My Preparation To Life From the Ghettos of Chicago!
by Brian K. Hill
(San Leandro, CA USA)
Thinking about how thankful I am today in my life
To all who reads this little story.
This is part of the reason I am having a Happy Thanksgiving.
This is what I am thankful for! I used my copy of Memorygrabber as an outline to jar my memory of some of the events of my first 20 years of my manhood as a friend, an adult, husband, parent, lover of GOD, my Church and the communities in which I learned so much from. We are still together and in our continuing 32 1/2 year.
It is outlined by Year Age Happening 1958 0 I was born on July 13 at 3201 Franklin Blvd Chicago, Illinois 60653. 1959 (1 year old) We lived in this apartment for another four years. 1960 2 years old: Rosemarie my sister was born this year.1961 3 years old: The family was attending the Monroe Street Church of Christ - Robert M. Woods was the Minister. 1962 4 years old: Susie my little sister was born this year.
1963 5 years old I started attending Morse elementary School. My father (Thomas L. Hill) was a member of the Monroe Street Church of Christ. Dad was baptized and was active in the Church and community. Working for United Airlines he fueled up Airplanes to take care of his family. We regularly attended Church every week on Sunday and midweek services. 1964 6 years old: Our family moved to 525 North Sawyer across the street from a Hospital and one block West of Kedzie Avenue. Attending Morse elementary School. We regularly attended Church every week on Sunday and midweek services. 1965 7 years old: We regularly attended Church every week on Sunday and midweek services. 1966 8 years old: We regularly attended Church every week on Sunday and midweek services.1967 years old: My first dog's name was "Basal." we were great friends.
I taught him to jump fences. He was excellent I graduated from Morse Elementary. Basal died not long after I had grown to love him. Basal was hit by a Wonder Bread truck I recall. I cried for hours upon hours to this day my heart breaks for my first love "Basal". It was around this year learned that I was interested in God, The Bible, Christianity and Baptism.
I was taught about the Bible being the standard by which you live your life and I began to make the decisions that this would be the foundational teachings about my faith, Jesus, Heaven and Hell. I really believed that I did not want to go to Hell.
I recall I was baptized this year because I wanted the grape juice and the crackers in the tray that passed by every Sunday and since my brothers were taking it, I wanted to as well. We regularly attended Church every week on Sunday and midweek services. 1968 10 years old: My grandmother, (Alma Boulevard-Bell) lived with our family. A very famous Black leader in my formative years came into my attention; it was Martin Luther King Jr. He was the civil rights leader that impacted thousands of people to stand up for non violence in America. He was later assassinated in April of this year at 39 years old. I saw the fire from the riots on Madison Avenue. Nevertheless, we regularly attended Church every week on Sunday and midweek services.
1969 11 years old: Attending Morton Upper Grade Center. This was the year of deciding who I would not want to become in my life. I learned that the urban community that I lived in really influenced me. Gangs were all around me and I me. I learned what fear was and I was afraid. Gangs were everywhere. I did not know how to respond to the sheer number of "Mad black Souls" and the "Vice Lords".
1970 12 years old: Attending Morton Upper Grade Center. Mother and father separated. I realized I could sing and I was leading song service at Church.
1971 13 years old: Attending Morton Upper Grade Center. I graduated from Morton Upper Grade Center on the west side of Chicago. Then we moved to Lake and Damon Avenue into the projects.
1972 14 years old: I entered attending Orr High school for my freshman year of high school.
During the summer our family moved to the south side of Chicago, Illinois. Our address became 3747 South Giles. We moved into the house of the founding member of the mother’s side of our family her name was Fannie Linear Davis. She must’ve been in her 60s or 70s. Upon our arrival. We moved in and we placed our Church membership at the 39th Street Church of Christ. We regularly attended Church on Sunday and midweek services. I was leading songs and sporadically started to become disinterested in Church and more interested in girls, bodybuilding and singing. I rebelled against my mom and wanted to dress and wear my hair braided a lot and other things that teenagers do.
15 years old: Attended Dunbar Vocational High school on the south side of Chicago, 3000 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. I entered in the music program which consisted of jazz, concert and marching band. I continue to go to Church. 1974
16 years old: Attended Dunbar Vocational High school. I started the singing group "Guys of Paradise" (Marvin, Jasper and myself) I started body building more regularly this year at the YMCA on the south side of Chicago. 1975
17 years old: Attended Dunbar Vocational High school. I befriended guys named Dan Paterson and Marvin Jones and I started roller skating this year, a lot. Famous R&B singing group that was up and coming.
I became very interested in Francine Johnson whose family knew the Chi-Lites and I think my heart burned for her a lot. I wanted to be with her as much as I could, so I spent a lot of time at her house from almost beautiful as well.
I really liked her brother Frank Johnson. He was called Iggie for short. He made me laugh once that I recall, he put a pot over his face and looked at me and asked when the smoke some pot and we just laughed so hard. I still remember that today. 1976
18 years old: Attended Dunbar Vocational High school. I graduated from Dunbar, but before I left for the military. I would preach at church. I recall this one sermon I preached. I remember saying ... "I know him whom I have believed and I am persuaded that he is able"... 2 Tim 1:12-18. That would become the mantra for my life at 18 years old. This would be the conviction by which I would build my faith in God.
I went to College at Southwestern Christian College Aug 26, 1976; I met Feliz Perocier (My wife to be in 9 months) the first day of school. I stayed in school the first semester. I was also interested in Valerie Sanky. After a major relational blunder at a party with Valerie, I decided to look to Feliz and spend time with her. I was leading songs and sporadically started to become disinterested in Church.
After starting to attend South Western Christian College, I started another Singing Group called the ..."Eternal Bliss of Pure Harmony".... We enjoyed a bit of campus success. After the last musical Opportunity. My brother was involved in a petty crime and this course of events and what ensued created the activity that lead me to Feliz and I getting together and later deciding to get married. 1977
19 years old: I asked Feliz to marry me, for I left Terrell Texas, and I realize I would need to obtain a job in order to provide for her and I.
Jan 11, I entered the Armed Services and my first station was Ft. Bragg South Carolina for basic training. Transferred to Ft. Lee Virginia for Advanced Individual Training March through May. I chose to be an Administrative Assistant (76 - Y10) Supply Clerk. I flew to California to marry Feliz Perocier May 21st, 1977. Feliz was 17 years old and we had to get permission from her parents to get married. We moved into our first apartment in a trailer park. I moved from Ft. Lee Virginia to Ft. Polk Louisiana and we settled off base in to Leesville. Our first rent was $100.00 per month and our first car was an Ambassador Station Wagon. I made $6500.00 that year. We moved to a one bedroom trailer and the rent $62.00 per month. 1978
20 years old: I was in the army for 14 months. I did not like the authority of the military and following orders and the like. I remember saying to myself, I have got to get out of this place but I cannot do it with violence. I must leave the army with an honorable discharge.
After reading and talking to different soldiers and my superiors, into having to work out that I got out of the military with honorable discharge March 23rd 1978. Simone was born Oct 15th this year and I was proud and scared at the same time. Feliz and I decided that Chicago was not the place we were going to raise our family.
I decided that education was the only way I was going to improve our life and raise my ability to provide for them. I started attending Kennedy King College using the GI Bill.
There is more but that will be for my book entitled, “Are We There Yet?”
To be continued,
Brian k. Hill