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Prepared by:

Darnicea Hope

For Cortez


Objective: To always put business first when dealing with customers. Get Money!

Highlights of Qualifications

• Making something out of nothing

• Superior thinking skills

• Certified in Street Economics 2000

Relevant Skills and Experience

• A self-starter

• Effectively identified potential consumers

• Enthusiastic and motivated when making sales

• Excelled in Hustler 101

• Converted products to currency

• Capable of working a fast pace

• Ability to balance multiple accounts mentally

• Observant of all surrounds

• Flexible to change

• Directed cash flow to areas experiencing debt

• Adaptive to all environments

• Balanced large amounts of money at the end of shift

• Consolidated various products to accommodate customers

• Managed lower-level employees

October 17, 1996 21:40pm

Possession with intent to distribute marijuana

Had in his possession and threw down a bag with 20 individual bags of suspected marijuana and half a smoked blunt


February 05, 1997 10:10am

Disorderly conduct

Possession of marijuana


June 20, 1998 3:00pm

Possession of controlled substance

Possession of firearm

Seen by police pulling suspected crack cocaine and marijuana and .38 handgun from waistband

to the trunk of vehicle

August 18, 1998 1:05pm

Fulton County warrant FTA# 297452

Disorderly conduct #6



In telling this true story, I would like to first thank God for giving me the spiritual gift of writing. Thanks to my praying Grandmothers, both of them, especially my maternal Grandma, Minnie for inspiring and encouraging my dreams. This story would not be possible if not for my immediate family; my brother for living a life story that I felt needed to be told. My mother and my father and my younger sister Keondra, my wonderful daughter Angel whom God has given to me as a reminder of my purpose in life, my nieces Amariya and Taylor and my nephew Chaz and all of the spiritual children whose live I have impacted with significance. To my extended family for always being there in prayer and keeping me within a hedge of protection. To the spiritual family, my pastor, the youth minister and the rest of my church family for praying for me when I did not even know I needed prayer and helping me to learn about the Jesus Christ who is my personal savior and who died for my sins and through his blood I am cleansed. Extra special thanks to all friends, Angela who grew to become my sister and all my sisters Tomieka, Cheree (Yameka), Yasmeen, Jamika, Niesha, and Nicole, my friends that have supported my dream. To my brother’s boys known as the Fab, Mario; the best friend and best man, Raymond and the rest of the crew thanks for loads that you carried, forever.

Telling this story has been one of the hardest assignments that I have had in this life and its completion marks the finale on a part of my life. By broken heart is being healed in God’s time.

To protect the guilty, thugged out and those with minds like a criminal some names have been omitted at the discretion of the author. With all due respect to those lost in the struggle… this story must be told. This story of Cortez D. Wilson, otherwise known as Chee$e, Cheddar Cheese and Monterey Jack the story that must be told this story marks the realization of her dream. In the words of my brother, “GO!”

Author Disclaimer:


Contact the author by email at destinybydivinedesign1@gmail or by web at

Table of Contents

Prologue How We Came Up

Chapter 1 In the Beginning

Chapter 2 Our Baby Sister and Her Daddy

Our Grandmother

Chapter 3 The Real Cheese

The Hitman

Chapter 4 We Had to Fight

(Graduation from Margaret Fain)

(B.E. Usher Middle School)

Chapter 5 Incident at School

Valentine’s Day 1997

Chapter 6 Rough Times

Chapter 7 Go! Cheese! Go!

