From Just Surviving Life to a Life of Survival Preparedness, by Michael B.
I was born into the percentage of Americans,who statistically don’t make it to the American dream. I was Born 1980 in Modesto, California. The third child of a young mother and father hooked on Speed, KJ and any other number of drugs they could get their hands on. By 1983 we found ourselves 140 miles south in Visalia Ca. That year my father was shot point blank range in the lower abdominal area with a .22 Long Rifle hollow point. It was the neighbor in the next apartment who did the shooting and it was a fight over drugs. My older brother is the oldest of us three. He was standing next to our dad when he was shot. My dad drove himself to the hospital and passed out in the parking lot. My brother was seven years old at the time. He ran into the hospital and got their attention. The bullet did what hollow points do: It broke into seven pieces. Without the energy to exit, the bullet pieces ricochet around like a pinball machine. One fragment managed to come out his upper back by his right shoulder blade. The seven fragments ripped his liver, pancreas, and spleen. They had to remove several feet of intestine. The shot damaged a kidney so badly that it was removed. My dad was transferred from Kaweah Delta Health hospital in Visalia to UCLA Medical Center. They saved his life but not before he went into cardiac arrest three times and was in the hospital for six months.
At that point in our lives, our mother took us back to Modesto and continued on the same path of, Drug abuse, horrible mean men and Government assistance… I remember CPS coming to our house and taking nude pictures of all the bruises on us kids. Their were four or five families in this house. They took pictures of the empty maggot infested fridge. Pictures of over flowing feces-filled toilets. By fourth grade for me and seventh grade for my sister, she’s the middle kid I’m the baby. Our older brother had run away from the madness to find our dad, to hopefully come to the rescue of us. We were too young to realize, he was living the same alcoholic drug life our mother was, only he was a little further south in canyon country. Sometime during my fourth grade year my sister and I just stopped going to school. We roamed all over Modesto. The school came by a few times but could never find our mom. My sister and I eat at the church two or three times a week, sometimes we eat at the salvation army. A lot of the time we stole food from the local market. Food to a couple kids amounted to whatever candy you could get in your pocket. Some people might say I mentioned Government assistance above. My mom and every mom in that neighbor-hood would make us kids take a dollar food stamp at a time into the market and buy a 0.05 cent candy and bring them back the 95 cents change. That’s only when the guy behind the counter just didn’t offer 50 cents on the dollar for the whole book of food stamps.
CPS never did anything in my several encounters. Our school noticed the trend and pretended (I know this now) my sister and I won a shopping trip. They bought us several outfits and shoes. So by the end of fourth grade we made it back to school but not before being School Administrative Review Board (SARB) flagged. They found my mom and threatened her with jail and no more welfare. So she got us back in school pronto. That summer I was arrested for receiving stolen property at nine years old. I was sitting in a golf cart in an alley with another nine year old making motor sounds and pretending to drive. The thing never moved an inch not to say we wouldn’t have but we had no clue how. Either way the cop took me to juvenile hall where it took my mom three days to find me. During this time my sister has blossomed into a beautiful young thirteen year old girl, who looks to old for our own good. We still haven’t heard from our brother or dad and our mom has now been with this boyfriend who hands out regular beating to all of us. My sister and I met a man at the arcade who’s started buying cloths and food. He turned out to be a twenty six year old opportunist who seen us or my sister as a prime target. So by fourteen she gives birth to a beautiful little girl by a man thirteen years her senior.. I guess that’s finally enough to get our drunk doped up dad to Modesto. He paid a guy in a 1966 Chevy step side to bring him. I was never so elated when I seen him. I ran so fast I tripped in front of him. I thought it was all going to change. It did for a day or so. I was so happy when my dad slapped the hell out of my moms boyfriend. Slap! Nnnno! I won’t hit them any more. Music to my ears. The next day my dad chased my sister’s guy around too.. Things are looking up. Then he got in the truck the next day and left. I was on my way. I was under a tarp in the bed of the truck. The truck pulled over about a block away. My dad had seen me poke my head out, we cried and hugged and I didn’t understand why he just couldn’t take me. I was back to running the streets all night my sister was gone with the father of my niece. Now it’s just me, until my big brother showed up out of the blue. All of fifteen years old he was my Hero immediately. Strong long blond hair, I was so happy he was here. He had a long hair friend with him. He told me he was in a big fight at home needed to get away. So he got our address from dad borrowed a car and here he was. He told me I don’t care what any one says when I leave, you’re leaving too!. Three days later we left.
