Thursday, March 25, 2010

North Minneapolis, 1996, A Story...

Contributed family photo, blog post by Emily

I stand on my porch and look out my screen door. I can smell spring. I hear kids playing. I even heard the ice cream man. I feel proud, happy and content. I know I can walk to the store or even go for a nice stroll.

When I was very young (5-6) it was ok to be outside until it got dark. But as I got older...

...we thought we could stay out later. But that was not the case. The moment the sun went down we knew we had to be in our own backyard not the front yard, because at night Lowry and Thomas was the spot where people would gather drink on the steps of the Glover Insurance building. I'd hear fights, shots fired, girls screaming and in the morning before the business opened I would clean the glass, cans and drug paraphernalia. (Note I did not know what these things were but I did use thick welding gloves to pick them up ).

The man that "lived" next door ( to the east ) his house was next to the ally and our driveway was between his house and our house and lead all the way to the back of our property, so naturally we would cut through his backyard to get to the alley.

When walking to get to my house I cut through while eating some homemade beef jerky and I heard a growl. My instinct told me to run so I did, I heard a yelp looked back I saw a pitbull with a chain around his neck that was hooked on the garage. The dog was lying on its side panting. I walked over to him and he jumped up, I took a step back and threw him the jerky. He ate it like he had never eaten before.

I started to bring him leftovers and cut through the yard to say hi to the dog, I even wiped him down and cleaned the wounds on his neck from the chain. While coming home from school I had saved a carton of milk to give to him. I got to the end of my driveway and didn't see the dog, I walked to the garage looked around and didn't see him, I saw blood and the chain. I started to cry when I heard the mans voice come from the porch.

"He's gone, I got rid of that dog. He let you kids go through my yard."

I yelled at him. I don't recall what I said. Later that day I told my dad what had happened. He said that man does not live there legally, he is a squatter. I did not know what that meant. Now I do.

Squatter : Someone who settles on land without right or title

I remember sitting on the cinderblock bench I made behind my house playing cat's cradle. My dad comes around the fence with two beers in his hands. He tells me to go inside. I pretend to go to the front door only to go around the house and climb up the tree between the house to the east and our house.

I see my dad hand the man the beer, they talk for a while then they got into my view. The man goes to the trunk of his car, it was dark by that time so I couldn't see what he was grabbing. I saw him walk towards my dad quickly and my dad fell to the ground. I almost puked, I did gag. The man heard me and looked behind him. Little did he know Chuck (the man that lived a few houses down ) was charging him and he was pissed! also he was 6'5" 250lbs.

When Chuck made contact with the man I was already on the ground feeling helpless. I never had such a hard time putting one foot in front of the other in my life. I stumbled into the kitcheing looking for my mother, she wasn't anywhere to be found. Then I heard a car peel out of the ally and down the street, followed by a scream. I ran down the stairs and dashed through the living room , kitchen and out the back door. Everyone is standing around my dad and I hear him call my name. I go to him. He asked me for the largest glass we have full of ice water.

I thought "what an odd time to quench your thirst" I handed it to him doing my best not to spill a drop. The second the glass got in his hand he doused himself with. My sister who is a LPN later told me he did it to keep himself awake cause he knew he had a concussion. The man was never caught. My dad had many stitches and a metal plate in his ankle.

What had happened was this: my dad went over there to met the man cause a few days before I'd told my dad about the death of the pitbull that I had named "Elwood" cause of his black coat and white belly.

My dad went there to ask the man if he was renting or had a lease. The man said yes he did that he kept it in his trunk, he took out a lead pipe and attacked my father. Hit my father in the head and ankle. If Chuck didn't stop the man, he may have killed my dad.

That was it, we were done. We moved to Robbinsdale a few months later, my dad was still in his cast, and done with his rehab. He told me all he wanted to do was make sure the people around us were respectful and that we should never fear walking in our neighborhood.

A year later he passed away, he was 48. He taught me that i should never take anything from anybody that isn't respect, understanding and with good intentions. I told myself I'd be back someday and take control for the people who can't or fear to have the power over their lives and their surroundings.



Emily said...

Sorry still new to this!

M. Clinton said...

You are a very good writer. I can't wait to hear the rest!

Ranty said...

Great to see you posting! It sounds like you used to live near where I am now.

Also, what's with the hula-hooping pic?! I LOVE HULA HOOPING!

Anonymous said...

I live at Sheridian and Lowery sound like not much has changed they just moved to the other side of Lowery on T Block "Thomas".

T Jaramillo

Emily said...

They were teaching kids how to use them on top of the hill at farview. it was a pleasant sight to see kids laughing.

Ranty said...

When was this?!? Jeff and I (and others) hoop at Farview three days a week... didn't know anyone else was doing it up there.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

Those are some good-looking hoops too!

Anonymous said...

Welcome home.

boathead said...

Good Morning commentary world. I read this story and i feel like crying.I just woke up and i have mixed feelings of sorrow and anger.We all have similar tales to tell and this one tugs at the heart strings enormously.I am struggling to get through this one.I get angrier the more i think about it. Your strong determined character is plainly something special.I welcome you back also.I believe whoever beat your Father with the pipe is the one who is responsible for him passing away a year later.AUTHORITIES SHOULD RE-OPEN THIS INVESTIGATION FROM THEIR COLD CASE FILES. I know that is easier said than done so i will end by saying that you are quite an inspiration and stay strong.

Ranty said...

I am very glad that you are here, Emily.

MeganG. said...

I agree with Boathead. You are an inspiration.

Anonymous said...

OMG I quit reading earlier this week after the part where you find the dog collar empty and the blood. I took a second look at the comments so of course I went back and read the whole story. I hope the puck got his one day and he most likely is responsible for your Fathers death. You are one strong Lady Emily.