Chapter 8 My Brother, The Weedman

Chapter 9 Mistaken Identity

Chapter 10 The Real Cheddar Cheese

My Brother’s Girlfriend, “Nookie”

Chapter 11 The Family

Our Streetbrother

Me and My Homegirls

Fallen Soldier

Chapter 12 My Brother, The Powderman

Our Daddy

Like Father, Like Son

Nookie’s Best Friend’s Dream

Daddy Died

PUSH: The Family Motto (August 1998)

The Letter

Chapter 13 Life Changes

Chapter 14 2000 The New Millennium

Chapter 15 The Homecoming

My 21st Birthday

My Brother’s 24th Birthday 2002

A Year Later 2003

Chapter 16 True Love-The Woman He Loved

Our Mother

My Brother’s Wife

Chapter 17 The Dream

The Wedding

Chapter 18 Our Little Sister

Chapter 19 All-Star Weekend

Introducing Monterey Jack

Chapter 20 One-Stop Shop

Chapter 21 The Final 365

Like We Needed a Reason New Year’s 2004

Our Revelations

Chapter 22 The Phone Call

The Final Ride

Chapter 23 They Say

Chapter 24The Final 365 and Beyond

Epilogue Prepare for the Worst; Expect the Best


How We Came Up

In the beginning…

We grew up just like those teenagers on the television show Beverly Hills, 90210. The difference was that we were in Atlanta and those kids were wealthy and we were not. The television show was about the coming-of-age of a group of friends. Another noticeable difference was that those kids were white, or Caucasian and we were not. Together those suburban teens experienced homecomings, proms and graduations. We spent a vast majority of our teenaged years smoking weed, getting drunk and mourning the loss of our adolescent counterparts. In all actuality, the truth is we were nothing like those actors on that television show Beverly Hills 90210 whose lives were scripted roles portrayed for the purpose of entertaining segmented to fit between acne endorsing commercials. The day-to-day details of our lives were too packed with too much drama and destruction, but that was regular in the dirty south in the area where we came up.

Had the setting of our story actually been out in California, Beverly Hills perhaps, there were not that many white girls in our crew. The star character playing the role as the nephew visiting for an extended stay, one semester to finish school after trouble was made in our neighborhoods. No rich aunties or uncle ringing bells, putting on heirs and living everyday like it was a day of fun in the sun. Our uncles were judges; cases were handled in the streets.

We had cousins who danced but that was before the real violence: the gun violence that penetrated our generation. We had cousins who were business minded only their tactics leaned towards illegal activities. Instead of watching stocks on Wall Street our cousins were too busy selling rocks on our on street. We had beautiful cousins, too, and look but don’t touch types; daddy’s girls. Pretty and smart with enough blonde moments to last a lifetime of seasons. We spent our days at the playground organized sports were expensive and elite groups, so as wayward individuals we gathered in a fashion that was all our own. Playing cards, especially spades, tunk, dominoes or Uno and we even got physically at times; playing inner hawk, basketball or even wrestling. Wrestling was a training tool, girls versus boys. They overpowered us with strength for the chance to roughly caress our developing young and tender bodies. Struggling for rank we survived off pure skill and we also found strength in numbers.

Drinking brown liquor and white liquor or whatever color wine with no discriminatory preference, smoking weed like there was no limits to the supply and talking plenty of trash. We were occupied.

We always said “it would get greater later,” looking back at those times they were greater back then or later arrived too late or never at all for some of us…

Chapter 1

In The Beginning…

“Don’t die now old man... Not yet… It’s not your time.”

The words my father spoke to my grandfather, my mother’s father, the day before my he died. My mother tells how they were cool with each other, as opposed to her childhood sweetheart who my granddaddy often chased from around their house.

You ‘bout to be a granddaddy…” my father told him.

The scene was probably too much for my mother. My father escorted my mother home that night. The next day my grandfather died. That was February the 21st of the year 1978. The church was my grandmother was a member declined to offers their funeral services to my grandfather, he was not a member. Anyways, my mother was riding in the car with my grandmother’s best friend, Ms. Mary (everyone has one of those close to the family) looked back at my mother and knew instantly, with the wisdom that comes only with age, that my mother was pregnant. The secret was out. My older brother was born prematurely, in September of that year. He answered to William, or Will, our grandfather’s name for the first year of his life. My parents celebrated his first birthday a year later, they really enjoyed the after party… in all likelihood I was conceived in September of 1979. I like to think that my father planned to get my mother pregnant.

