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Monday, 28 March 2011

Remember Me - GERALD MARSHALL 999489

I was born to Johni and Gerald Marshall, both were addicted to drugs. I have 3 siblings. I am the next to the youngest. During our childhood there were times my siblings and I would go days without food. Vividly I remember one time we were so hungry we made a bunch of juice to combat the hunger. We must have made juice in cups, bowls, pots and pans. Just so that when the pains came back we could drink right then. When my mother came home she made us drink all that juice right away. It wasn't a pretty sight juice was coming out from every which way, I can tell you for sure there is only so much juice a kid can drink.

This is just one of the nightmarish memories from my childhood that forced my mom to lose custody of us. Between our raggedy looking clothes and our knocking on doors for food, begging for food, the neighbors noticed and called "Texas' Children Protective Service" (CPS), on my mom. When CPS came my mom was out on one of her smoking binges and we were at home alone for four days. A neighbour took us in, fed us and we were taken from my mom. Soon after being taken from my parents my siblings and I had a choice to make, stay together or split up. My oldest sister and I stayed in Texas with hopes of being reunited with our father. My oldest brother and youngest sister went to Indiana to a relative's house.

During the time it took my father to get custody of us. We were placed into a foster home. It was better than being with my mom with the exception of physical abuse. My mom never beat me but for some reason I would find myself getting hit in this particular foster home. I never mentioned it to any one because at least we were fed on a regular basis. Soon after I would leave this home and be placed into a boy's home. This was great! Food and no abuse, but I wouldn't stay in this home long because my father would soon get custody of my sister and me. I will never forget the first night at my father's house. My father used to give me money and some came up missing. The older kids took some of it. So my oldest brother came up with the idea to write a letter to the older kids. The letter was filled with profanity. The next day I would go home to my father. The day was going great, meeting my father's girlfriend's kids and then a phone call came. It was my foster parents calling to tell about the letter. My father asked me about it and even after telling him I didn't write it (I was in elementary), he still beats. This beating was the first of many at the hands of my father. I learned my father knew how to braid when he took three small tree switches and scraped the bark off them, braided them together and beat my sister and me. He always seemed to beat us for no reason. Then one day he beat us with a water hose. The whips were so extensive that the school we attended noticed and they took us away from my father. From there I was put in a foster home in the lower parts of Houston.

It was an African American home that for the most part was poor. The foster home relied on income from the children that it kept. It had six kids all together and was paid to keep each one. This home was not a place for kids simply because they kept the kids for the money. This is the home where I grew up until I turned 18. When I was 11, I started going to the mail box and bank with my foster mother. Here I learned about how much money she was getting paid to keep us. It bothers me because this lady would do anything financial wise for her children and grand children but nothing when it came to her foster children, the ones who kept money coming into the house hold. Around this time I would been told my mother had lost all rights to her children because she couldn't get off drugs and I also started drinking and doing drugs. In a sense when I look at it, I started rebelling towards my foster mother.

When I turned 16 I got a job at a Popeyes and started supporting my drug and alcohol habit more. I also started buying clothes for myself. I started skipping school and this hurt my grades but I still managed to graduate high school at 17 years old.

At the foster home things went from bad to worst between my foster mother and me. At 18, which I was about to turn, the state of Texas wouldn't pay for me any longer and my foster mother began to tell me how disgusted I was and made her and that I would probably end up on death row. She told me specifically when I turned 18 I would have to leave her home. On July 11, 2000 I turned 18 and I left.

It is important to understand I am not trying to use my childhood as an excuse as to why I am on Texas death row. While I understand it is a major contributing factor. I am more hopeful that my situation will expose the fact the prisons in America are filled with foster children. A report showed that 69 percent of prisoners in California and Massachusetts were foster children in America. Also disturbing is the fact that - created at http://animoto.com

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