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My Life Story

Overcoming Tribulation

by:
Glenn G. Latimer



Copyright © 2017
Glenn G. Latimer



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Author Bio

Glenn G. Latimer, age fifty-one, was born and raised in Chicago, where he attended Lawson grammar School, Manley High School, and George Washington Collins High School. After graduation, he went to study at Florida Memorial College in Miami, FL. Glenn is a former athlete, is self-employed, has good sense of humor, and Likes to travel.

Contents

Author Bio

Chapter 1 - Childhood

Chapter 2 - The Community

Chapter 3 - Lifestyle

Chapter 4 - College

Chapter 5 - Recovering

Chapter 6 - Relationship/Marriage

Chapter 7 - Spiritual Guidance

From The Author

Chapter 1

Childhood

I was born and raised in the city of Chicago, and I come from a family of six, two boys and four girls. I ’m the youngest of the family. My father was in WW2 and received a purple heart for saving people’s lives in the service. He worked as a brick layer until he retired. My mother worked in a factory for over twenty years until she retired. My brother AW was the oldest of the family. He went into the service and to Vietnam, which left me and my other four siblings at home with our parents. My mother and father were good parents; they did the best they could to raise us.

Me being the baby of the family, I basically got everything I wanted as a child. I can recall how, coming home from kindergarten, my father would always have butter cookies and milk waiting for me after school. As a kid, I loved to watch The Bozo Show when it came on at twelve o’clock noon. Growing up, my parents would tell my older siblings to watch me while I went outside to play, but they would leave me and go do their own thing. I could have been no more than about four or five years old at the time, but my baby sister, Althea, would watch me, or I would watch myself. They used to call me “lil boy.” They would ask me, “Who watch you, lil boy?” I’d say, “I watch myself.” They would start laughing at me, but it was the truth; I did watch myself.

My father would take me and my friends to a lot of White Sox baseball games growing up to get free souvenirs from the ballpark. My father was kind of strict; he would not let me have company at times, though sometimes he would.

My parents would take us over to our cousin’s house so we could play with them. We would have fun while they were in there drinking and listening to music or something. My auntie or uncle would bring their kids and come over to our house to play with us. That went on for a while. My first taste of alcohol was when my uncle or auntie would tell me to throw the beer can in the garbage, but before I threw it away, I would put the can to my mouth and taste the alcohol.

I always believed in God and knew there is a God, but as a kid, I just wanted to do what kids do: have fun. My mother would take me and my siblings to church almost every Sunday, and even to Sunday school. I would get mad sometimes because we had to stay at church all day, but she was just trying to get us close to God since we were so young. By this time, they started calling me “Pumkin.” I don’t know why they started calling me Pumkin, but they did, and it stuck with me as I grew up.

I probably was about ten or eleven years old when I stole a carton of my father’s cigarettes, Pall Malls without the filter. Me and my friend Birdman went on top of the roof of the building we lived in and smoked the cigarettes. We were so dizzy that we could barely stand up to walk. My father must have found out that I’d stolen a carton of his cigarettes, because he sent my sisters looking for me. We were on top of the roof, looking down at them. When they found us, we both got a whipping, and my father told me to go take a bath. When I got out of the bathtub, he whipped my butt really good. From that day on, I never stole a cigarette or nothing else from him again. My father was the type or person that if he told us to do something and we didn’t do it, he would hit us with whatever he had in his hand at that time. But my mother was gentler than my father; she wasn’t as hard on us as my father.

My cousin Chest would come from all the way from the South Side to take me and my siblings to Fun Town when it was open. Growing up as a kid, I couldn’t wait for Easter to come. I knew my parents were going to buy me some new clothes and shoes to go to church. After church, my friends and I would get together and go to the movies, either to the Alex Theater on Madison Street or the ones downtown. We would get the super transfer and ride the bus all day long. I remember that for the holidays, when I was a kid, Mom and Dad would be in the kitchen cooking. The food would smell so good, and they would listen to music, drink, and talk while they cooked. Thanksgiving was the holiday when all the family members would come over to eat and have fun. Christmas was my favorite holiday because I knew that I would get lots of toys and clothes, but this one particular Christmas, I will never forget. My parents asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and when I told them, they went out and bought everything that I had ask for. It was the best Christmas I ever had as a child.

Chapter 2

The Community

The community I grew up in was a nice area to live. Everyone knew each other, and we all tried to look out for and help each other. There were a few addicts where I lived, but we all were cool with them. There was one particular person I used to mess with all the time. Everyone called him by different names. One day, he told me that if I kept on messing with him, he was going to do something to me. I kept on messing with him anyway until, one day, he caught me. He took me to an abandoned building and threatened to throw me out the second-floor window, but he didn’t. From that day on, I stopped messing with him.

