Shortly after the death of the baby my mom was told that if she wanted to survive with AIDS the best thing for her to do would be to move back to California. She pack up the things that we were able to carry including the goldfish my siblings and I got while trick-r-treating and she bought 5 grey hound bus tickets. I don’t remember much about the trip across the USA but I do remember getting off the bus in Los Angeles and meeting my grandma she was so happy to see us she took turns hugging and kissing all of us over and over again. Now that I think about it I know that took love because we had just spent 3 days on a bus and there were no shower breaks.
Even thou I was born in Los Angeles I felt like I was in a very different world. It was warmer and it felt less crowded. I was in awe at the grass that lined the sidewalks and to openness of the streets. My older sister and brother and I were bused to school. In New York our school was a short walk away. Living with my grandma was fun in the beginning but then I started to realize how mean she was. She asked us to do things that my mother never expected us to do. Like hand wash her clothes and do yard work. In New York we didn’t have a yard and my mom took care of all the laundry. I began to dislike my grandmother. I thought she tried extra hard to make life hard. But even thou I didn’t like her I loved her. She didn’t hit my mom and she didn’t hurt me like Willy did. Despite the fact that she always found a reason to whoop my siblings and I, I did feel like it was unfair or wrong because she was equally unfair with everyone.
My mom checked us into school and then left us with our grandma while she went to take care of something’s in New York like selling our old furniture and getting rid of the rest of our belonging. During this time my grandma was our care taker. Looking back now I question my mom’s judgment. She left us with a woman who abused her when she was a child. My grandma didn’t even raise my mom. My mom was raised by her aunt. My grandma was and still is an abusive drunk. She is mean for no reason and I remember trying hard to please her as to no avail. I can remember trying to do well in school and she never noticed. My teachers would praise me more than she did. I do credit my grandmother with teaching me how to stand up for myself. I was bullied a lot at school because I was very shy and very quiet. Granny told me to keep an old sock with 4 double d sized batteries in it at the bottom of my backpack, and she said if anybody messed with me to just take it out of my back pack and wrap the end around my hand. She told me to keep it ready and if they swung at me take that sock and swing it at them as hard as I could. She advised me to keep swinging until they backed away from me for good. I had to do this one time ever in life and I cried the entire fight. But winning that fight showed me that I was able to defend myself against the bullies and that even thou I was a small and skinny child I didn’t deserve to be messed with.
I can remember my first spelling test at Loyola Village Elementary School. The teacher informed us to sound out the words in order to spell them. I never had that instruction from my teachers in New York. We were taught that cat was spelled C-A-T we were taught to remember it not sound it out. Sounding words out was hard for me. I had a New York accent and every word I said sounded like it had an “A” at the end of it. When I got my graded test back I earned an “F” because each word had that extra “A” at the end of it. My granny told me to pick a switch off the tree so she could use it to spank me. I only did what I was told and I didn’t understand why she was so upset with me. I never really understood my granny like I said I didn’t really like her but I loved her with all my heart and still do.