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.
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. In 2006, the Morgan Quitno Corporation rated Compton as the most dangerous city in the United States. 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 Angeles “ghettos” 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.
After meeting my brother and his wifes family, we followed them into Compton to meet up with my grandmother.
When we arrived I knew something was up as there were a lot of cars in the driveway.
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.
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.
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.
It was interesting to hear about some of the stories of some of my cousins and family members that have grown up in Compton.
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.
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.