March 10, 2019

Dear Reader.....3/3/19

by Douglas Blaine Matthews (author's profile)



Dear reader,
I hope you are doing well!

Second group home. This one lasted about three months. It was known as an emergency shelter for bad kids. I was definitely not the kind of bad they were referring to. I argued with my siblings and got into unprovoked fights at school. The kids in this home were carrying guns and selling drugs, and getting into gang wars. And I was moving in with them.

My first day, I met the counselors and they were nice. It seemed like this might not be that bad. I went upstairs and put up my stuff. Three beds. So I had two roommates. Four more boys across the hall and four girls downstairs. I was in the 7th grade so I was about 12 or 13.

I repeated the 2nd grade. As I was putting up my stuff, my roommates came in one of them picked up my bag and started going through it. I said to him, "What are you doing? That's my stuff!" He said, "I'm seeing what I want!" I grabbed my bag and the other kid clocked me in the temple. We fought and I lost. I went toe-to-toe with those two for the next month. Finally, they eased up when they saw I wasn't going to submit to their rule.

And there here it was, the first time of many. I was asked to be a part of a gang. It was and felt like a compliment. They were telling me I was tough and deserving of respect. I twas tempting, but I didn't want to live that life of always fighting someone. I only fought when I had to. Other than that, I was a nice kid. So I refused their offer and that didn't go well at all. Now, it was join or die.

Luckily for me, one of them got in trouble and got locked up. The other one was more of a follower. So with the other guy gone, the scales were leveled. He knew, I knew, and I kicked his ASS! Ha ha! After that I was okay there.

I still had my problems at school though. This one kid didn't like me because I hung out with a group of white kids. He took it personal, as if I was turning my back on my black brothers and sisters by kicking it with my white brothers and sisters. I am obviously mixed black and white, though some people did think I was Puerto Rican when I was a kid.

That kid got some of his friends and they had me cornered on some stairs. I worked out who I was going to hit first and where I'd run to. There were several of them. Not a fight I wanted today. Before I could act though, the kid who had a problem with me moved forward quick, lifted his arm forward. I leaned back to escape the hit and hit a pole. I was jammed. But he wasn't swinging to hit me. In my face, pressed against my forehead was a nickel colored revolver. Fear hit me like a ton of bricks. He was saying something, spewing words out of his mouth, but I heard nothing. I felt the cold steel pressed against my forehead. How if I tried to look directly at the gun, my eyes would cross and my vision would blur.

Next thing I know, he and his crew started beating the crap out of me. I found a hole and struck out like a bolt of lightning. They gave chase, but I was too fast... today. This was a confusing moment for me. Didn't understand any of it. But I was stuck in the center of it and no one to help me out of it. I figured the adults would be like my mom and blame me for it, so I didn't go to them for help. Afraid I'd get into trouble.

Now, I'd been jumped plenty of times up to this point. But I was able to do some damage to the other kids too. I could stand my ground and fare well. But this crew... It was suicide to do that.

I stood my ground twice and woke up there twice. Ha! First time, I was alone and everyone gone. I walked back to the group home and went to my room. Dinner came and I waited till everyone else ate and then I got me some food. Ate really fast. Before anyone could see me and how messed up I was. I went back to my room.

The second time I stood my ground I woke up in a field. An older man wearing a blue uniform with a white and red tag on his left breast pocket woke me up. He tried to help further, but I told him I was okay and walked home. To the group home.

From then on, with that crew, I ran! Ha! Yup, I wasn't trying to take anymore afternoon naps by them! Ha! I dodged them as much as I could, but they still caught up with me a couple of times. I got pretty slick and started following them. I figured I was following them, they couldn't follow me. One day, they all disappeared. Really. Just vanished. Never came back to school. I figure they got into some trouble and got locked up. I was glad they were gone! Shoo! Ha ha!

7th grade: I got beat unconscious twice and a gun pushed against my forehead. And that guy who put the gun to my forehead? I ran into him two more times in my life and guess what? The second time I was 17, and he put a gun to my head again! Can you believe it? Too bad for him though. I beat him unconscious this time. Third time was in juvenile prison. No problems. :P

That stay in the emergency shelter lasted about three months. I learned nothing more than to fell more alienated by my environment. What are group homes for? They're supposed to help kids develop skills that are needed to make the right decisions in life. Unfortunately, a lot of the group homes in our country aren't being run the way some people think. Putting a child into a new environment is a big deal. Parents should thoroughly investigate those places before choosing to put their child in one.

Until next time.

Yours truly,


Replies Replies feed

We will print and mail your reply by . Guidelines

Other posts by this author


Get notifications when new letters or replies are posted!

Posts by Douglas Blaine Matthews: RSS email me
Comments on “Dear Reader.....3/3/19”: RSS email me
Featured posts: RSS email me
All Between the Bars posts: RSS