Ten years old and back in Visalia, California. We lived in a huge apartment complex nicknamed Sin City. I was so happy to follow my brother around, our surroundings didn’t matter. My brother was good at making my dad buy food but he never paid rent and we were locked out of every place we lived and in between the welfare office would provide motels, meals, money. On top of the normal welfare he got. So he knew how to use it. As do most. I found out my brother must of endured the same beatings I took only he got it from our father. I found this out shortly after moving in. My Dad got drunk put his hands on me and my brother attacked him violently and didn’t stop until he looked dead. I was in shock, My big brother stood over our father and said your never going to lay a hand on my little brother, you understand!. He never tried to get physical again until I was fifteen years old. He was up for several days on meth. I tried to leave the apartment and he wouldn’t let me out. He grabbed my neck, I bombed an overhand right and it put him out cold, I stepped over him and went to a friend’s mom who knew my situation. That next year right when I turned sweet sixteen, I was confronted by a group of what I’d call then, “rich kids.” They approached me and attacked during the fight one of the kids got his jaw broken. The cops arrested me and since I was the poor kid, I was immediately branded the bad guy. The courts sentenced me to three years and eight months. In the mea time my sister got away from the way too old for her predator. She came to Visalia where our brother was and got a bank teller position. Meanwhile our brother was building car engines and doing maintenance work.
Me? Oh I got out of jail and knew, I’d be making my own path. My now wife of thirteen years was then my girlfriend since seventh grade summer. She waited and wrote me a letter every day I was gone. I came home at eighteen to my sister and girlfriend’s house. Within a week I was unloading walnuts seven days a week, ten hours a day. The next year my wife and I married, I became a roofer and she went to Fresno State University full time and worked full time. No one in our families have ever owned anything. I bought a 1967 300 deluxe post top Chevelle two-door I sold that car a year later a made a down payment on our first house. My wife got to pick it all ground up. My sister’s teller job turned into a assistant manager position and our big brother was a master diesel tech. I bought our first home in 2001 and sold in 2005 at he peak of the market. We walked away with $157,000 profit. For a kid from the hood, “WOW!” is all I could say.. Before I knew what a retreat was I knew I didn’t want to raise my kid in the city. So I took our money and bought 2.5 acres on a aquifer with two wells and no home. I paid the property off and hired a contractor who was local. That contractor stole $70,000 from our building account I set up for him. That’s what happens when a poor guy gets money. I wasn’t smart enough with it.
So here we are. Married five years. We have a 7-week early premature little girl. No house and bare land? Well we had our credit, land, boat and a paid-for truck. So I did what most people wouldn’t. I went and took a $220,000 hard money loan 10% interest only and a $10,000 buy down. On top of the $2,200 a month interest-only loan. I only had thirteen months until the balloon payment was due. I pulled all my own permits and built our 2,400 square foot house in ten months. When those hard money loan guys saw me in ten months, they were surprised.. I’m almost 34 years old now. My wife and I have lived in our retreat for five years. She’s become a Oncology Registered Nurse with ten years of experience. We home school our daughter, raise chickens and gardens. Yes I tell her stories of my wild child hood and even show her the paths I took. Most of all she sees us, My brother ,sister and I care for her Grandparents who’s drug filled youth funded by the welfare system has made them life time dependent on the government. It also goes to show although rare. Sometimes the Apples all roll very far from the tree. My sister with her seventh grade education and a child at thirteen years old, is now the district manager of twelve plus banks, manages her own five acres of pecans and drives a Mercedes E550 coupe that is paid for. Our big brother is still a Master mechanic. He travels all over fixing specialty equipment and makes $50+ an hour.
Me, the young wild one. They tell me I endured the worst.To me..I have had the best life ever: The American Dream times a million. Where do you get to start with nothing and claw and fight to the top and come out like an apple pie. Out of us three kids, none of us smoke or drink or have ever done drugs. I’m now officially “Mr. Mom.” My wife works three days a week with vacation that’s 123 work days a year. We all shoot compound bows and pellet guns. We all have our hunting licenses. We ride dirt bikes, ride horses, gold mine, grow and store our own food. All on an education of having nothing. So it is possible.
The main thing is to Fight no matter what, just keep moving forward. We talk to our parents every day. Our father is now 60 and hasn’t had a sip in five years although our mom will be on psych meds forever. She’s our mom and that’s it. We love our parents no matter what. This is a glimpse of a few minutes of a few times in my personal life. I can fill book with the wild weird situations we were placed in. Us kids, We not only survived we thrive. Through beatings, rapes and just plain craziness. I know these times shaped me to a tough an rugged individual but it also taught me how to love unconditionally, share what you have and stand your moral ground and for me personally a great relationship with Jesus Christ. Thank you Mr. Rawles and everyone who contributes to this very cool blog site. God bless the whole world.