In February of 1980 my parents united in holy matrimony. My mother was about 5 months pregnant with me at the time, although you can’t tell by looking at the pictures of their wedding day. My mother did not want to have another child out of wedlock. My father, mother and my older brother were all living with my grandmother and her youngest son, my Uncle Alfred was also in the home.

My mother started getting angry; her husband wouldn’t get a job. My father, I don’t know what he was feeling or thinking at the time, all I know is what I was told, I can imagine that he was feeling frustrated. One thing probably led to another and he took his frustrations out on his wife, who was pregnant with me. My grandmother told me how he jumped on my mother; beat her up really bad while she was pregnant with me. Then he grabbed my brother and ran out the backdoor. As the story was told to me, my uncle Alfred ran after him, caught up with him, beat him up, and brought my brother back home to the family.

I guess my parents fell out of love before I was born although I was conceived out of wedlock; I was a child born soon after a separation. My mother was young barely 19 at the time of my conception. On the sixteenth day of June 16, 1980, I was born on Father’s Day, of a leap year; my father was also born in a leap year.

As I was told, the name of a nurse at Grady Memorial Hospital caught my father’s my eye and I was supposedly named after her. While checking out the nurse my father didn’t stay long enough to autograph the birth certificate of his newborn daughter. My mother did not reveal that she was married. He was so angry when he got to the hospital and realized that my mother was using her maiden name and by law so was I. I carried my mother’s maiden name which is my grandfather’s last name. The hospital security was called and from what I was told they could not handle the situation. The police were called to escort my father off the premises.

The early years were rough, but at that time we did not know it. We were happy, or at least I was. We were happy with grits and eggs, or grits and bacon, or grits with cheese or grits with whatever. It seemed we had an endless supply of grits. It seemed we never ran out of ketchup either. We had ketchup with hot dogs and bread for dinner a couple of nights out of the week. Ketchup with ground beef and pasta-ala noodles or ketchup with ground and chopped onions cooked in the oven –ala meatloaf. My mother was not the best cook. I don’t call her every cooking any vegetables, other than corn, during the first few years of my life. People often asked why my brother and I were so skinny; metabolism, genetics and a young mother who couldn’t cook. Banana pudding with no bananas, cornbread that broke a knife, we were po’, but we were happy.

My brother and I fought like cats and dogs. As a very young child, my mother wanted to teach him that women should be loved and not hurt by being hit physically or having harsh words thrown at them. After I pushed him down a flight of stairs my mother had to tell him to defend himself.

My brother and I, our mother and her boyfriend Bobby, who was like our father figure that was our family at that time. Bobby was a real stand-up guy and one of the realest people I ever met in my life. I remember the day my mother told me she was having a baby, she had on a yellow dress and her stomach was huge, but I so lost in a child’s world, I didn’t notice or think she was gaining weight. Bobby went to the school to get homework packets for my brother and I and he even helped us with the work, so we wouldn’t be behind in school when my mother gave birth.

My younger sister was born in March of 1987. My brother and I stayed with cousins while my mother had the baby. I recall my older cousins laughing at me because I could not do the cabbage patch dance. My brother and I were dropped off at home just before my mother brought our sister home from the hospital, she was so tiny and dressed in pink. Everyone was happy, and everything was all good. For whatever reasons, I don’t remember my first-grade teacher at all, I do recall getting stuck trying to recite my sister’s date of birth.

Chapter 2

Our Baby Sister and Her Daddy

My baby sister was a living doll that my brother and I could not touch or hold her beauty was for our eyes only. She was asleep on the bed, Bobby was outside working up underneath the hood of his car and my mother was visiting with a friend two doors down. Suddenly, two police came with a warrant for Bobby. Bobby saw them before they saw him, and he ran into the apartment into the bedroom where my sister was sleeping and snatched her off the bed and held her to his chest. The police entered the room with guns drawn and aimed at Bobby who was holding my sister as a shield in front of his chest. I stood there watching mesmerized. Someone, I think my brother ran and got my mother. She came running and crying. In the end the police took Bobby away.

