Kevin became homeless at age fourteen due to his grandmother's overdosing on heroin and cocaine. Kevin is a rare statistic; he is one of the few people who beat the system. He was never put into a foster home, because he would run; he slept on streets and in Laundromats instead. He forged his way into high school at age seventeen.
He was never in a stable environment until he was nineteen and was blessed to be asked to join the Thompson family. He graduated high school and graduated college from Kansas State University.
Kevin's story is meant to let all know they can beat the odds; their situations do not limit their potential. Kevin is a prime example of great things from humble beginnings.
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As the Crowe Flies
One Man's Journey Using His Disadvantages to His Advantage
By Kevin Crowe
AuthorHouse LLCCopyright © 2014 Kevin Crowe
All rights reserved.
Life without a Beginning
Red and blue are the two colors I will never forget. They often mean freedom, except in this very uncomfortable position in which I found myself.
There I was, three years old and alone, hot, scared, in a poopy diaper, riding in the back of a police car, knowing no one wanted me and feeling I belonged to no one. That is the earliest memory I have; I didn't know who had looked after me from the time I was born until then.
Block after block, in and out of corner stores, hoping that the right customer would say, "He's mine." I crossed my fingers, hoping someone, anyone, would take me, no questions asked. Anything would be better than the situation I was in. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
Finally, with tears and snot running down my face, the officer found an unfortunate customer holding a baby and purchasing Raisin Bran cereal. I hate Raisin Bran or anything with raisins! The lady was not in my eyes a woman or a mom. She was selfish, caring only for herself and the baby she was holding. When the officer asked her if she was even concerned where I was, she replied, "I figured he would find his way back." She didn't even care where I was. She was not concerned for my well-being.
Before we go any further into my story, understand that some things will be unanswered because I have no answers to them. Selfish people in my life would not tell me where I came from or who I was. I have always been a quiet person and never told anyone how I felt. I will explain my memories of growing up. They will be out of order from time to time, but to understand my heart, you have to understand my pain.
Survival to me is not measured in inches but in centimeters. My life was never easy; to gain an inch, I had to successfully gain 2.54 centimeters. It was only then that my centimeters—my life journey, my survival—could turn into inches that would become feet. Be ready for a rocky road.
Being born in the great state of Texas was not so great. Things might be bigger in Texas, but that's not always good. When I was three, I was left in the care of a family member; I did not know this person's name, who he or she was to me, or if he or she even cared about my well-being. My life has always felt like a big charity case.
People always gave, but most of the time, what they gave wasn't out of their hearts. I believe I must have been a nightmare. However, someway, somehow, I ended up somewhere dark, cold, and with no shoes.
The first time I saw snow was in Colorado Springs, Colorado where I live now, and where my story begins. No one will tell me how I got here; I don't know if it was by bus, car, plane, or angel. Miracles happen every day; faith must travel in seconds, so I don't question the good Lord about his plans.
Though I wonder how I got to the Rocky Mountain State, I know that faith in God and myself got me where I am today.
I remember crying and crying when all of a sudden a woman picked me up. That woman was my grandma, Dee Williams. That was the first time someone wrapped their arms around me. I never knew how it felt to be cold to the bones until New Year's, 1988, when Colorado was hit by a dreadful snowstorm known as the "white monster" that dumped massive amounts of snow. I was terrified of the snow; it was the first time I had seen it. I cried and ran under the kitchen table.
My grandma sang me church songs to help ease my fear of the snow, but my grandpa, Charles Williams, loved to pick on me by dragging me out from under the table and pulling me outside so he could throw snowballs at me. He took me outside anytime he could and fired away. I tumbled to the ground in tears, but I learned crying got me nowhere with him.
My cousin Ci-Ci always took advantage of me. In this particular situation, while I was on the ground, she rubbed my face in the snow. I jumped up, ran back in the house, and pointed through the window at them.
I must have been about five when my grandma made me a Halloween Superman costume out of paper grocery bags. We were so poor that she had to use red food coloring to paint the bags. That entire Halloween night, people kept asking me who I was supposed to be. To make matters worse, it began to snow, so I found out what happens to paper products when they become acquainted with water—they fall off your body. I should have worn undies that day.
Christmas was just around the corner, but Santa never checked my list. My grandma made sure we knew Christmas was mainly about the birth of Christ, so that took away reminders of how poor we were.
I never had a Christmas; I never woke up to presents under a tree or a big meal. What made matters even worse was that my grandma's birthday was around Christmas. Not once did she ever complain about having nothing; she was more concerned about giving to the Lord. Our Christmas was going to the Candlelight Vigil services.
I vaguely remember our black-and-white-painted house; people called my grandparents' house the "Little House on Bennett." If my grandma was not at church or playing bingo, she was tending her garden. She had all kinds of flowers—yellow daises, red tulips, and purple lilacs—but what brought her garden to life was the food she produced. Grandma loved her garden, but I felt otherwise. Her dream garden was my worst nightmare.
