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Authors: Gregrhi Arawn Love

Tags: #Memoir, #There Is An Urgency

9780982307403

There Is An Urgency

A Memoir

Gregrhi Love

Cwn Annwn Publishing

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

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Copyright © 2008 by Gregrhi Arawn Love

Cover design © 2008 by Jay Leo Phillips

Back Cover photo © 2008 by Jude Ferrara

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be

reproduced in any form or by any electronic or

mechanical means, or the facilitation thereof,

including information storage and retrieval

systems, without permission in writing from the

publisher, except by a reviewer, who may quote

brief passages in a review. Any member of

educational institutions wishing to photocopy part

of the work for classroom use should send

inquiries to [email protected]

The names and details concerning some

individuals have been changed.

Printed in the United States of America

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication

Data is available.

ISBN-13: 978-0-9823074-0-3

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Dedication

I would like to dedicate this book to all of my family and

friends, near and far: to my mother Marie Love for her

unconditional love and support, my father James Love who

taught me how to be a man, to my sisters and brothers for

their support, encouragement and infinitely distracting good

times, to Karen Jones for her love, patience and support

throughout the writing of this book, and finally to Charles

Patrick for helping keep me sane all these years in

Tennessee.

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Acknowledgments

I need to thank all my family and friends who

donated money, time, and talent to make this

book possible. I need to acknowledge my partners

in Write Club, especially Chris Driver for his

tireless proofreading and editing. Thanks to

Tracy Cabanis for making me seek and find the

hope that shaped this book into what it is. I would

also like to acknowledge the unwavering support

and encouragement of my family, friends,

colleagues and students.

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Preface
I lie a lot. I lie about my name, my family, my

past and who I am. I lie to protect myself from

my emotions and my weaknesses. I lie to hide the

shame that keeps me from the normal life that I

crave so desperately. Now anxiety makes me feel

as if I may die at any time, and I must get the

truth out before it destroys me.

I was thirty before I would admit to any of these

things ever happening. I had always denied that

there was any sort of sexual abuse and had always

downplayed the severity of the physical abuse that

I would admit to. Denial served me well

throughout the years of in and outpatient

psychiatric care.

In the winter of 2003, the important relationships

in my life seemed destined to fail without some

sort of intervention. Those invaluable

relationships with friends and family kept me

tethered to this fragile life. In a personally

shocking moment of honesty, I sat my mother

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down at her kitchen table and detailed far too

many experiences that she probably would have

been happy not to know. However, unlike many

people, I was able to choose my family. So, while

I opened myself up to more questions than I

might have felt comfortable answering, there was

a sacred safety and compassion at that table.

Moreover I knew, without question, that there

would be no judgment.

There is no freedom or escape from the horrors

of my early life. Only now there is an urgency to

share these experiences and make others aware

that people like me walk among us every day.

The constant struggles to relate and assimilate,

the social phobias and anxiety are all the result of

situations I did not instigate and could never have

prevented. My personality and frame of reference

are deeply rooted in circumstances that should

have killed me. In the past I have often wished

they had.

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Most of the people with whom I take issue in this

writing are dead or on their way there. The

people that are still alive don’t know or wouldn’t

believe that I am. In this writing certain names

and identifying characteristics have been changed

to protect the identities of children and their

families. The names of most the adults have not

been changed. So now, I must start at the

beginning.

On Saturday, November 10, 1973, I was born to

Debbie, a twenty-three-year-old prostitute and

drug addict. My biological father, Howard, was a

twenty-four-year-old addict and Vietnam vet. He

says he was in and out of my life as a child, but

court records show that he was consistently in and

out of prison during my childhood. With Howard

in prison, the only father figure I remember as a

child was Robert, whom I alternately called

Bobby and Dad, depending on his mood. He was

Debbie’s pimp, primary drug supplier, and the

father of two of her children.

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My first known address was 86 Pequonnock

Street in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Like

everywhere I lived during those years, it is within

walking distance of downtown Bridgeport.

Childhood amnesia has wiped out any memory of

86 Pequonnock. From recently obtained medical

records, I know that I fractured my skull in the

apartment when I was nine months old. Debbie

reportedly sat me on the toilet, and I fell off -

hitting my head on the bowl - or so was her story

according to hospital records. It was two days

before she took me to the hospital. The records

report substantial suspicion of child abuse and

neglect. The Department of Children’s Services

became an active part of my life in 1974.