There was a man that lived upstairs from us around the time my sister was born. Looking back, it was obvious he hustled something illegal. He would grab a handful of change and throw it out of the window. The kids would spend hours collecting the coins. He had two sons. One day the man’s girlfriend came running down the steps… a gun had gone off discharged accidentally and went through the floor. They wanted to make sure my baby sister, Ke was alright.

Things were never quite the same after that. Bobby was no longer a part of our family life. We visited him in jail. We soon moved to the apartment complex right next to where my grandmother lived. We stayed less than five minutes away from her if we cut through a pathway, which we often did. For the first time my brother and I could hold our younger sister. She was about nine months old. Her first word was “boy” and she was talking to her brother. Bobby would come and visit, we later learned he was using drugs. A blessing came in the form of an income-based apartment in the same apartment complex that my grandmother lived in.

Our Grandmother

Easter Sunday always presented the best gatherings when my brother and I were children. It involved new clothes and shoes and most importantly the chance to say our Easter speeches. My brother and I always stood side-by-side passing the microphone between one another as we announced the glory of Resurrection Sunday. It also presented an opportunity to spend time with our Grandmother and other family members. There was always a big family dinner and a huge egg hunt at our great aunt’s house. As kids, my brother and I looked forward to the holiday with elation in our young hearts. Even though we lived in an area stricken by poverty we were happy po’ because we did not know any different. All we had was family and they made us feel rich with love.

By the time she was four years old, my grandmother was an orphan. Her father died first of something called “black lung” that he got from working in the mines, her mother died about 2 years later. She had 7 siblings, she was next to the youngest, the youngest girl. Her grandmother was instrumental in her upbringing, along with one of her aunts.

My grandmother came to Atlanta, Georgia as a young girl to visit her aunt and eventually moved to Atlanta with her. Her aunt, who was affectionately known as Annie was a bootlegger and numbers runner, they got by.

As a young child, my grandmother was very close with her two brothers that were closest to her in age. One of her brothers went off to fight in the war, he came back and was killed in an alley over a fifty-cent dice game. Other family members contradicted the story; that it was not exactly fifty cents, it was more, a lot more, but my grandmother filled my childhood with stories of her upbringing and how she lost her brother over a fifty-cent dice game. The man who killed her brother went to prison and when he got out he was killed.

My grandmother had her first child, a boy, at 19 years old in November of 1942. She described the treatment that she received in the Colored section of Grady Memorial hospital as harsh. She vowed to never have another child unless she was married.

Eighteen years later and happily married, she gave birth to my mother, Valerie, in May of 1963, she had always prayed for a daughter. She was soon with child again, but unfortunately that pregnancy ended with a miscarriage. The doctors advised that at her age another pregnancy would be risky, but her husband, my grandfather William wanted a son. My uncle Alfred entered the world a breach baby in November of 1963.

I lost so much blood, I was hemorrhaging so bad,” my grandmother pained my adolescent years with the blood, horror and torture of her youngest child’s labor, delivery and birth.

My grandmother, grandfather, mother and uncle Alfred all lived in Bowen Homes at the time. My grandmother was really bad, in terms of her health after the birth of Alfred and that is when the family met Ms. Mary who looked out for the newborn.

My grandmother did housekeeping work at the AmericasMart until breast cancer struck in 1992 and ended her career. She worked for a nice old man who put it in his will that my grandmother would continue to receive her wages until the day she died.

Our Grandmother stayed down on bended knees in prayer for our eternal souls. The prayer was that we made it through the hellish flames of the hot oven that was our teenaged years without hurt, harm or danger.

Chapter 3

The Real Cheese

There were about eighty apartment buildings in the apartment complex that we grew up in, although it was years later before I learned exactly how large the complex was. Each building had at least eight units and some had ten and a few even had twelve. We were in the hood on the Westside of Atlanta.

