When i was ten years old, i found my mother dead in her bed. we were living in a small apartment in the project section of charleston, sc on beaufain street. the year was 1965. i had two younger sisters that lived there with me and my mother, jackie. my parents had recently divorced and we lost our nice home to go and live in the apartment. i liked it there because the fighting between my parents was terrible when they were together. i was too young at the time to realize how much my mother still loved my father. he had found someone new and no longer wanted his family.since i have grown up, i found out that the new woman did not want a man with child support payments or with children that still wanted to be a part of his life. the night before i found my mother, he was supposed to come and visit her to talk. she put me and my sisters to bed early. the next morning, all of the windows and shades were pulled down and our bedroom door was shut. i awoke to my smallest sister crying, so, i went to get my mother up. she was cold and hard. i called my beloved granny and she sent the police.
i don’t remember much about the days that followed,but, i soon realized that my father was suspected of killing her and he wanted nothing to do with me or my sisters. he took my two small sisters over 100 miles away to live with his parents and i , somehow got to my granny’s house. we were at the breakfast table one morning, a few months later and my granny fell over into my lap. she had had a massive stroke and died.
my father had to come and get me because noone else wanted to keep me. i had to go and stay with him and his new wife and her son. they began to fight because of my presence and it wasn’t long before they separated. she left him. he was very upset by this and continued to try and see her. she filed a complaint and had him committed somehow, for thirty days. i stayed with an aunt and uncle during that time. the day he got out he began to go to church and try to convince her to talk to him. he had been out for a few days when he took me to church with him one night, then brought me back to my aunt’s house and left to go and visit his wife. it was about 4:30 the next morning when i heard the phone ring. i heard my aunt tell my uncle that my father was dead. his wife had shot and killed him.
after his funeral, my other grandmother decided that she could not keep both of my sisters because she was to old to keep two small children. my uncle, who was my father’s only brother, decided to keep me and my middle sister. his wife did not like this idea and she had no problem making this known to us. she hated us and treated us like dogs.our lives were miserable. i ran away when i was 16.
my life after that was a series of disasters. i lived in a violent marriage for over twenty years. i did have 5 beautiful children. my second marriage wasn’t a good one either. there was no physical violence,but, there was no love either.
my children are all grown now and i have wonderful grandchildren,but, the pain that started for me in childhood has , and still does effect me. i would love to go back to charleston and spend some time with my sisters because i love them so much and i love charleston. i have been in north carolina since i ran away at 16. i need to go and look up old newspapers and see what i can find out about my mother’s death and visit her grave as well as my father’s and granny’s.,but, mostly, i want to spend some time with my sisters and try to heal.
i am disabled now,but, i can still walk. i have let all of the trajedy control my whole life. i have never had money. i usually have enough to pay monthly bills,but, not much more. one day i hope i can somehow save enough before i die, to go back. i just know that one night we were three little girls that lived with our mother and had wonderful times with our granny,and the next morning our world turned upside down. this story has haunted me all of my life and i would like for our happy ending to finally start to happen.