high. The doctor from the hospital said that he could not stay home by himself and admitted him to the nursing home for therapy. Hoping that he would get therapy, I chose to keep my father in the nursing home for one hundred days. This would also put him at the top of the list for home health care.

My father did not want to stay in a nursing home. (more…)

Two-Toned: Grandma Joyce’s Story

December 13, 2008

By Quiana Tilghman

Instructor’s note: Quiana is a local high school student getting a jump on college by taking Introductory Composition early. She researched this true tale of a family torn apart by race in the era of segregation by reading obituaries and interviewing family members. Her family has kindly consented for this important piece of local history to be shared with the world.

Have you ever seen two children who are brothers and sisters, but they are two totally different skin tones? Let’s say one of the children is caramel skin tone and the other is chocolate skin tones, but the only reason you know they are brothers and sisters is because of the resemblance. What would you do if this happened to you? How would you deal with this situation if it happened during segregation? Would you keep your family together and endure the hell or split your family apart for an easier life? To you this may be a psychological question but for my great-grandmother this was an ultimate decision. Though she may not have known it then, the effects of her decision are still evident today. (more…)

A Moment of Clarity

December 12, 2008

By Salim Williams

Growing up I always admired older my brother and took after everything he did. When he was in High School I was in Grammar school and yet he allowed me to hang with him and his friends. They showed me the ropes; taking me around the neighborhood and introducing me to people. Some of the people I met were known troublemakers who our parents usually told us to avoid; but parents are parents and ours always seemed to worry about everything. I later found out my brother and his friends were a part of a well known street gang.

I was the only one in my house who seemed to notice a change in my brother’s behavior. (more…)

A Father’s Press

December 6, 2008

By Anonymous

Instructor’s Note: This student wrote this very moving essay in response to an assignment earlier in the term but wanted to share it with the world here.

A particular man in my life was an alcoholic. His name is [name omitted] and he is my dad. He would leave for days, to go out in the street to drink and do drugs. I would watch him in the hallway just as he would get dressed. He would go into the closet to get a plain shirt and grab these light denim blue jeans, with a crease going down the middle with the little rip on the back pocket. He would spray this Burberry cologne so much that every time, I was left in the house coughing for about an extra five minutes. My dad had these boots that I hated so much. They were black Timberlands so when they looked a little dull he would use some Vaseline to shine them up. They leaned to the side so badly that you thought he was walking on the side of his feet. He would grab his keys and out the door he went. And every time I would say, “Hey dad where you going?” He’d say, “Granny I’ll be right back.”

One hot, Sunday in June — I can recall the degrees being in the upper 90’s — I got a phone call saying that my dad was being rushed to the hospital. (more…)

How a Child Spells Love

December 6, 2008

By “Mac-N-Cheese”

Instructors Note: Don’t skip this very powerful piece by the “Mac-N-Cheese” writing group, who elected to structure this meditation on family as a dialogue, with each team member sharing his or her story and the whole group summing up with an important lesson rooted in real-life experiences.

“If I had my child to raise over again, I’d build self-esteem first and the house later. I’d finger paint more, and point the finger less. I would do less correcting and more connecting. I’d take my eyes off my watch and watch with my eyes. I would care to know less and know to care more. I’d take more hikes and fly more kites. I’d stop playing serious and seriously play. I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars. I’d do more hugging and less tugging. I’d see the oak tree in the acorn more often. I would be firm less often and affirm much more. I’d model less about the love of power and more about the power of love.”
Diane Loomans
How a Child Spells Love

LW: As a young black male, I found that having your parents around as you grow up is a big part of how you will become when you get older. I grew up with both of my parents around me, but my dad was always working. As I got older my dad started to talk with me and my brother more, to whereas now we have a better relationship. Most kids nowadays don’t ever get to obtain what I have. Their mom or dad could be in jail or dead. (more…)

Relationship Behind Bars

November 24, 2008

By Ashley Lowery

Instructor’s note: Ashley wrote this powerful piece in response to the prompt to write a descriptive essay about “a place that shaped you.”

Tom and Jerry, Spiderman, and Batman are all childhood cartoons that I enjoyed; however, I was unable to watch these cartoons on Saturdays. Instead, I was hugging my mother from a jail cell. More than a fourth of Baltimore city mothers are incarcerated. As a result the children are left to be cared for by family members or even the department of social services. By my mother being incarcerated, I only have vivid memories of visiting my mother in different jails. The ordeal of visiting my mother consisted of mentally and physically preparing myself, arriving at the jail and getting searched, and then sitting in a waiting room only to see her through a metal gate for a short period of time; this describes my relationship with my mom.

Deciding on an outfit to wear was a hassle. I had to make sure I didn’t wear any sleeveless shirts or shorts above the knee. (more…)