We lived in a neighborhood where abandoned couches and soiled mattresses filled the alleys. Crack houses dotted the landscape, and we had the pleasure of having one right behind our house. Gunshots and sirens pierced the night while we tried to sleep.
We were kids, though. We thought all these things added excitement to our lives. The thrill of police rushing by, my mom yelling, “Hit the deck” when gunshots rang out, the shady people walking by while we played in the yard. It all made us feel like we were living in a gritty movie.
It was an exciting life, and we loved it until our house was broken into. It was right before Christmas while we were away visiting my grandparents. They robbers took what little we had, all the way down to the welfare butter and cheese in the fridge.
The crack head crooks were kind enough to completely wreck the house while they were there. It takes real talent to trash a piss infested rat hole of a house, but they managed it. I remember seeing all of our family pictures thrown all over the dining room floor. They were wet and curling from the beer the thieves dumped on them. All those happy memories spread out on the ancient, scratched, pitted hardwood floor. Pathetic in their ruin.
Our house was broken into again a year later. My mom had once again been carted off to the loony bin, and after a week of my grandma and dad trying to get the house key, we pulled up alongside the house only to find the door already open. Mom in the hospital, house robbed, uprooted again, no clothes, no security, no nothin’. Fun, exciting times, indeed.