The address I remember most clearly was

Building 38, Apartment 304 in Bridgeport’s

Father Panik Village. At the time, Father Panik

Village was the second largest housing project in

the Northeast and the sixth largest in the country

- a desolate war zone paved building to building

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with concrete. When I lived there, the Village had

a total of 1,063 tiny apartments within 44

buildings on 40-acres on the east side of

Bridgeport. Through no fault of my own, the

Village began to fall into disrepair in the 1970s. I

attended school directly across the street from the

Village with all of the other project kids. School

and especially its library were my sanctuary on

the days I attended.

Debbie died a slow and painful death as a result

of a lifetime of drug addiction and a desperately

hard lifestyle. She was in her late forties when she

finally died, nearly five years after I last saw her.

When I found her she was in the same hospital I

was born in and the same hospital where I had

spent a lot of time when I was her child. As she

lay there in her bed emaciated and pale, I felt no

connection, no sadness, and, surprisingly, no

anger. All I wanted were answers to questions

that had robbed me of sleep and peace for years

and years. All I got were the incoherent

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ramblings of a drug fiend. I wanted to find

Bobby. I was an adult now, and I had something

for him, but I also wanted to find Howard. In the

end, I found them both. Strangely, I decided to

leave Bobby alone.

I met my biological father in August of 1995.

Through prison and military records, I was able

to get his phone number, and I called him cold

one morning. Our only meeting took place

shortly after that in another public housing

facility in Bridgeport. I met him at his mother’s

apartment and couldn’t get away fast enough.

Already an accomplished cook, I occupied my

time critiquing the food they served me. When I

finally left, I said I’d be back. The next morning, I

drove 1,000 miles to middle Tennessee. I don’t

think much of or about Howard. I never knew

him. There was a curiosity of knowing where I

came from. He didn’t know where I had been

and didn’t seem to care much. The few hours we

spent together gave me everything I ever wanted

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to know and filled the place in me where his

memory should have been.

To my deep regret and ultimate sadness, Bobby

W. is the only father that I knew as a child.

Without question or argument, Bobby was the

most evil creature I have ever known. Now, I am

forced to come to terms with the deep and

irreproachable impact life with Bobby has had on

who I am, what I have become, and what I do on

a daily and routine basis.

In March of 1980, the Connecticut Department

of Social Services placed me in my first foster

home under protective custody. While the series

of events that transpired in each foster placement

were horrifying in their own right, nothing ever

compared to the daily near-death experiences I

was allowed to survive while living with Bobby

and Debbie. My older brother Matthew, born

November 11, 1972, toured the foster care system

along with me (and one time without me), but

was always only along for the ride. His

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experiences with Bobby, for some inexplicable

reason, were the polar opposite to my own. Years

later it would be conjectured that Matthew’s own

path in life and countless prison sentences were

due in large part to the psychological neglect that

professionals say he
must
have felt during the years

spent living with Bobby and Debbie. When I’ve

asked him, all he ever says is that he likes to get

high and that’s what gets him in trouble. Alcohol

and drugs, he says, are the catalysts for his

criminal behavior. He has no negative feelings

toward Bobby but has often spoken ill of Debbie.

Matthew blames Debbie and me for taking

Bobby from him.

Bobby and Debbie had two children together, the

oldest, Ruby, briefly accompanied Matthew and

me to my first foster home. She was promptly

given back to her father as he was deemed fit to

keep her since Debbie took the fall for all the

abuse. The younger, commonly known as L.B.,

short for “Little Bobby”, is by all accounts his

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father’s son. I have never met him, seen or spoken

to him, except for the picture I was given by a

social worker when he was born. I met Ruby in

1995, but only caused her more trouble than she

could stand. I only saw her twice before she

disappeared. At the time, she was living with her

father in Stratford, Connecticut. I had sat outside

of their place in my old beat up car and watched

Bobby come and go for days at a time. I knew

what I wanted to do, and I knew how to do it. I

just needed some help. At the time, Matthew was

fresh out of prison, and I needed a gun, not to

kill, just to get in the door. After months of

reconnaissance, I got the call that I needed.

“Two Glocks, no bodies, a hundred bucks,” said

a voice on the phone.

We quickly arranged a time and a place to meet.

At that moment, I knew my life was over. There

could be no turning back. As I rested the receiver

into the cradle, I pulled the phone back to my

ear.

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“Matt?”

“What?”

“I’m not coming. Don’t ever call me again,” the

phone rocked as it settled into the cradle. I stood

still, frozen in the moment.

There was nothing left for me there. I had to get

out and break free. Leaving was the only option.

At nearly the same time, I got a call from a friend

living in Tennessee. He needed some help, and I

needed a break. I went to his small college town

and discovered the perfect hiding place. Shortly

after my visit, I hastily applied to the university

and decided that if I were accepted, I would move

and leave this life behind. Four months after my

visit I packed my car and drove all night to my

new home and my new life. The life I have

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