Anyway this is a story as it would be written by a troubled 12 year old girl:.............
By Jamie L. Jackson
My name was Amy Walker. I’m 12 years old and went to Emerson Jr. Hi. I was in 7th grade. I smoked pot for the first time on Halloween last year and sometimes on the way home from school there was these older guys who gave us girls beer. I have always done well in school; although, somehow it didn’t feel like it. They put me in gifted classes in fourth grade.
It was really funny how that happened. I used to hang out with this group of kids in third grade. We met in an old building every afternoon, and we would do things like play strip poker, smoke cigarettes, and go to the grocery store to steal things. We stole the cards to play the poker and candy and stuff. I used to think this one girl was cheating to make herself lose so she could take her clothes off. She was kind of our leader. I didn’t care. I was just glad I never had to take too much off. Anyway, when they tested me for the gifted programs, nobody told me what they were doing, so I thought that they were trying to find out what we had been doing in that old building. Come to find out, they wanted me to go to a new school with a whole classroom of other people who had taken the same test.
I had to catch the bus to go to the new elementary school, and I stayed there 3 years. I liked it because we got to do stuff the other students didn’t, like take Spanish, Creative Arts, and Typing. In 4th grade, I even won an award for the most original-weaving project. Funny, I just thought the weaving was weird. As a matter of fact, that was how I felt in general. Weird. The kids in my class were mostly from the homes of Doctors and Professors. There were a few of us who were different. There was Randy with the red hair, who wore plaid shirts and his pants were always too short. There was Evelyn. She was the only black girl in class. She had gotten burned around her mouth and head when she was a baby and she had scars around her mouth, and wore a wig. One time she was swinging on the bars and her wig fell off. Everyone laughed, but Evelyn cried. That hurt me. I liked Evelyn.
My mother even allowed me to ride my bike to Evelyn’s house one time. I was across the Main St. on the other side of town. The next weekend, I asked Evelyn to come to my house, but my mother said she couldn’t come. When I asked her why, she said she didn’t want the neighbor’s talking about us. I could feel the injustice in her words. She also used a word for black folks that made me feel uncomfortable. I asked Evelyn one day whether she preferred to be called Black, Negro, or Colored. She told me she preferred to be called Evelyn.
So I went through the “Gifted” classes in elementary school and started in Emerson Jr. Hi in gifted classes as well, but I wanted out. I already felt so different; I didn’t need to be MORE different. None of the cool kids were in the gifted classes.
I wanted to be like the kids who hung out on the field. There was a whole group of them. They would sit in a circle at lunchtime and sneak cigarettes and sometimes smoke pot. I know they did pills too, because one time this girl, Merry, had to be picked up by an ambulance for an overdose of what they said were “Reds”. Now, THAT, was cool.
I couldn’t really get in with the “in” crowd, but I could hang out with the siblings of some of them. Mara was in the same grade as me and she had a brother Jerome. He had long blonde hair and was really cool. When I went to Mara’s house, he was there. Him and his friends teased us about being virgins. One night, when I was spending the night with Mara, Jerome and I “did it”. So now they couldn’t tease me about that any more, but I still couldn’t hang out in the field with the cool kids either.
There was a girl named Charlotte who used to go to our school, but she hadn’t been coming lately. Some folks said that she had run away from home and that they had her going to some Drug Program during the day. Now that sounded cool…………and mysterious.
Mara and I went by her house on the way home once. She told about her experience of running away and how she now was going to group therapy everyday. She said they had good food there, and it was easier than school. I told her I was thinking about running away and she told me that it wasn’t a good idea. Funny, it sounded like GREAT idea.
So I started to prepare myself for my adventure. I pack my clothes and some food, and left it in the alley the night before I planned to run away. When Mara came by to get me for school, I took the pillowcase filled with my stuff. On the way to school, there was a vacant house and I went in there for my first day of freedom. Mara said she would stop by on the way home from school. I sat there all day. I ate some of the food, but all I mostly did was sit. I was afraid to leave the house because I thought someone would see me. When it came time for Mara to come by, she brought other people. They were all excited for me. They thought I was cool. I felt important for the first time in my life. I was cool. Soon after though, they left. Back to their homes and families and dinnertime.
As I sat in the house, it started to get dark and I was scared. I figured I would go to Charlotte’s house and she would tell me what to do next. What she did was call the police department. They came to the house and said that I had not even been reported missing yet (I guess my Mom was still at work), and if I wanted they could take me home. I refused. I wanted to go to Juvenile Hall! I figured that would do a lot for my new cool rep.
