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Illustrations: Tales from a Teenage Wasteland- The Junkie's House
Posted by Meranda_Jade on Thursday, November 06, 2003 - 04:05 AM PST

Experiences
I remember a time in my life when my whole existence was in the hands of adult children. The kind who would sell the food stamps for drugs. There were six actual children in all. Living in a flophouse where the adults were far less grown-up than we were, and much more dangerous. We all tried to make our way. We formed brief alliences based on who had the most favor from the adult children, or who was actually holding cash money at the time. Two of us were in high school and middle school. One played dumb (me) while the other sold drugs she stole from the adult children. I would go to my ex-stepfather, begging lunch money, but using it for hairspray and eyeliner, which were more important to me than a good meal at the time. I was the oldest of this tribe of self-sufficient children. I was barely 15 years old. The next oldest was 13, then the next two oldest were 11. There was a six year old girl and a four year old boy. Me, my 13 year old friend and the two 11 year olds would pal around with a cousin who was 12.

The household was this. Two mothers, both strung out on whatever would make them forget their miserable existence, about 8 males sniffing about for whatever they could score whether it was willing flesh or drugs, and the children who had their own agenda. It was every person for themselves. You shared only after you were taken care of, because you couldn't count on one of your buddies sharing with you in a pinch. There was a laundry room with a broken washer and dryer. Everyone kept throwing thier dirty clothes into this pile, maybe hoping they would magically come clean on their own.The only thing that happened was the cats turned this laundry mountain into their litterbox. There was no extra money for a trip to a laundromat, and the adult children weren't interested in clean clothes anyway. So the children took the matter into their own hands. We would pick out our favorite clothes and stash them in various hiding places, otherwise they would get stolen. We washed these clothes in the bathtub, filling the tub about halfway, throwing the clothes in with a bit of laundry detergent that was left over from the time before the washer and dryer broke, then we would get in and stomp the clothes clean with our feet. It was actually pretty fun. Then we'd hang them out on the balcony to dry. This was when most clothing changed hands, as the clothes dried, they were claimed by whoever got to them first, then squirreled away until the next time we did the laundry.

For a while there was food in the house. Stuff gotten from food banks or churches (this was where most of our clothing came from, too.) tubs of generic peanut butter, blocks of "welfare cheese", powdered eggs, spaghetti noodles (no sauce) and a few boxes of crackers. We ate peanut butter and cheese on crackers, plain spaghetti, sometimes with reconstituted powdered eggs mixed in, and washed it down with unsweetened Kool-aid. Eventually, that was gone. By this point, the adult children were firmly in their own little world. I don't think they even noticed they were living in a filthy hole with litter piled 3 feet high in all available space, with no food at all anywhere. Strange, even with the severe lack of food, the pile of dirty dishes never grew smaller. One day some more cousins showed up to crash in this place. There were two bedrooms, so they moved the children into a makeshift room in the garage. I had two spaces. One was the top bunk in the garage, with a shelf that held my things I felt were of no interest to anyone else and could be kept in the open. The other was a storage area under the stairs. There was a normal area, but near the very back was a door. Beyond this door, was a square room, just big enough for a small girl to hide in. I put a sleeping bag in there, and a crate for a table, and took candles back there to read by. I hid my books and things that I did not want to get stolen there.

We would go to the football games every time there was a home game. We would walk to the football field, pay admission (gotten in various ways, don't ask) and wander about under and around the bleachers. We never watched a game. Most of the time we were getting stoned and making out with the hoods under the bleachers. One of us would be assigned to remember what the score was at the end of the game so we could report it to our mothers, in case they cared enough to remember that they were still parents.


Shortly after my mother scraped her wrist raw with a pop tab, I followed suit by climbing onto the roof and twisting a twig from a branch, dug it into my wrist until it began to bleed. I thought vaguely of jumping off the roof, but decided that was silly because I would probably worsen my situation by paralyzing myself, unable to finish the job. I wrapped a bandanna around my wrist to hide the damage. Luckily this was the late 80's and I could say it was a fashion statement.

I had enough one day and when I ran into two girls I didn't really know before classes started at school who said they were ditching, I tagged along. We went to some guy's house, and got stoned while watching soap operas. I went back to the school just as school let out and got on the bus to go home. My friend said, "Where have you been?" Apparantly, everyone knew I had ditched. When I got home, my stepdad was there with my mom, both of them looking worried. I fielded their questions, (which I felt they had a lot of damn nerve asking me, considering how messed up they were.) and went outside. Nobody punished me over the incident. The next day, the school counselor dragged me out of class, asking me how I felt about... life. Looking pointedly at the bandanna on my wrist. I told him life was great, and could I go back to class, please? He let me go without comment.

One day, I was in the lunch line with other girls who were in the same desperate situation I was in. Bunch of little hoodlum girls. I didn't have any money, I was just standing in line with them. It shocked me when one of them asked the lunch ladies, "What does that sign say, there?" and pointed. When the ladies looked at it, the other girls flew into action, stuffing wrapped hamburgers into pockets, purses, anywhere they would go. I could only look on in awe. I kept my head down and my mouth shut and when we were out of the line, I said, "Hey, Give me some of those, okay?" I ate well that day.

One day, I got into it with my friend and her mother took her part. I decided to leave. I started walking. I had heard that if you go to the fire department and tell them you're running away from home, they'll take you to a halfway house. I was headed in that direction when my friend and her sister and my sister caught up to me. The three of them dragged me kicking and screaming back home. By the time we got there, my shirt had been torn off. The junkie who was in charge, (my mother was in the hospital by then) asked if I wanted to go live with my grandma, or if I wanted to go to a movie with the rest of them. Looking back, I think she bribed me with a movie at the dollar theater to keep my mouth shut about the atrocities committed in that house. It worked. I didn't want to miss out on a movie, not when it was such a treat. I stayed with the junkie and her brood.