My best friend, Louise, and I would go in the back yard of our neighbors Jeff and Derek to play baseball with them, and after the game, we would always fight. Don’t know why; maybe because we were just kids. Louise and I were like brothers. We did a lot of things together growing up. The community I grew up in had a lot of kids who loved to fight, so I had to fight to let them know that I wasn’t scared of them and that I wouldn't let them push me around or keep messing with me. We had other kids who would come into our community and try to take over, but we would fight them. My father would always tell me and my siblings, "If someone hits you, hit them back no matter how big they are." One day, Louise's mother, Minnie, got her throat cut in the same building we all lived in. Her attackers were trying to rob her because they thought she was selling drugs, but she wasn’t. After that happened, I was scared to go into the building. We lived on the third floor, and I would stay inside at night because I didn’t know if anyone would be in the hallway or not when I opened up the door. Thank God there never was.

I loved playing baseball, especially when we would play against other blocks, and after the game, we'd all end up going to buy lots of junk from the block's basement store that my friend Allen's grandmother had. Sometimes at night, we would play games like Dirty-faced Devil, Red Light/Green Light, and You're It. Man, those were the good old days in the community. Now kids don’t even play games outside that much because there's too much stuff happening indoors. Thank God we were able to play those outdoor games. We didn’t have too much to worry about, like people coming into the community and shooting it up or doing drive-bys, because if something was going to happen, the guys from community would tell us to go in the house. We would be outside playing until everybody started going inside.

My parents always told me to respect elder people no matter what, because that was how they were raised. I recall that if I did something bad in the community, the neighbor would whip me, take me to my parents, and tell them what I'd done, and then they would turn around and whip me again. That’s how it was back then. Today you can’t even whip your kids without getting into trouble. I was about twelve years old when I first ditched school. Me and Louise went across the street from where we lived and into our friend LT's basement, and we stayed there until school was out. Then we went home, and I told my parents I was home from school. They never found out.

Growing up, my sisters, Glenda, Karen, Val, and Althea, were always there for one another. Sometimes they would fight each other, but they wouldn’t let anyone else mess with them or jump on one of them. They were girls, but they would fight back.

In the wintertime, there would be older guys in the alley singing, drinking, and burning trash in a barrel, trying to keep warm and minding their own business. But kids in the community would throw rocks at them because they didn’t have anything else to do but bother them. As a child, I went to Lawson Grammar School; that’s where I meet Gerald, Odell, Steve, and lots of other friends. We all were cool with one another and had a lot of fun growing up and going to school together. I loved going over to Hess Upper Grade Center to buy their butter cookies because they had the best butter cookies at that time. I had other kids give me their money so that I could go buy them, but I didn’t know it was bullying back then because I was just a kid, though now I realize it was. Every morning before school, I would go to the houses of other kids to get fifty cents from each one of them; there were three of them who gave me money. One morning, one of them came to my house to give me money, and neither of us knew that my father was watching him hand it over to me. When he left, my father whipped me and told me that whatever I was doing, I'd better stop. From that day on, I stopped taking money from them.

Older people would tell me all the time that I was not going to see the age of twenty-one because of the things I was doing. I fought a lot and was always in trouble. You had to fight in the community I grew up in, or every time some of the tougher kids would see you, they would try to jump on you. I started taking karate classes and was pretty good at it. I had the fastest feet in the class, and everyone there called me "fast feet." My feet were so fast that I could kick my opponent and knock him out without using my hands. Those were the good old days, going to class, seeing everybody just having fun, and learning how to do karate. I wish I would have stayed with it; I probably would have become a first-degree black belt, because I was that good at it. But things change. I stopped going and started doing other things that I shouldn’t have been doing and that led me into more trouble.

Chapter 3

Lifestyle

I started smoking marijuana at an early age. I used to see other kids doing it, and I thought it was a cool thing to do, but in the long run, it got me into a lot of trouble. I was too young to smoke marijuana, but it made me feel good to be laughing and having fun. It also made me hungry. I would get the munchies, which meant I had to snack.

When I graduated from Lawson Grammar School. I attended Hess Upper Grade Center, where I met Dewayne Morehead and Anthony Evans. We started hanging out together after school. So, when school was out, I would go home, drop my books off, and tell my parents I was home, but instead of studying or doing my homework, I'd just head right back out and go over to their neighborhood to hang out with them. We were always together, like the Three Amigos—if you saw one of us, you saw the others. We wouldn’t let anyone else come between us: if you fought one of us, you had to fight all of us, and if you jumped on one of us, when we saw you, we would all jump on you. That’s how we were. We did not go around fighting people or jumping on them unless they tried to do something to one of us. We smoked marijuana together and shot dice together, along with other people. I would come in the house at night and try to study or do homework for the next day, but I couldn’t because I would still be high from smoking marijuana.