I stayed two weeks in Juvey until I got to see a judge. By then I was ready to go home. I had been the youngest in there and the other girls’ used to tease me and once they even told me that I had to be with another girl. I wrote home to my mother and told her she had to help me, but one of guards were friends with the girls and she told them what I had written. They were really mad then, so I mainly stayed in my room, but there were older girls who would talk to me and sometimes teach me things about how to make it in Juvey and in the world. I will say one thing about Juvey; it was there I learned to start reading books. After all, when you can’t leave your room much, what else can you do?
I was glad to go home, but nothing much had changed there or at school. My mother and I lived in small house on Verde Street. It had one bedroom, a kitchen, bathroom and living room. It sat on an alley, way back from the other houses. I hadn’t always lived with my Moma. Sometimes Moma couldn’t take care of kids. You see Moma took pills all the time, and about every six months she would start drinking and drink almost all the time for a long time.
When I was 2, I was in an orphanage for a short while. My older sister and brother were there too, but my grandmother came and got me. I know you won’t believe it, but I can still see the old stone building and my sister waving good-bye when we drove away. I wondered how she felt staying there, when grandma was taking me away. Grandma and Popa (my grandfather) took me to live with my Grandmother’s Brother and his Wife. They sold gravestones in their front yard. I turned three there, and I had a tricycle that I used to ride around the house. One day, when I was outside, my mother pulled up in a pick up truck with her new husband. She had my sister with her. I don’t know where my brother was. Both my sister and mother had white blonde hair just like that lady in the movies on TV. I don’t remember them leaving, but they did.
Eventually my Grandmother had to come and get me. The Aunt and Uncle had said I cried all the time. Funny, I don’t remember that either, but I must have. Grandma and Popa where going to California. She said my mother was there with her new husband and I could go and stay with them for a while.
We lived in Fresno, California, and my mother was pregnant with who would become my youngest sister. About the time for her to be born, my mother’s sister came and got me. Aunt Rebecca and my Uncle Harold were going to Missouri, and I went with them. I loved it there. We went fishing and rode horses, and I walked miles and miles through the woods. Laura (my little sister) was born in August, and I had to get back to California. It was almost time for me to start school.
When I came back, Moma had my sister. She was so beautiful. We had to live in small house at first and I started school, but once my Step Dad and Mom both were working, we were able to move to the house on L St.
It was obvious my Step Dad preferred my little sister to me. He beat me, but she was just a baby. Once he cut a switch to whip me with, but it had another stick that had gown off of it. He had cut that one off too, but had left a nub. That nub went into my leg. They were all concerned then, and everyone took very good care of me.
There were many examples of my Stepfather’s preference for Laura, although I never blamed Laura for it. Once, when we were taking a bath together, I was squirting water at her from the gap in my front teeth, and he came in the bathroom and spit in my face asking how did I liked it? Another time, he was letting us drive. Laura was 2 then, and I was 6. I got to drive first and I thought I did pretty well. Laura did what babies do and swung the wheel back and forth. He said I did terrible and that Laura could drive better than me. I just couldn’t seem to make him like me.
All in all, I didn’t mind, I guess. I was able to stay away from home all day playing, and the only time I had to worry much was in the morning. My mother worked nights and my Stepfather worked days. I would lie in bed in the morning and listen to the footsteps. I didn’t want to get up if only my Stepfather was there. I could tell my mother’s footsteps. They were light and fast. His were hard and heavy. One morning I lay in bed for a long time. Waiting to hear my mother’s footsteps. Finally I just had to get up, and there she was! I guess she had been tired and walking heavier. I cried and cried, because I could have been with her for a long time, but thought it was him.
Eventually he left and took Laura, we followed on a Greyhound bus after selling everything in the house. We took her back, but eventually he came back to California and got her. There are a lot of details in there I have left out, but what ended up happening was my mother started drinking a lot with all the pills and my Grandma came and got me again.
I lived with her until I was 11. I had saved the money from my Moma’s pennies she would gave me from her tips as a waitress, until I got enough to rent us our own place.
Anyway, eventually, when I got out of Juvey I started going to the same group therapy place Charlotte did. They have grown ups that come there for methadone too, and I have one friend who always has plenty pot. We get the munchies and eat all the good food.
I’m almost thirteen now. I look much older. I have had sex with quite a few guys. I don’t really see what they see in it, but I it makes me feel like they care for me.
I don’t plan on staying home much longer. I met a whole bunch of folks in Juvey that told me what to do when you run away, and where to go. Then with the older folks I met at the Therapy center and in the methadone clinic they had there, I could do okay.
Maybe I will go down to the “Cue Ball” downtown where the big teenagers hang out and get high. Maybe they will accept me.