NWA… My Return to Compton, California

The last two times I’ve gone to California I have made it a point to stop by my grandmothers house on my Dad’s side of the family.

House is still the same after 30 some years

House is still the same after 30 some years

My grandmother lives in Compton, California.

In 2009, the CQ Press using data from F.B.I. “Crime in the United States 2008″ rated Compton as the 2nd most dangerous city in America.[4] In 2006, the Morgan Quitno Corporation rated Compton as the most dangerous city in the United States.[5] The city is notorious for gang violence, primarily caused by the Bloods, the Crips and numerous Mexican gangs. Compton’s violent reputation was popularized in the late 1980s by the rise to prominence of local gangsta rap groups Compton’s Most Wanted and especially N.W.A. and Eazy-E, who released the famous albums Straight Outta Compton and Eazy-Duz-It in 1988. Since then, “Compton” has been synonymous with anything ghetto or gang-related. Compton has a homicide rate about eight times higher than the national average, most of which are gang killings. Economic conditions and Compton’s location as the center of the South Los Angelesghettos” make crime prevention more difficult. Although crime rates had been falling for years after the crack epidemic of the 1980s and early 1990s, Compton has in recent years witnessed spikes in the rate of violent crime.

Going back to Compton the first time after some 25 years about 5 years ago was an experience… however, this one was even more of an experience.

The first time I went back five years ago, was when my wife and I were following the UH Football team around and they were playing USC one week and the next week they were playing UNLV in Las Vegas and my wife and I decided to take a road trip with the team.

It was weird that time because I was only planning on meeting up with my grandmother after all these years, but somehow, word got out that I was coming in to town and I had about 20 relatives show up.

It was the morning of the USC vs. UH Football game and I was so overwhelmed by the flood of emotions that happened to me that morning, that I don’t even remember the football game that well… other then the fact that UH got their asses handed to them.

This past trip last week, grandma’s house in Compton had even more surprises for me.

I met up with my one of my half brothers, Kane, whom I hadn’t seen for over 28 years and hadn’t even been in contact until the last two years thanks to the internet at his wifes parent’s house where they gracefully accepted me into their Hispanic household.

Me and My brother reunite after 28 years

My Brother and I reunite after 28 years

After meeting my brother and his wifes family, we followed them into Compton to meet up with my grandmother.

My son, my bro and my grandmother

My son, my bro and my grandmother

When we arrived I knew something was up as there were a lot of cars in the driveway.

A couple of my Uncles

A couple of my Uncles

My bro and I quickly realized that this was going to be an interesting evening when out of nowhere,  my father that I have not communicated with for over 28 years and Kane himself pretty much disowned him as well when he was younger,  strolled into the house.

Dad talking to my brother and one of my "tiny" cousins

Dad talking to my brother and one of my "tiny" cousins

I myself really didn’t have much to say to him at first and didn’t really even know what to say to the guy that has been in the back of my mind all these years… I mean it was him that conceived half of me.

Interesting shirt dad

Interesting shirt dad

I kicked back with my cousins and stayed away from my father for most of the night, because I’ve always told myself that I might ring his neck for some of the things he has done to my family.

Me can cuz "Coach Damu"

Me and cuz "Coach Damu"

It was interesting to hear about some of the stories of some of my cousins and family members that have grown up in Compton.

My bro and cousin

My bro and cousin

By the time folks started to leave… we forgot to gather for a family picture… however, this is a picture of the the “Tucker’s” that remained by the time we did get a chance to take a picture.

A bunch of Tucker's

A bunch of Tucker's

I’m glad I have reunited with my dad’s side of the family and will make a point to  continue to visit them when I get the chances to go to California.

8 Responses

  1. BTW I visited Hawaii as a college student. Dorm mates from USC were my hosts. Oahu only. Greatest two weeks of my life. Loved the summer like rains. No one rushed for an umbrella, is only lasted about an hour. Flip flops were the standard footwear. Even rode the local bus around the island. Bicycled everywhere else. I’m 58 now yet still ride around Compton and surrounding area. I long to return and see the other islands, Damon. Found the blog by accident while Googling Compton. What a surprise! ( I recognized the house immediately!)

  2. I happen to live right across the street from your grandma. Mrs. Tucker has been a wonderful neighbor for years. I knew her husband as well as her son, Harold. He helped me fix my kite as a kid. Great neighborhood. I know she’s going through some health issues right now. We always talked about her garden and she gave some good advice about growing collards. My mom, her longtime neighbor, Mrs. Hill passed away in 2010 at the ripe age of 92. Love your grandma. Tons!!! (BTW) I’m the green house with the green Chevy in the driveway.

  3. I’m STILL proud of you for posting this story.

  4. Touching. Family reunions can be so bittersweet.

  5. Hey Damon,
    This really touched me, thank you for sharing it!

  6. Such a blessing to be reunited after many years. The best is yet to come. Aloha and God Bless.. Carl and Amy

  7. Aloha Damon,

    Mahalo for sharing such a wonderful family reunion. Chicken skin all the way. I’m so proud of you. You’ve come a long way my dear. And to read the above post from your mother brought tears to my eyes.

    Bravo to you both!

    Love and ALOHA,

    Auntie Lynn aka Auntie Pupule

  8. Your gramma still looks so kind and gracious.

    I think Hayden is the best looking Tucker and you are the second best looking one. (But then I see you thru mom and gramma eyes). At least you got to see the one who has been in the back of your mind for so many years… and you managed to NOT strangle him. Good for you.

    And now I have learned that the baldness gene didn’t all come from my side of the family. ;-D

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