Back In The Day - Tales from the Hood


time to join pt.1

"It was the year of 1968 and it was now my time to get involved, to join a cause...right or wrong it was something i was ready to do and felt i needed something to believe in and follow to the end, whatever that might be"

I was first introduced to the Homeboy/Gangster lifestyle through my big sister's boyfriend.
He took me on occasion down to his neighborhood over in The Aves to see some of his buddys.

I started to become fascinated by the way they carried themselves and spoke in a slang i never heard before. I'm guessing its probably like some of the kids today and now they see it as, feeling the same way i did.

My first impression? I thought these guys were pretty tough and pretty cool. They were clean sharp dressers too, and so i was really impressed and really very impressionable.
Their cars were nice rides and some were dropped real low for cruising and i just liked how they looked, even to this day i really dig the Lowrider. (O G style) Today alot are just tricked out lifted (over the top) rides with all the bells and whisles and not like old school OG rides i remember. And so, I saw how they would sit real low in their cars when cruising even if their car wasn't low, they be lowriding either way.

Well eventually i was hit up (approached) by a guy from my own area who was looking for recruits to join and re-start the neighborhood gang which had been dead (dormant) for a few years due to all the previous homeboys growing old, having kids, shacking up or getting married, maybe in Prison or just Dead.
They were a whole different breed, a different generation from another time, even before my time.
When street life and gangs had strict codes to follow and respect was the norm. You see... If you were in a fight and you knocked the guy down , you let him get up then continue and it would be a one on one thing... fist to cuffs! There was a fairness to proving your manhood by being this way, sure there were the lesser "dirty" fighters who would kick you when your down. They knew they would lose in a fair fight! That didn't prove anything... like the "cowards" that exsist today that shoot from a distance or passing car into any crowd of innocent people and children. This respect of street code is something so long gone and unheard of these days! moving on...
So we were going to pick up the torch in this hood of ours and continue on where it left off. This is very common, even to this day and some just turn into generic splinter cells.

So now this guy who is asking me if i would be interested went by the name of skeeter. I only met him once or twice before and he had told me that he and a few other guys planned to start it up again but they were only 4 guys. I told him NO, i wasn't really interested.

The next time i saw him he came at me from a different angle and asked me how long i lived in this neighborhood? All my life i said. Then he asked me why wouldn't i want to be a part of it, and be a member of this proud neighborhood and "represent it".
He then explained how we would take care of each other's back and if there was ever ANY problem , i would have backup there for me etc. and vise-versa. I never really thought about it like that but it made sense...

So as he kept talking i finally thought to myself, yeah why not! This is where i'm from and i lived here. It was my neighborhood.
So what he did was fire me up! and it made sense to me (a 14 year old) to be a part of something new (revived) on the ground level and to see where it took me. It was an opportunity for me to have a say from the start too.
The following week i met the other guys who were all older than me and bigger too.

They explained what the routine was about becoming a gang member and that i also had some options. One was to just drop and cover myself the best i could, the other was to still get beat down but to stand and fight as best as i could. Those were my options. The next day we met and went to one guy's house, to the back yard area where it was secluded and also now getting dark.

As instructed I now began to take everything out of my pockets and placed my shirt nearby and then stood there in the center. I was now asked to take an oath as they were now going to "jump me in", I did. Each one took a firm stand around me as i prepared myself. The next move would be when they were ready to make their move. I looked at each of them and waited for the fury of blows...


time to join pt.2

mi placa - my tag

My first and only time of becoming a Gang Member was at 14. When i stopped being one i was 21 almost 22. I had my first real test of proving myself the night i was to join. Now standing in the middle of 4 members, i was to be #5.

I waited for the first blows to hit, and that would follow with a flurry of strikes but waiting for the very first one seemed to take forever! Minutes pasted while i waited, still making eye contact with each one of my attackers and they in return were checking me out, to see how i handled the pressure (if i were to crack or quit) but i didn't flinch or show any signs of weakness. If by chance i had, i would have failed and then given the boot (alot of them!).

They knew what to look for and were impressed (apparently) with me. The next movement from them was when they suddenly broke up and then patted me on the back with approval saying i was now IN. I had been "WALKED-IN" and this was something that didn't happen too often if ever! I later used this same method on new to be members (as a test) and many failed, got there ass kicked good and walked away. (barely) I did "Jump-In" my share of new members or keep time as others did it. The Time would be according to how many were going to be involved etc. and tried not to "over do it" and really hurt the guy too much unless he showed weakness and curled up instead of fighting up right or maybe some just didn't like the guy and wanted to beat him down harder. It happened too.

I had the privilege of also "recruiting" and watching our little Gang grow. Some of the guys brought others in from the out-side or from other gangs because they knew we were pretty tough and had a rep. for standing our ground against the other bigger gangs. Myself, I didn't like that idea of outsiders but it wasn't my place to say, we wanted numbers! I was not a leader, only one of the first. As for a leader? The concept was not to have one but rather to have many stronger older members who could help and guild the younger ones and also make important decisions. It worked for the most part but not always. I only trusted a few close Homies and they were the ones who got me in. Some other older ones had their own agenda and would use the younger to do their dirty work. These were the bully types. One i know didn't like me at all cause i wouldn't go along with it.

I was young but i did hang with the older Homies and i saw their maturity and respected that. Some of the others weren't mature and couldn't handle their liquor and caused many conflicts with other rival gangs while over in THEIR neighborhood. That led to many gang-fights during the Summer months. Some were resolved some were not. When being around the older guys (18-20s) we party and always had a good time, no one was a loud-mouth or trouble maker and they had wheels to go places. At times we ran across other rivals and words were always exchanged leading to a good old gang fight! We wore our wounds proud, as a badge of honor and of having the balls... to win or even lose. And if so? There would always be another day!