Ci-Ci and I picked and shucked corn and picked, washed, and split beans. We picked mustard and collard greens, washed them top to bottom, and cut them three inches from the bottom to the top.
One day, Ci-Ci and I started throwing our grandma's cabbage and tomatoes when my uncle Donnie popped out of nowhere. A tomato hit him in the face. Uncle Donnie was my grandma's youngest son; he was about to marry Trudy McDonald, who was pregnant with twins. What made the relationship more of a difficulty was that Trudy was mentally challenged and had a son, Marques, also mentally challenged.
Uncle Donnie had come over to talk to my grandma, but instead, he ended up chasing Ci-Ci and me around the backyard while his friend Roderick drenched us with the hose. We tore up our grandma's garden from being wet and rolling around in the soil, but the biggest mistake we made was taking our mud-covered bodies inside. We were dying of laughter, but my grandma had her switch in her hand. Before we knew it, tears filled our eyes. Ci-Ci and I got a whuppin for tracking mud in. My grandparent's whuppings were not like most, they would tuck our heads and arms between their legs jerk our pants and underwear down as they whupped us asking rhetorical questions.
Uncle Donnie got in trouble as well. My grandma said, "Instead of messing around with the d--- kids, what in the h-- do you need to talk about?" He replied, "Trudy." They left the room to talk in private—grown-folks business.
During Trudy's earlier years, she suffered from depression, and while she was carrying Marques, she relapsed and drank bleach, causing his mental illness. Before I knew it, Marques grew on me like a bug. Each day after school, I would do my chores and then help tend to Marques's needs. That was around the time my grandpa showed me the meaning of "hustling," making money in unlawful ways. My grandpa told me, "You get how you get it."
To help pay for my aunt and uncle's wedding, my grandpa and I hit up the streets. The money was supposed to go for the expenses, but instead each penny went to alcohol.
My grandma would say, "When there is a will, there is a way." My sweet grandma pawned our television and her wedding ring so Trudy and my uncle could receive their marriage license.
Two weeks after my aunt and uncle were married; we were all in bed when my grandma received a phone call. I woke up when I heard my grandma yelling at the top of her lungs. Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs had called; Aunt Trudy's water had broken, and she was going into labor.
Our house was only about a five-minute drive to the hospital. When you have a grandpa who likes to go over the speed limit, a long drive seems to only take seconds. My grandma was disabled, so we always had a parking advantage. With her cane and all, my sweet grandma was walking faster than I have ever seen her before and humming one of her favorite hymns, "Amazing Grace."
We got inside my aunt's delivery room. My grandma held my hand to tell me something must be wrong. My aunt's mental condition and accident of falling off a bus that day had resulted in the miscarriage of one of the twins. The doctor told us that the likelihood of the other twin being stillborn was great. My grandma told me to close my eyes so we could say the Lord's Prayer.
As we bowed our heads to say a prayer we hear a tiny cry. We saw my uncle crying and holding a baby girl. Larisa was her name, but I loved to call her Ret-Ret.CHAPTER 2
My Ability to Learn Comes with a Price
I never knew what being a child was like, since my life was measured in dog years.
My grandma would have my aunt Trudy and the babies stay with us, so Ci-Ci and I would have to help take care of our cousins Marques and Ret-Ret, feeding them, changing them, and getting them to sleep.
I had to sleep in the living room on the couch, so I was always wakened by someone knocking on the door all hours of the day or someone wanting a late-night glass of water. My grandma was extremely old-fashioned; she didn't believe in boys and girls sleeping in the same room unless they were married.
Late one night, Ret-Ret was not feeling well. I decided to check her temperature and surprisingly it was at 102. I immediately stopped what I was doing, dressed Ret-Ret and myself, and woke everyone in the house by screaming. I headed to the emergency room with my grandma and Aunt Trudy. The doctors told us that Ret-Ret was fine; her body was just overheated. They suggested she stay the night so they could keep a watch on her temperature. My grandma and I left my aunt and Ret-Ret at the hospital; it was already time for me to get ready for school.
It was exceptionally hard to hold my eyes open that day in class. I had fallen asleep so many times that my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Stroller, called my grandparents with the news I had been standing up in a corner sleeping. When Ci-Ci and I got to the house that day, my grandpa whupped me with his belt. "His black a— fell asleep in mother--- school! We send y'all there to learn, not to lay your black a— down."
It was time for my first parent-teacher conference; my grandparents and I set forth on a breezy evening. Mrs. Stroller informed my grand parents that I should retake kindergarten because my reading level was extremely low and I was having a difficult time with my speech. I repeated kindergarten; I didn't know how to spell "Kevin," my name. At that time, I had no idea what was going on, but by my understanding, repeating Mrs. Stroller's class was a great accomplishment. At the house, when something good happened or my grandpa got excited, he would sing Marvin Gaye- "Let's Get It On". So I did the same. I jumped onto Mrs. Stroller's desk and started to sing "Let's Get It On." I was dancing, swinging my hips in circular motions, and thrusting into the air, just as I saw my grandpa do at the house. My grandpa took his shoe off so fast that I didn't have time to react before he wacked me upside my head, knocking me off the desk. As I was coming down, my left temporal lobe hit the corner, causing a gash. Every time I get my haircut, the scar takes me down memory lane.
