My father would call all of us children into the living room. He would have me, my brother, and my sister walk around the coffee table as he would whip us for no reason just to hear us cry. In the third grade, I didn’t know how to spell tadpole. For every letter I missed my dad would whip me across my back with a leather belt until I would bleed. One day my school teacher rubbed my back. I flinched from the pain of having been beaten. She sent me to the Principal’s office, who then called the police. The police almost arrested him for child abuse, but in those days, the laws in the South were more lenient than they are today, so they let him go.
When I was eight or nine years old I didn’t want to play football with my brother. Dad made me play. While playing I slipped and cut my head on concrete. During the evening meal, that night my head fell into a plate. I was taken to the hospital and had to have brain surgery. At nine or ten years old my family moved from Cleveland, Tennessee to Mt. Clemens, Michigan. I noticed my dad beating my mother more than he had in the past. She would try to cover the bruises by applying more make-up. Regardless, she always wore a smile. I grew to hate my dad because it hurt me to see what she was going through. It was so bad that dad said one time, “If you don’t like the way I treat your mother, go ahead and hit me.” My brother answered, “No I won’t, dad.” When asked me the same question I hit him in the face. I jokingly say today, “You have not because you ask not.” That’s why I did it.”
When I was fourteen years old my parent’s marriage was falling apart. On May 1, 1973, My Mother told my Dad he could stay in the house that night, but must leave the following day, when she planned to file for divorce. I was troubled that night, and early the next morning I noticed lights on in the kitchen area. I thought mom had forgiven dad again, as she had done so many times before. About 4:00 or 5:00am dad came up to mom’s bedroom and tried to smother her with a pillow. My brother and I ran in trying to stop him as we had done before.
This time was different. My father took a baseball bat from the corner of the room and started beating my mother on the head, face, and entire body. He then turned and hit my brother and me in the head with the baseball bat. He then chased me down the stairs and trapped me in the kitchen. Because of the trauma, and gushing blood from my head I raised my arms in an attempt to protect myself from more injury.