YVONNE CECELIA MACK [YVE]

  1967 -
  City of Birth:
NYC
 
 

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YVONNE's Story > Categories > My Childhood

"Growing Up" 

 

Date Range: 07/01/1969 To 1986   Comments: 1   Views: 12,908
Attachments: No
 

"Don't call me Mommy". I remember hearing that like it was yesterday. That's what my Mother used to always tell me and my sister. I guess it was because she was so young.  (pregnant with me at 14) She didn't want people(especially men) to know that she had children. At the time my sister  thought it was fun to call her by her name so it really didn't bother her at the time. It always bothered me but I'd just play along and not complain. God forbid I did that. To many people my Mother was the most beautiful , funny, drop dead gorgeous black woman that ever graced the streets of Harlem. And you know what? She was. She was one of those high yellow, longhaired, funny, ass-kicking black chicks that men lost their minds over.   When she walked into a room, she brought the sun with her. Anyone around always stopped and stared. People saw her as the life of the party. But she had another side that I knew all too well. I knew her. yes, even as  a young child, I knew her. As a child I always knew to stay away from her. It was just automatic. My mother was a teen when she had me so she was still living at home,  But my Grandmother did all the raising. I've always been told that I was an "old soul" or that I had "been here before". I'd always seemed much older than my years, not by my looks but with my intelligence, even as a child. I believe that's why my mother always hated me. Because I knew her. She just was never able to pull the wool over my eyes. Growing up in Ma's (My Grandmother) house was always eventful. There wa always something going on. One of my fondest memories was of all my aunts and cousins coming over during those Saturday and Sunday dinners. Oh man I can smell that food right now! My Aunt's Queen, Mae, Loucille, Bobbi, Lois, Mary, Barbarajean, Maryann would come over and get he collards ready, bake the mac and cheese, fry fish, chicken, cook string beans, sweet corn, chitterlings, ham, gumbo, rice, black eye peas, pinto beans , oh God there was so much food. All my cousins would come over with their moms and we would act a fool ecause we knew the adults would be druuuuunk and not really paying attention to us. But we still had to be careful because back then your neighbors watched out you as if you were theirs as well. If you got caught doing or saying something out of line, you might as well started crying because you damn sure was going to get it from the neighbor and then again from your parents and any other relative that heard about it. Bringing shame on your family was the absolute worst you could ever do! Jaws would literally drop if you did something like that. The embarrassment was enough to cause you to drop dead. I always had fun when my cousins were over , especially Jacques. He was my 1st cousin but more like my brother. His mother Lois was my favorite Aunt. Growing up I confided so many things to her. She always gave me the best advice. I never could go to my Mother like that. I was so afraid of her. My Mother was a master manipulator. I think I knew that as a child. Not the word but the function of a person like that. I had a good teacher i guess. I used to watch her every move. She could've gotten a job with the CIA. I'm telling you she could have. She had the ultimate gift of gab, the un-canny way of telling you exactly what you NEEDED to hear, and could wrap the most hardened criminal right around her pinky. When ever people were around she'd become her alternate, I call her "Mattie", when she and I were alone, she was "Hattie", her real self. I remember once when we were supposed to be taking pictures and she was standing next to me holding my hand, no one could see it but she had a smile on her face all the while squeezing the shit out of my hand damn near breaking my bones. I had to be about 8 or 9. She often did mean things like that. I would try my best not to show any emotions when she'd do things like that. That would anger herrrrrrrrrr. I felt , even as a child that she was somehow getting satisfaction by seeing me act out when she did things. Other people would see me as an unruly child while she'd sit there looking all innocent acting like she don't know why i'm pulling away from her and crying. She NEVER did those things to my sister. I Thank God for that. My Mother always moved out of my Grandmothers house to live with another "friend". One of those "friend's" was a man named "Shakey". He lived right on 125th street in Harlem in a 4th floor walk up. He was the sweetest old man on the planet Earth. He really took care of me and my sister when my Mother wasn't around. There were times when we wouldn't see her for days and he'd go looking for her. He fed us, bathed us , saved me from many ass-whoopings at the hands of my Mother and walked us to school. He told us so many stories at bedtime. I've never had chicken and dumplins like his even to this day. There were times when he'd take us out of the city and we'd take long rides upstate NY to go hunting with his son and friends. Now that was a getaway! I learned how to shoot a gun, how to start camp fires and just be a child. My Mother would be there, but she was a totally different person when others were around. I'd stay away and walk along the waters edge on my own little journeys acting like I was some sort of treasure hunter looking for a genie in a bottle. It was also the first time I played with white kids. I had never seen black people and white people interact like that before. It was like another world. There were no color lines. Everybody had a name and was introduced just as that, "my friend so-and-so". I think that was the first time I realized I didn't belong in my time. I felt out of place in NYC. Out of place in 1975. Yes at 8, I was out of my time. Whenever we came back to the city I would try my best to think of ways to get my Mother to love me. I'd clean up, I'd do my hair as well as my sisters' hair, I'd tell her she was pretty , only to get the meanest look from her. I remember one time in particular when she was having a card party and someone came to the door saying that there was a fight downstairs, well everybody at the table got up and ran out the door and straight down the steps. I thought, here's my opportunity to please my Mother. I began straightening up the chairs, throwing away the empty beer cans, wiping up spills and wiping down the table. I remember saying to myself that "now she'll like me". I ran back in my room and layed down next to my sister Crissy and waited for her to return. I heard her and her friends coming back upstairs. My heart began pounding! I couldn't keep myself from smiling! All of a sudden my room door flew open and my Mother flicked on the light! She was standing there looking mean as hell asking me to "get the fu** up"! I was shocked and wondering what he hell went wrong. She grabbed me by my hair and dragged me into the kitchen where all her friends stood with angry faces. She asked me one question. "Did you come in here and clean the sugar off the table"? I said yes and was immediately slapped! She wanted to know where I had put the "sugar". I said in the sink. Two of her mean looking friends bolted for the kitchen sink and said "it's gone", "all gone down the fu**ing drain"! I think they played slap-around-the-rosy with me for about 10 minutes. Apparently I had wiped up their cocaine. You would think a Mother would be terrified that her child might have licked some of the "sugar" and overdosed, not mine. The next day my eyes were swollen shut.  I remember looking in the mirror over and over wondering how come my eyes looked so chinky. I had to find another way to get her to at least like me.



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Member Since
Jan 2008
Art Duvall said:
posted on Nov 29, 2008
Experiences

I hear about these kind of things quite often, too often, but it's different to hear someone who can express it this way.