A Requiem Mass For Lucky Pyramid Image.

Geary Smith
© Copyright 1999 by Geary Smith

Prologue: Now George Pratt is not just a boy. George could be a girl. George represent children everywhere throughout the country of all ages, colors and race, who have been in a juvenile or correctional facility. This is their story.

My name is George Pratt. But, my friends call me "Lucky." So, you can call me Lucky. I'm twelve years old, though I look much older because I'm about 5'11. We never really had a home of our own. As far back as I can remember we stayed at my grandmother's house in South Dallas, on Ervy and Grand. I had clean clothes, good food to eat, and I went to school...sometimes. It was in late September, 1999, that I noticed my mother packing. She looked very sad and her hair was all messy, as though it had not been combed.

"Are we moving?" I asked.

At first, she didn't say anything. But, I could tell she had been crying. Her face was puffy, and her eyes were red. She told me she was going away for a while. That she had to take care of some business, and that I should stay with grandmother.

That's when I began to cry. I cried when she walked out the door and I cried later that evening. While lying in bed that night, I cried thinking about how good it would be to have both a father and mother like all of the other children. I never knew my father at all. But, at least I still had my grandmother.

I really didn't like school very much. The school counselor put me in something called Plan A. Now, Plan A was a classroom for students with learning disabilities and mental retardation. I didn't think that I was retarded, so I must have had a learning disability. Many of the other children would tease me as I walked out of the classroom for lunch or to go home. "Plan A Boy! Retard!" they would shout. So, on many occasions, I would skip school altogether and go to the malls or arcades. That's when my trouble began, on one Monday morning while I was at the mall skipping school.

I stole a gold watch from a department store. I really didn't know why I stole the watch, but it seemed right at the time. And, most of all, I didn't get caught. I walked out of the mall that day with a new gold watch and a big smile on my face. That happy feeling was soon to change, for about two weeks later, at the same mall, I got caught for stealing a polo shirt. The mall security called the police, and they took me down to the station. After they took my fingerprints and picture, they called my grandmother, who came and got me.

"That's it." I thought. "That was nothing."

The next time I got in trouble was for stealing a car. A BMW, in fact. This time the juvenile judge sentenced me to a year of probation, which wasn't bad. However, after many more robberies, drug usage, marijuana, and fighting at school, I was sentence to juvenile detention for two years. However, because I was classified as being mentally retarded, which I didn't know I was at the time, the judge sentenced me to a new facility in Dallas for the mentally retarded.

I was taken to the facility by my probation officer, Mr.Jesse L.Smith. I was given a clean room, two orange jump suits, and a hot lunch. After a brief meeting with a lot of different people who I didn't know or understand, I was seen by the doctor.

The doctor was short and fat with very little hair on top of his head. He looked in my mouth and ears. He weighed me. Then he measured how tall I was.

After I was examined by the doctor, my caseworker, Mrs.Beverly Johnson, showed me around the facility. She explained my rights and responsibilities, and what I needed to do to get out of the facility, and back home with my grandmother. My grandmother couldn't come to visit me that day, but she did call later that evening to see how I was doing, and to say that she would send me some money. I asked her had she heard from my mother, and when she would be back home. She said she didn't really know. That's when I became sad and felt all alone. I thought I would die that night. Laying in my room, looking up at the huge white brick walls and ceilings. I had lost all hope. Then I began to think about my mother and all of the good times we had together. Especially the time my mother and me went to Six Flags. I began to feel a little better.

"What's up?"

My roommate entered the room. His name was Bennie Jones, and he was from West Dallas. He said he had been in a gang, and that he was at the facility for murder. I wasn't afraid of Bennie. As a matter of fact, Bennie and I became good friends and planned on getting out of the facility about the same time. The head psychologist came into the room and explained the token system of the facility, and that I would have to obtain a "gold" status level before I could be considered to go back home.

"How long would it take to reach the gold status?" I asked. He said in about 9 to 12 months of good behavior.

No problem, I could handle a year without any sweat. However, the next week, I caught a boy who was working in housekeeping, going through my locker. The fight cost me 50 tokens, and I wouldn't be able to see the movie on Saturday night. Well, time went by quickly with me working in housekeeping half a day and going to school the other half day. School wasn't bad, and neither was my teacher. At least, I didn't have anybody teasing me about being in Plan A, or being retarded. I earned money in housekeeping, $5 a week, that I used to buy cold drinks and chips on the weekends.

After about a month, my grandmother came to visit me one Saturday morning. She brought me some new clothes, a hat, and a new pair of tennis shoes. She also told me that my mother was in jail and wouldn't be out until two years. I was happy to see my grandmother, but I would have rather seen my mother. As my grandmother was escorted out of the huge metal doors, and as the locks were opened, I shouted to her that I would do much better from now on.

And, I did. I was promoted to the "Silver" status. And I was given a job in the garden. At least I could be outside in the fresh clean air and sunshine. I made $5 extra dollars a week that I saved in my account for when I would be released. I learned how to read and write much better, and my grades in school began to show much improvement. It was about the first time in my life that I really felt good about myself and what I was going to do and be in life. My caseworker and teacher really seemed to care about me. After ten months of being in the facility, I was about ready to go home with my grandmother. It didn't seem like ten months had gone by, but it had. My grandmother said I was about two inches taller, and about ten pounds heavier.

As, me and my grandmother drove away from the facility, I thought about my life and my future. I went on to get my GED. And, now I'm in a trade school, studying to be an air conditioner repairman's assistance. I went to visit my mother in jail, and she was doing fine. She said she would be home in about another 3 months.

Epilogue: My story is for all children, black and white, young and old, who are struggling with life problems and circumstances.

Geary Smith is married to Tonnette and has two daughters, Jessica and Somer. He has an M.Ed. from SFAU. In his free time, when he's not writing or reading, he loves to play golf or jog.

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