"I Am" Vinnie

root - Posted on 10 October 2009

by Mission Resistors

An Oakland mourning, grayish clouds like the courthouse building.

Looked like a skyscaper to me… As the people walked down the street, they looked scary to me like the building. As I went into the building with my parents to see the judge for his judgment, he sent me to another foster home.

I must have stayed there about 3 weeks before I ran away again. They found me on the streets in the Fillmore with the prostitutes, the pimps and the players of the street life. Everybody used to hang out at Chicken A-Go-Go on Fillmore Street. It was a restaurant for the prostitutes. The prostitutes would give me a dollar to go to school—-for lunch money. They would say, “You make sure you go to school, cuz if you don’t, I’m gonna whip your ass just like your mama. I’m not givin’ away my money for nothing."

They were wearing short mini skirts with high heels. They swayed from side-to-side. I used to sneak into the Fillmore theater all the time, like when James Brown came to town. I’d seen him for free—-and Otis Redding and Sam Cooke. I liked the song, “Please Please Please.” I liked the way he sang it and the way he danced. Sam Cooke would make the women jump up, holler and scream. Back in those days, it was a big dance floor—-everybody would be dancing.

Then I got arrested by a truant officer. I went to Juvenile Hall, then back to court. I then went to a boarding school named Frego Ranch School in San Andreas, California. I tried to run away from there, but instead, got lost and scared. I stayed 6 months at the ranch and later, went back home. I was about 13 years old. I was going to a Jr. High School named Benjamin Franklin for a minute. I would never go to my class and ended up running away from home again. This time, they sent me to Los Angeles to a foster family’s house. I didn’t know anything about LA.

The first day, I arrived at their house, they took us to Disneyland and I was gone again. I ran away... I met a white man going back to S.F. He gave me a ride and dropped me off at the old Greyhound bus station on 7th and Market Street, but the police found me sleeping in the doorway there.

I ended up going back to Juvenile Hall and back to court, when the judge asked me, “What should I do with you?” I answered, “Why don’t you let me live with my real parents?”

He granted it.


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