It is rumored that the apartment complex was built upon the site of an ancient Native America burial ground. It was in April of 1989 when my family moved into Allen Temple. I was 8 years old. My older brother had no problems making friends and he already knew some neighborhood boys from when we would visit our grandmother. I wanted to follow my brother around, but he didn’t want a lil’ sister sidekick. Over the years I developed friendships with various girls from around that way, but none of them came close to the brotherly bond my brother shared with his boys. Not until much later.

They were like a fraternity, The Fab; trading baseball cards in the hallways of the apartment building or playing Atari, Nintendo or Sega in my grandmother’s living room, walking up the hill to play basketball at the old Adamsville recreation center, or outside playing football on a stretch of asphalt we called “Dynamite.”

I was the pesky kid sister always following along and bothering them. Growing up my brother was an intelligent and curious kid. He was known for his intellect by the peers he attended school with. A spelling bee champion and he often wrote short science-fiction stories. He was in sixth grade when he got the nickname Cheese. There were about 5 or 6 others who received computer generated nicknames, but Cheese is the only one that lasted a lifetime. It started as “Cocheese”. Some people only know Cheese and don’t even know the real name. A lot of people call me Cheese’s lil’ sister or Lil Cheese so the name did not stop with him.

The Hitman

The summer of 1986, my brother and I spent our summer at Camp Best Friends at Collier Heights tucked away in the southwest corner of Atlanta.

Our next summers were spent at Adamsville Recreation Center, the old Adamsville with no air conditioning. A group of us from Allen Temple would either walk up the hill the Delmar Lane way or decide to walk straight up MLK. This was the old Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, before the library, the skating rink and the gas stations. It was 5 of us in that group, my brother, my little cousin, Ced and his sister and me. Some days we darted across traffic to run to McDonald’s, other times we took our chances with the variety store in the plaza where we could get plenty of candy at low, low prices.

My brother met his best friend Mario, the summer after their third-grade school year, as we attended summer camp at the old Adamsville recreation center. They clicked instantly. Mario received the name Hitman from Cheese. Mario likely received the name Hitman because of the way he was known to finesse the ladies. As a young cat, the Hitman thought he was some type of bully and got into a couple of scraps until he met his match. The bully had his day. An older nigga got at Mario and whooped him good. Mario got flipped like a rag doll a few times as my brother watched from the sidelines. No way would my brother ever let him forget the fight. My brother’s sense of humor and his laugh were both memorable.

That next school year started, and we enrolled in Margaret Fain Elementary. That school year my brother and Mario met up in the same 4th grade classroom. They shared common interest including animals. As young boys they wondered which animal could beat another type of animal.

Most of the kids knew each other because a lot of the kids had attended the school since kindergarten. There was a fire at the original site which resulted in the students being bused to another location while renovations and repairs were made at the original site. The site in which the students were relocated to was called Margaret Fain at Chattahoochee.

We experienced racism at the Chattahoochee site. The school building was vandalized, and windows were broken. Our teachers taught us to suspect the white men and boys from across the river in Cobb County. The experiences at Margaret Fain were filled with daily Black History lessons. The true story of who set fire to the original site of Margaret Fain remains a mystery until this day.

Chapter 4

We Had to Fight

This was Atlanta… no real fans or friends on the sidelines cheering for us during the fights. We had no one to fall back on. So of course, we had each other’s backs. Other than that, just some people who wanted to see a good fight between some girls in the hood. So, we fought, and our foes fell, and we had each other to fall back on. With our fists we became a family. Our pom-poms were real pounds. The concrete we fought on cemented the deals.

For us failure was not an option, we had to fight. We were products of failed teenaged pregnancy tests. Our parents taught us to fight as they learned how not to love each other. Our broken families were never fixed. We broke even out of heartache as we met one another. Not only did we fight but we had no alternative but to win.

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