Guests to Family..A Part of my Childhood


First please excuse the not so good photo of my childhood home. An old family friend snapped this photo a few years ago. When I was younger my mom looked out for many people she came across because they also looked out for her. My mom said, “Always give what you can, when you can. One day you’ll need help and when you ask for it, you’ll receive it.” We opened our home up to quite a few people over the years. The first was a lady in her 30’s who watched my brothers and I as my mom commuted two hours from work and home daily. She became close to my mom while we were homeless. I remember she was small and smoked those camel cigarettes and saved the little slip that came with them so she could earn herself a free pack. Once she cooked me French Fries and introduced the ketchup sauce into my life. For those who are unaware of what Ketchup sauce is it is simply mayo and ketchup mixed together. That’s all I recall of her.

The next person who lived with us was my mother’s youngest brother. He stayed with us for a few years. He was a diabetic and didn’t leave the house much. He used to work as a tool and dye machinist until he was in a dreadful car accident that gave him his diabetic state. He was an artist at heart. I recall him sketching my dog and always taking photographs. He was often grumpy though. He moved back east and actually today is his birthday, Happy Birthday Uncle Andrew.

Our next guest was some my step-fathers childhood best friend and his wife. They visited us often. I loved his wife she always played cards with me. I spent the summer with them up north. That was my first airplane ride ever! It was short but I sat right by the cockpit with another kid. He offered me gum and told me to order a drink before we took off. I did and saw the cup tilt, I thought it was the coolest thing in the world besides seeing everyone look like ants down below. We stayed by a lake where we were invited to ride a speed boat. I call her my Aunt, she took me to work where I received free ice cream and quarters from the owner to play the arcade game so I wouldn’t be completely bored.

Our next guest was my mom’s 18 year old co-worker. My mom worked at a gas station often I would go to work with her on the weekends and when I was out of school to help her out around the store. The managers didn’t mind at all. This young lady was kicked out of her house because she was pregnant so my mom opened her home to her and her at the time boyfriend. I love both of them dearly. Her and I bonded quite well. I remember visiting her house before she was pregnant with her son and she did my hair. We ate some good food and watched movies. I will always consider her my sister. I remember holding her son the day after he was born. She ended up moving and improving her life tremendously and I couldn’t be happier for her. She will always be my sister. I’ve had a few more after this but once we relocated these guests had died down. It was my turn to be a guest.

All these guests we have accumulated over the years have ended up being family.  My mom didn’t have to open her home to anyone. Especially since we lived in a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom mobile home. I often gave up my bedroom or had these guests stay in my room. I’ve met my mother’s side of the family once and that was on some unfortunate circumstances. Since then I’ve seen my grandfather once. These guests I’ve had I know better than my own family. Your family is what you want it to be, however, you shouldn’t turn your back on your relatives.

“There is no such thing as a “broken family.” Family is family, and is not determined by marriage certificates, divorce papers, and adoption documents. Families are made in the heart. The only time family becomes null is when those ties in the heart are cut. If you cut those ties, those people are not your family. If you make those ties, those people are your family. And if you hate those ties, those people will still be your family because whatever you hate will always be with you.”

— C. JoyBell C.


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