I can remember when I was 7 years old, I had to go to a hospital for a nervous break down. After two weeks in that hospital, I turned 8. When I turned 8, I was moved to a different building with adult men. I had a really hard time there. The very first day I was there, I went to sleep on a big old table, curled up in a ball. And for some reason, this guy named Willus Buck came up and hit me dead in my spine as hard as he could. Why? I don’t know, but it hurt so bad. And I was only 8 years old. It took me 10 years before I actually got out of this hospital because my breakdown was so bad over my brother getting murdered when I was 6 years old and it took a year before it actually hit me.
How I got out of that hospital was I escaped three different times. The last time I escaped, I stayed gone for two weeks and called them to ask if I could come get my money and clothing. They said, “Yes you can. You have been released.Medically dishonored.” I didn’t understand what that meant, but they explained that it meant I was discharged against medical advice.
My life really changed from bad to worse. At first it didn’t, but after I got out, I got a combo together, which they call a band nowadays. I had a combo and I was the lead singer. We called ourselves Johnny and the Hurricanes. We played at the hobby shop right across from the old juvenile hall and Howard’s school football field. Things turned worse because I was burglarizing. It began before I went to the hospital at 5 years old. Why I did this? I don’t know.
When I was in the hobby shop, singing and playing with my combo, I was going out at night burglarizing cars. It caught up with me because I burglarized a place downtown on Broadway. I can’t remember the name of it, but it had clothing, boots, diamond rings — horseshoe diamond rings. I wouldn’t have gotten caught if my cousin wouldn’t have told on me. In a way, I’m kind of glad he did, because I wouldn’t be here today if he hadn’t. When I got out for that crime, I got into more trouble burglarizing and stealing cars because no one in my family would teach me how to drive. My brother tried one time, but he was scared to death to teach me anymore because it was a stick shift, and I didn’t know how to work it and change them gears. I went to prison a few times. Some of the things I didn’t do; some of the things I did do.
When I say I’ve come a long way, I mean this last time I went to prison helped me get off of drugs. I was tired of the life I was living: not buying my medicine, not buying my food, neglecting to take care of myself physically and mentally with my psychotropic medicine. I even once overdosed trying to get sleep because I took too much of my medicine. They took me to a hospital first, then a rehab, then they let me go and I went back home — to the same place where all the drugs were and the people that were in my house.
When my oldest brother died from a heart attack in his sleep after drinking for many years, that’s when I made a change in my life. I’d stolen from my niece and my sister and they were hurt so bad, it made an impression on me to quit, to get off of the drugs. I knew the only way I was going to do it was to have them lock me up again. So, that was the last time I was locked up for something like that.
When I got out, I was playing music downtown. I was playing in front of Bailey’s, singing and playing spoons. The thing is, the law said I couldn’t do that with an amp, and I couldn’t hear over the bars playing music. So I ignored what they were saying, and unfortunately got arrested for playing music down there, and did a 25-day sentence and got a $100 fine. That was my own stupidity.
I found The Contributor the last time I got out of prison. They brought me straight to Room In The Inn. The year was 2013, maybe 2012. Now that I have The Contributor in my heart and a new family (I call them family) I’ve come a long ways with them. I’ve been with them a little bit over a year, and I’ve written quite a few stories with them about my life. I even wrote a jingle for them. I’m really pleased about that because it’s helped me move along with my life as far as being known in the music business. This is talent the Lord, Jesus Christ gave me when I was born. I’m using this to my advantage as far as moving on up, coming a long ways.