My mother got out of the hospital. The weather started getting cooler, and our garage-room was heated with a cheap space heater. One day, the junkie's ex-boyfriend came home. He threw all of us out, my mother, sister and me. We grabbed what we could, but most of our belongings were left behind. Including my treasures under the stairs, which I couldn't get to. We stayed at my grandma's house for a few days, then my mother went officially nuts. She was in for the long haul in the mental ward of the hospital. My sister and I got a three week vacation from school as they decided what to do with us. We spent those three weeks at the dollar theater across the street, watching Beetlejuice every single day. Finally, they convinced our aunt in Utah to take us in until our mother got better. That's another story...


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Tales from a Teenage Wasteland- The Junkie's House | Login/Create an account | 13 Comments
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Re: Tales from a Teenage Wasteland- The Junkie's House
by Starlight (elenmea@hotmail.com)
on Nov 06, 2003 - 05:42 AM
(User info | Send a Message) http://www.geocities.com/nony_one/index.html
I know it had to be hard to write about your upbringing, but it's often very cleansing to do so. You are a very strong person to have survived such an upbringing, and you have survived it beautifully.


Re: Tales from a Teenage Wasteland- The Junkie's House
by IamSquid (undisclosed)
on Nov 06, 2003 - 06:49 AM
(User info | Send a Message) http://www.goodandevilgoround.com
JAY-zuz,
I've been living in the same house as a junkie for the past month and a half and it has been fucking HELL! Uber kudos for getting through GROWING-UP with that kind of bullshit!

*hugs*

-Squid


Re: Tales from a Teenage Wasteland- The Junkie's House
by feralucce (Iwouldliketokillyou@gofuckyourself.com)
on Nov 06, 2003 - 02:41 PM
(User info | Send a Message) http://feralucce.vibechild.com
there are not words... and I feel for you... that is all I can say


Re: Tales from a Teenage Wasteland- The Junkie's House
by Squire-of-Gothos (Brian0049@hotmail.com)
on Nov 06, 2003 - 10:51 PM
(User info | Send a Message) http://
I feel just like Feral. It certainly humbles and silences me, as I sit around my house whining about not being able to find love and having trouble with getting along with people. I honestly think it's spirit like yours, spirit to get through shit like that and not freak out, or be swallowed up, that is unique to humanity. It's the raw form of the human drive, and I think many people are losing that in this country. Things are handed to a lot of us here. Damn shame for both parties.

Good luck in your journeys.....


Re: Tales from a Teenage Wasteland- The Junkie's House
by Psychopixi (psyche.at.psychopixi.dot.com)
on Nov 07, 2003 - 03:38 AM
(User info | Send a Message) http://psychopixi.com
If I didn't have a hell of a lot of respect for you before reading this, I have even more now. The kind of upbringing you had reminds me of the stuff you see in films, where the heroine wins out because she has strength of character and a pure soul. The people like me who had "normal" upbringings get to be random faces in the crowd, because we've been through nothing remarkable, but I think that your experiences really make you stand out. I suppose you could have gone one way or the other - you could have followed the lifestyle that you were raised living, but you didn't; you grew up into this totally cool person, and damn but I think everyone has to respect you for that!


Re: Tales from a Teenage Wasteland- The Junkie's House
by Anya on Nov 07, 2003 - 07:08 AM
(User info | Send a Message) http://kirashi.envy.nu
I'm with Psychopixi. You demonstrated strength of character...and still do to this day. I used to think that my life was a nasty ride, but as they say, "One will be sad about not having shoes until they see someone that has no feet."



Re: Tales from a Teenage Wasteland- The Junkie's House
by angelofdarkness on Nov 07, 2003 - 08:25 AM
(User info | Send a Message) http://http://
I honestly don't know what to say. The article was amazing, and had a huge impact on the way I see my life. Shit happened, I let myself feel powerless. Your situation was terrible, and knowing you came out of it okay makes me feels much better about life in general. I'm glad you had the strength to post that.


Re: Tales from a Teenage Wasteland- The Junkie's House
by griffith (-)
on Nov 07, 2003 - 09:53 AM
(User info | Send a Message)
my hat is off to you.


Re: Tales from a Teenage Wasteland- The Junkie's House
by Merry_Widow on Nov 09, 2003 - 01:46 PM
(User info | Send a Message)
You know...I have read this about ten times, and I could never figure out what to say. I had a rough patch here and there in my life, but nothing was ever like this.
The only thing I can think of to say every time I read this, the love and respect I have for you grows more and more and more.


Re: Tales from a Teenage Wasteland- The Junkie's House
by Lestat (Heidjin@otakumail.com)
on Nov 13, 2003 - 04:00 PM
(User info | Send a Message) http://profiles.yahoo.com/heidjin
I finally found time to read your story. As I spoke to you before. In the you became one of the most amazing ppl I´ve ever known and I know alot of people agree with me, its amazing to know how you came to be the enlightened person you are today. Ofcourse only the people that can see past the physical events that took place will acknowlege how there's no coincidences in life how in this situation, there was an angel in the making (not said with a religious implication but rather an spiritual one) and how you are one very enlightened and awoken person thanks to situations like that one. Fortunateńy enlightened persons like yourself choose to be part of the world but not belong to it. Real Masters.


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