When I got up, he yelled, "Sit you're a— down until we get to the house." Something was wrong with my grandma; I looked over and saw Mrs. Stroller fanning her. It looked as if she had fallen out of her chair and blacked out. We immediately took my grandma to the hospital. The Doctor said they would call us and let us know the results. Come to find out my grandma was diagnosed with adult onset type two diabetes.
Being just six, I thought tending to my cousins, watching after my grandma and doing chores was what you did for fun as a kid. I would change diapers, wash dishes, iron clothes, and so much more. At night, I would have to miss out on sleep to help tend to the youngest ones.
I didn't ride buses to school; I walked to and from school in sunshine, rain, sleet, and snow, except on the rare occasions when my grandparents would pick me up because they needed me to do something for them. Usually it was to take care of all my younger cousins or when it benefited the adults.
As I walked to the house on the day school had let out for the year, I stuck my hands in my pockets full of holes, played one of my memorable games called "kick the rocks," dreamed of a place where I could just have fun, not worry about looking after anyone, and have someone cater to my needs. I dreamed of a home, not a house. Coming from my background, I would never call a place "home" because I knew where I laid my head was only temporary. When I got to the house, I found out Aunt Trudy was pregnant again.
Summer was off to a scorching start. Our house was burning like a Roman candle. July 4th was just three days away. I was close to my grandma, so where she went, you best believe my "peanut head" would be right by her side. My dear, sweet grandma was an early riser; I think that's who I got that from. She and I would always beat the sunrise. With my shoes on the wrong feet, I ran to our beat-down car and was ready to go to the store. I knew I could never have any of the good cereals like Froot Loops, Lucky Charms, or Coca Puffs I saw on television or heard kids talk about in class, but I looked forward to any chance I got to go to the store. Albertsons and King Soopers were the only two stores where my grandma would always do her first-of-the-month shopping. (To all my people who know about Bone Thugs N Harmony.)
I knew not to ask, so I just opened a pack of watermelon Bubblicious bubble gum and began to chew. I put the rest in my pocket and went on as if I had done nothing wrong. But I was just six; I forgot I hadn't come into the store with gum in my mouth, so how could I possibly be popping bubbles?
My grandma had eyes in the back of her head. As soon as I got to the parking lot, she whupped me then and there. She marched me back into the store and made me tell the clerk, "I'm sorry, mister, for stealing bubble gum." I had to give the gum back; she even made me spit out the piece I had been chewing. Grandma never played!
I was silent the entire way to the house as she yelled at me. I knew not to say a word, so I just let her say her peace. I knew to be quiet when grown folks were speaking or else I would feel the consequences.
After July 4th, it felt like summer went on fast forward and someone hit play just as the first day of school started. Changes were always occurring rapidly in my life. For example, my grandparents felt that morning kindergarten would be better than afternoon; that way, I could get to the house, do my chores, and watch my cousins. Mrs. Stroller recommended that my grandparents put me in speech therapy so I could get caught up on my comprehension levels. They didn't hesitate to say yes.
There was one problem; if they couldn't afford to feed us, how could they pay for the five-days-a-week sessions on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC)? At the time, these programs were the only sources of family income. Saddest thing was it wasn't them—it was Uncle Sam. We were poor! However, God was the answer. He has and will always be my ultimate water well that quenches my thirst. He provided his way, and my school took care of any expenses for my speech therapy.
Excerpted from As the Crowe Flies by Kevin Crowe. Copyright © 2014 Kevin Crowe. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Life without a Beginning, 1,
Chapter 2 My Ability to Learn Comes with a Price, 9,
Chapter 3 When Wine Causes Loved Ones Misery, 17,
Chapter 4 If Only Darkness Would Take Me Away, 27,
Chapter 5 Living Life like an Animal, 37,
Chapter 6 Selfishness, 49,
Chapter 7 Being Bad but for All the Right Reasons, 57,
Chapter 8 Graduation Takeaway, 67,
Chapter 9 A Will to a Way, 79,
Chapter 10 A Key to Humility, 93,
Chapter 11 Measuring Life by the Meters, 103,
Chapter 12 Facing My Fears, 113,
Chapter 13 Rest in Peace to My Blind Side, 127,
Chapter 14 Mistaken Blessings, 139,
Chapter 15 10-24-10, 151,
Chapter 16 Finally Calling 1303 Home, 177,
Chapter 17 Let the Truth Be Told, 185,
Chapter 18 Fighting the Demons within Me, 197,
Chapter 19 Painful Reality, 203,
Chapter 20 Words of Joy, 209,
Chapter 21 You are not "ALONE", 219,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book should be an inspirational best seller! I highly recommend this book to EVERYONE!!! it will touch your life and give you a new out look on life!!!