An early childhood story…

I was about 7 years old. My parents and I lived in a little house that rested behind an apartment building about two blocks away from Piedmont park. There was an alleyway to get to our house. In the middle of essentially downtown Atlanta, we lived in seclusion. The upstairs of our house was rented out to some other couple but I believe at the time there was no one there. My parents were hippies. They didn’t “believe” in guns and thus never allowed me to have or play with them. I had gone to a friends house a few days before and played with the two boys there – Chris and Carl. They were twins, in fact, but because my class had another boy named Chris this twin was nicknamed “Pistol”. His choice. Pistol and Carl loved typical boy games, as did I, and we played happily that day with Pistol’s collection of toy guns.

A few nights after my playdate, we were all sleeping when we were broken into. My father woke up and found a gun staring him in the face. My father wears glasses – can’t see anything farther than three inches from his face and the man holding the gun stood in darkness urging my father to wake up and tell him where the valuables were. We didn’t have any valuables; we were on food stamps and my mother was enrolled in technical school. My father remembers the man was very nervous and kept saying “where’s the drugs man?! where’s the drugs?!” My parents finally made the man realize there was nothing for him to take. He rooted around a bit in my mother’s jewelry box but it was plain we had nothing for him to take.
So he took my mother.
With the gun to her head, he told her to get up out of bed and come with him. She did. He led her through the house to the front door and out. Once they were on the porch, he paused, probably surveying his escape with her. She decided, in that split second that she didn’t care if he had a gun, she wasn’t going anywhere without a fight. Meanwhile, My father was out of bed and trying to find his glasses. We didn’t have a phone at that time.
My mother opened her mouth and screamed bloody murder. I woke up and laid in bed trying to figure out if what I thought I heard was real, my heart pounding. I heard movement outside, on the porch and a then the front door slammed. I laid in bed, trying not to move, willing this tremendous fear to go away and believing that if I laid still enough, I would wake up again and find out nothing had happened.
Then my parents burst into my room. Turning on the light they checked on me and dragged me out of bed to hold me. Then we all went outside as the neighbors came out to see what had happened. One of our neighbors came, rubbing his eyes, with a gun in his hand.
“Did you hear that scream?” he said incredulously.
My parents laughed.
Then there was police visits, questions etc, but my mom was okay.

When my parents had come to pick me up from Carl and Pistol’s, I had begged and pleaded with them to let me borrow one of Pistol’s toys. A little plastic cap gun that looked exactly like a revolver of the western style. My parents eventually relented, under the condition that I not bring any caps with me. I was amazed at my luck and took it home. Without someone else to play with, the gun lost its allure and I soon left it sitting idly in the living room on a chair. That was the “gun” the man had pointed at my parents. I gave it back the next day and told the story to my school.


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