I didn't mind as long as i was with strong back-up. I had seen a few run away on occasion and they were dealt with and no longer a member. Fighting along side with the older guys was fun and thrilling just when we were out-numbered (which was often) WE KICKED ASS! and that was satisfying to me, that we actually won! The guys now knew i was dependable and always willing to be there when called on.

I saw alot of new gang members join but we still were really considered small (about 35 -50) yet we sure were becoming known.
Now hardly anyone had a gun (with exception) so everything was done Old School, and it was real! That separated the boys from the girls, so to speak. Today i don't know this generation here in the neighborhood but i know everyone everywhere has guns up the ying-yang! Its not the same anymore, the rules have been thrown out the window. New Game - New Rules...and its not good!!

Its interesting how this newer generation came from most of my homies who i ran with. They're long gone now, one way or the other but their offspring has continued on....carrying that TORCH. For what purpose? I really don't know anymore, I don't really care! I guess i'm just to old to remember what the reason is now. It was something about Pride...but its been displaced, misplaced and replaced!

I didn't owned any property in the hood but i sure thought i did! I realize that this whole territorial thing crosses all boundries and lines in this human race thing. But now we label it as "Being in MY Space" kinda thinking, no matter where you go!

Hey, I catch myself at times then realize its NOT my space, but just give me a little elbow room and i'll be fine. Gangs will always fight and kill for their territory regardless if it belongs to them or not. These days territory is a whole different ballgame and i won't even go there!



Youngster With a Death Wish

The vato was down for anything, ready for whatever came his way. This vato definitely carried his attitude in his back pocket but he was a cool vato too...or at least he thought so. I remember he was just a little too hard and too cold at times. The youngster had a lot to learn in life, a lot of it would be ol' school hard knocks kinda stuff but later... it would get a little easier. It was really all up to him, or should i really
If i only knew then what i know now! It never works that way!
Anyway, you can read on about what got me here (in a campo) and how bad it really could have been or turned out if not stopped in time! I can say it would have been basically a "Columbine" type situation but with fire bombs (the cocktails) added to it! wAY T0o CraZy!

This is what i'm talking bout, this is the way it went down in a quick word... read on.

One day a homeboy and myself decided to go to Irving Jr. High School, to see the fine babydolls there.
We were met by a group of guys that were on the other side of the fence, inside the school yard.

They thought they were bad and started calling out their gang name etc. so we did the same and they started to rank us. We actually called them out to fight. All them and two of us. Something was wrong with us, we must have been high or something, probably sniffing that "clear-clear" (paint).

They wouldn't come out so we left to come and get our guys to go kick some ass!
We never made it....
On the way back (walking) we saw a car that showed signs of already being stolen and we were going to re-steal it from whoever did steal it.

While investigating it from the inside to see what it would take to start it, a police car drove by and noticed us. We tried to duck down but it was too late.....and off we went to jail !

Two weeks later, we planned to go back to that school. This time it would be 11 or 12 of us and we were armed!
I myself had a sawed off .22 semi-auto rifle only 14" long down my baggy kakies and then there were these nasty little things called "cocktails" or Firebombs, 4-six paks of them. It WAS gonna get real NASTY!!!

If not for a 3-wheel trike "meter-maid" passing by and noticing something wrong going on and calling for back-up....

For the charges of "Preparing for Gang War and Possession of a sawed off firearm, i was given 6 months in a detention camp. Hey...Why even bother?? know what i mean?
It was a piece of cake, even fun!! (now whats wrong with this picture?)

(me & a local homie in camp scott)
The latest hits on the radio were: sitting in the park, hey there lonely girl,other oldies,Elies coming, my favorite; ONE is the loniest number and Spinning Wheel, Chicago-Sat. in the park,etc. ALL GOOD TUNES!

So , In retrospect.........

I believe i would still be in prison to this very day! If not for this? ...then for something else!!

I believe that.


A Cold Cell

Waiting i sit. Waiting for the word, Sitting in a cold hard cell. We have alot in comon i think while trying to fight off the moment,the dam misery and uncertainty!
Waiting to get kicked...either to another level or out the doors but i'm never really sure how it will play out. Thats ok i tell myself, i gots time! Then i remind fool! Yeah, being a minor has its perks but soon that time will be long gone and all will change, the question i ask myself.. will I ? Am i destined for this life? Maybe so? Maybe thats just the way it is right? After all thats how it is with my homies so why should it be any different with me?
Waiting i sit, waiting for the word... The word that only i can really answer.

Life can really suck if your not keeping yourself in check! Know what i mean...


Buckle up, its soon gonna be one bumpy ride!

A typical night, being chased by the cops either on foot or in a G'ride. Hey, i needed wheels to cruise around in. There have been too many times where i was beat down one way or another...then booked, even hit the local news on occasion.
Oh the bittersweet memories! I don't miss'em at all! I'm glad its all behind me and i'm still around to even write about them. Why i'm not dead with the rest of them or locked up to this day only God knows cause my life was spared way too many times by Him to even count!!
Funny, the same one who saved my azz those many times was the one i used to cuss out when i felt like it. So what!, i would say. (what a fool!)
I finally did learn to appreciate God's love and care for me! So cool...

Later on down the road this would be my own ride to be cruising.
I bought it for $300 and slowly restored it myself... yup, that kept me out of trouble! hehe