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Are this Bugle Boy jeans that you’re wearing? Why yes, they most certainly are (were). Standing in front of my father’s Grand Prix, Gerald and I posed for a picture. We had just left our house on Bessica street and moved a ways up the hill to Kendon Drive West.

My world had shifted dramatically and I was trying to move into my “smiling phase.” That frown was so difficult to subdue. I was pushed out of my high school. The principal told me to “find a new home”, so I did. I chose Benjamin Peabody High School as i knew a few folks that went there and a close cousin was attending that fall. It was a solid choice. Peabody was where I’d meet Erica and slew of new friends along with new experiences.

On this particular day, I remember Gerald and I hanging out with my mom for some reason. The three of us had gone to Schenely park that earlier, just a family outing sans-my-father. It was like a small acknowledgment of the shift we all made at the time, with moving to a new house, in a new neighborhood and all of us looking to do things differently.

My 9th grade year was failure in every way possible. I had to make some kind of break from the lifestyle approach I had embraced, my brother had graduated high school and was enrolled at CCAC, and my mother was enjoying her new leadership position at an organization helping youth across the city gain meaningful employment.

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