1905: Never Knew

Alonzo Horton, guest writer

I never could imagine life without my pa. He raised me, taught me how to be a man. My ma and pa were both 18 years old when they met. They met at this church group meeting, my pa was probably being his typical ole self, a goof. They told me it was practically love at first sight that first night. They ended up ditching the function to go watch the sunset together. My pa was a hard working citizen, who didn’t know his father. His mother (my grandmother) basically raised him. He was taught at a young age how to persevere and never give up even when times get tough. When he was much younger he was molested by his mom’s sister and that left a tragic tear in his heart. At one point it was hard for him to fall in love because of that horrible incident. But that night at the church group meeting, he couldn’t take his eyes off of my ma.

            They married a year later and moved to Brooklyn New York in 1885. It was a thriving

 city, in which they saw potential and thought would provide them a great start to raise their

 kids. My ma had a severe injury from a fall she suffered  in a carriage accident with my pa. This accident caused her great pain and struggle with having kids. They tried and tried for years, and when the first baby died they  thought all hope was lost. Then they tried one last time, and out I came. My parents said my first words were SHAKA because I was excited to be out of her stomach. Much of my childhood consisted of my parents arguing and never making ends meet. I


would always go in my room and cry until it would stop. Because of my ma’s pain, she would have to take opium pills everyday. She would take them a lot, so much until she became addicted. She decided it wasn’t enough, she needed more. My pa tried to help her time and time again. She decided she didn’t want to live with the pain anymore and took an overdose.My pa  and I cried for days.

         We moved into an apartment above the shoe store that my pa owned. It was during this

time that my pa first picked up the Bible and started to read it. He would always read the Bible to

me every night, he said that was his saving grace. But I usually had a hard time understanding

the Bible.

            I remember My pa always taking me to see the New York Giants baseball team play and I was in love with them. They were the best team in the league for a while, it was like they were

untouchable. Those were fun times growing up in New York. I also remember my friends and I

goofing around a lot, I used to make the ole man concerned for me day by day. One day I was walking down Brooklyn Ave. and I saw little Timmy get into a scuffle. Now, Timmy was no

easy going kid. He was like a fired up leprechaun, always ready to fight someone.

He was born tiny but with a big heart. He was one of my closest friends, other than his younger

brother who I was more closer with because we were around the same age. Everyday after

school, I would walk to their house to play catch and their ma would have pizza from the

pizzeria waiting for us for dinner. My pa hated the idea, always say

“it’s not healthy to eat junk.”

                                                                        *     *     *

            One day Timmy had a crazy idea.

             “Hey bet you won’t,” Timmy smirked.

             “Won’t do what?” I questioned.

             “Bet you won’t climb over the fences of Polo Grounds,”

he felt confident in his dare, “Okay, bet.”

            As I peered over the fence I saw the Giants practicing, and I heard a player say, “There is but one game and that is baseball” (McGraw), and all of a sudden all the weight flew to my stomach. I finally came to my senses and did it! I jumped! As soon as my feet touched the ground, I felt every eye in the stadium on me as if I was actually playing in a game. I suppose it was nice seeing all of my favorite players of all time including John McGraw  “The team that gets off to a good start wins pennant” (McGraw). When I turned  around.          

            I saw Timmy had left me. The players I met were all my idols. I didn’t think they would

let me stay. The first thought that came to my head is “I have to tell my pa.”


                                                                        *      *     *

            It’s the end of October and the Giants brought another win back to the city Pa and I were

overjoyed. One morning not long after the win, I had a weird feeling waking up that particular

morning. As I was walking to school, I didn’t see Timmy and wondered if he was sick. School

was the same ole same ole, do work for nonsense and teachers get paid. When I stepped inside my house from school, I yelled


 “Pa I’m home.”

            I heard some minor sobbing but didn’t

know what was wrong. I  walked into my pa’s room and saw him crying. I only saw my pa cry


once before and it was the day he decided to leave my ma. But no this day was different, he wiped his tears and sat me down and said,

“Son, when I went to the doctor today, I found out I had cancer.”

            BANG! There it was, it hit me like a wandering bullet, right in my chest. I soon


“Are you going to die?”

 He said, “The doctor said I only had a week and a half to live.”

            I was saddened, I went to a dark place. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know how to act. I didn’t sleep, of course, I just had flashbacks of what my pa and I had done throughout my life. I cried all night.

             The next day I went to school, and hated everything and everyone that moved,

talked, and walked because I was filled with anger and sadness. There was this kid named Billy

Sanders. But we called him “Bully Billy,”I had to break up a fight one time with him and a

teacher because she didn’t give him an A on a exam. Somehow he found out my pa had cancer,

so he thought it would be funny to come up and tease me about it. He asked me,

“Your pa has cancer?” I didn’t even flinch, he then said,

“Well,  I guess I’ll be seeing him in hell!”

            I paused and contemplated whether I should stick the pencil through his skull. He shoved

me and pushed me off my chair. I then got up and slammed his head against the black board in

anger. The teacher saw me and paged the office to come get me. My head was about to explode, I

was angry. I was in the office and the clerk told me my pa needed me to come home.

I immediately rushed home to see him. I ran up the steps and kicked the door open. I

screamed as I saw my pa passed out on the ground.

“No, this can’t happen now”,

“not now”

“please no, not today u still have one more week!”

             I held him in my arms, weeping.

                                                            *     *     *

            Five years later, I still sob over my pa’s death. He was the man I looked up to, he was my

only family. I decided to give my life to Christ because I remember my pa would always tell me

to read my Bible, “Read those verses.” I was young and didn’t want to listen. But ever since then, I’ve been reading more and actually going to church. I never would have thought this would happen. But God has given me hope and faith, to stand tall when times are tough. Today, I live out my pa’s legacy. I bear his name and the Lord’s glory and honor.