I'd smoke before going to school and be talking and laughing in the classroom, not paying attention. I thought it was cool, but it wasn’t. The teacher would ask me what was wrong, and I would say, "Nothing," knowing that the teacher knew something wasn’t right because my eyes were bloodshot. The teacher would ask me, "Why are your eyes so red?" and I'd tell them that I hadn't gotten enough sleep the night before or that I'd just woken up. I don’t think they believed me at time, but that was what I said.

By this time, I was about fourteen years old, and the Vice Lords started coming into the community, trying to take over and make a name for themselves. I knew some of them because we'd grown up together before they'd become Vice Lords, but there were a few of us in the community who weren't Vice Lords. Louise, Maurice, Allen, Michael and his brothers, and I were Disciples. The Vice Lords didn’t bother us, and we didn’t bother them. They respected us, and we respected them, and that’s how it was.

I had a few nieces and nephews growing up at the time, and I tried to look after them because they were too young to look after themselves. If someone messed with them, they would come get me. I would tell whoever was bothering my nieces or nephews to stop, or next time, I'd beat them up. I was known for fighting, and they knew that. I just had to do what was best for me and for my nieces and nephews because they couldn’t take care of themselves. I tried to protect them the best way I could, not knowing that other people had big brothers too.

Back then, there weren't a whole lot of people getting shot, like now. You fought, and sometimes you won, sometimes you lost, but you always lived to see another day. Thank God I’m still here today, because, growing up, I fought all the time; that was all I knew back then. Sometimes I just think about how it was back then and how it is today, and it's a whole lot different now from what I knew.

Because I wasn't doing what I was supposed to in school and not paying any attention in class, I got held back a year. When I finally graduated from Hess Upper Center, I attended Manley High School, and there were nothing but Vice Lords going there. They must have found out that I was a Disciple, because, one day, my friend Andre, one of the guys I hung out with in the community, told me that they were going to jump on me in the cafeteria when I went to lunch. I ended up fighting one of the boys in the cafeteria, and I beat him up. I was kind of scared after the fight because I had to walk though their territory to get home and I didn't know if they were going to do something to me or not. Turns out they didn’t, and I made it home safely.

I remember going to quarter basement parties to have fun, and when the parties were over, a fight would always break out because gangs from other some other community would get into it with gangs from ours, but there weren't any shootings.

There was a club called Dee Dee and a barbecue joint called Open Pit in the community, where everybody went to go have fun. When the club closed at night, everyone would go next door to Open Pit to eat because it had good food. My favorites were the chopped steak sandwich and the chicken gizzards with mild sauce on them. One day, while walking past Open Pit, a gang member named Larry slapped me for no reason. He thought I was talking to him, but I wasn’t; I was talking to someone else. So I went home, got a knife, and went back up there looking for him. If I had seen him, I would’ve hurt him for what he had done to me. He had a reputation for going around terrorizing people. I told my in-laws what happened, and when they saw the guy, they told him that he better not ever put his hands on me again. He saw me two weeks later and apologized for hitting me; he hadn't known who my family was at the time.

My father died the day after I turned fifteen years old. I was so devastated; his death took a lot from me. He wasn’t just my father; he was my friend too. It seemed like my whole world had just caved in. My father meant a lot to me growing up. From that day on, I wasn’t the same, and I started doing things that I wouldn’t have been doing if my father had still been alive, getting into more trouble, gangbanging, smoking more marijuana, and coming in late at night even though I knew that I had to go to school the next day. One night, me and some guys broke into the Rothschild Liquor Store and stole liquor and cigarettes. We ended up getting caught because the guy we had looking out for the police had left us because he’d gotten scared and they came and arrested us. They took me to the police station, gave me a court date, and called my mother so she could come get me because I was a juvenile. A week later, I robbed the paper boy and ended up getting into a fight with him and some other boys. I got my jaw broke, and it had to be wired shut for about two to three months, during which time I couldn’t eat anything. I had to suck everything through a straw.

All the things I was doing to get myself into trouble started happening after my father died. My mother tried to talk to me about what I was doing, but it would go into one ear and out the other because I was still hurt over the death of my father. My mother said to me one day that either someone was going to kill me before the year was over or I was going to get locked up because of the things I was doing out there. Two months later, I was arrested for shooting at someone and doing other things, and I was sent to the juvenile detention center on Ogden Ave. While I was in there, waiting to go to court, I got into a fight with this boy and beat him up, and I was sent to the hole until my court day. When the day finally came, the judge sentenced me to serve time in the St. Charles Detention Center because he said that I was dangerous to society at the age of fifteen.

I stayed in the Owens & Robinson Cottage intake for thirty days, until they shipped me to Valley View Detention Center, where I stayed in F-Hall intake for thirty days. Then they transferred me to B-Hall. At this point, I still hadn’t talked to anyone about how long I was going to be in there. It wasn't until about two weeks later that I was finally able to talk to a counselor, and he said that they could keep me there until I was twenty-one because of my background record as a juvenile and because of all of the trouble I'd gotten into while growing up.


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