But she confided that she had trouble at home, although she made me promise not to tell anyone what was going. I told her she could stay with me, even though Brick had banned me from having friends to stay over. It was easy to sneak sam into my bedroom. All we had to do was open and then slam the front door in the evening, to give the impression that she had gone home. During the day, sam and I started skipping school together with a gang of other truants. We would discuss between us whose parents were out working and in whose apartment we could therefore hang out for the day. It was rare for any of us to drink or do drugs, though.
Homeless to, harvard
On the rare occasions my teachers saw me, some of them didnt even know my name. Shortly after I turned 13, Child Welfare took me into care. I was sent to a residential centre where girls with behavioural problems were realization evaluated. My time there comes back to me now only in flashes of smells, images and sounds. I was, for that period, a witness more than a participant in my life. After about six months, it was decided that I would go and live with ma and Brick and Lisa after all. Ma registered me at a new junior high school. My class had already been together for two years and were in tight cliques. But one pretty latina girl offered to hang out with. Her shoes name was Sam and we fast became friends. Sam was bold she could make an ordinary day suddenly thrilling.
Liz with friends Edwin and Ruben at her graduation from Harvard in 2009 a year or so later, ma and Daddy finally separated and ma moved in with a new boyfriend. His name, or the nickname essay that everyone knew him by, was Brick. He was a security guard at a fancy art gallery in Manhattan. Ma liked the fact that he didnt use drugs he just drank to ease his nerves sometimes. He had his own apartment in a neighbourhood much nicer than ours and Lisa moved there with ma but I couldnt bear to leave daddy on his own. Being alone with Daddy meant my truancy worsened. I spent most days on the sofa eating cornflakes and watching The Price is Right while daddy slept or went on a drug run.
Ma, please, whats wrong? Lizzy, im sick, i have aids. A hot quiver shot up from my stomach. Are you going to die, ma? Abruptly, ma stood up and reached for the door. Well be just fine, she said before walking out. I cried to her to come back. But she didnt reappear.
As well as being blind, ma turned out to have the same mental illness that her mother had had. Between 19, she suffered six schizophrenic bouts, each requiring her to be institutionalised for up to three months. The combination of her illness and her and Daddys chronic drug use pushed their relationship to breaking point. As their fights became increasingly bitter, lisa and I locked ourselves in our rooms, her with her music, and me with my books or rather Daddys ever-growing supply of unreturned library books. Slowly i read through his collection of true crime, biographies and random trivia. Eventually, i began reading fast enough to get through one of his books in a little over a week. Just after my 11th birthday, i woke in the early hours to find ma sitting at the end of my bed, a beer bottle in her hand. I love you, pumpkin, she was saying as tears streamed down her face.
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At school I was clearly different. My dirty clothing hung heavily off my body and I was aware of the use stench I gave off, so i knew the other pupils must have been aware of it, too. Who cares what people think? But the shame gnawed. I pleaded with ma and eventually she allowed me, against what she called her better judgment, to stay at home sometimes. One morning, on one of the days I didnt go to school, there was a knock at the door. I was the only one awake.
From the hallway, i heard a woman and a man talking. They usana knocked again before sliding a piece of paper under the door. When they had gone, i picked. The letter ordered the parent(s) or guardian of Elizabeth Murray to phone. Doumbia regarding her truancy from school. I ripped it into tiny pieces and shoved it in the bin.
At nights, ma would go to the local bars and beg until she had gathered the five dollars she needed for a hit. Daddy would then slip out to a dealer while lisa screamed at both of them: we didnt eat dinner, and youre going to get high? I knew what she was saying made sense. But things werent always so clear for. Ma and Daddy had no intention of hurting. They simply did not have it in them to be the parents I wanted them.
I remember once ma stole five dollars sent to me from my fathers mother inside a glittery birthday card. I was furious and demanded that she gave me back my money. She responded by flushing the hit she had bought down the loo. Im not a monster, lizzy, she cried. I slept on the subway and on park benches under the stars. I forgave her again when she sold the Thanksgiving turkey provided by the church so that she could buy another hit. And I forgave her when she attempted to sell Lisas winter coat. The drug dealer refused to take a childs coat on principle, so ma went back out later the same night and sold the toaster and my bike to get her cocaine instead.
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Lisa and I would dine on Happy meals in front of the tv to the sound of spoons clanking on the kitchen table. We knew what they were doing. Within five days, the money would be gone and for the rest of the month we lived on egg and mayonnaise sandwiches. Lisa and I hated them, but they got us through the hours when our stomachs burned with hunger. I started school in the summer of 1985 and, from the outset, i tried to be a good student. It just didnt professional work out that way. Maybe getting more sleep would have helped, but there was too much going.summary
He and ma connected immediately, but instead of going on dinner dates they would take cocaine to central Park, where they would sprawl in the moonlight and get high anchored in each others arms. From left: liz with her 'ma' in 1985; aged three on Long Island, new York. A year or so after my parents met in 1977, my elder sister Lisa was born. By the time i followed in September 1980, daddy was serving a three-year prison sentence for ppt a fraud racket involving prescription painkillers. Amazingly, instead of falling apart, my mother proved to be a sober and houseproud single parent. But once daddy returned home, dirty dishes sat untouched in the sink for days and we rarely went to the park any more. Ma was legally blind due to a degenerative eye disease shed had since birth. This meant she was entitled to welfare and our lives revolved around the first day of every month when her payment was due. On that day, food would be abundant.
marbles. But i also know that by then she had been using drugs for four years. The eldest of four children, she was raised by an alcoholic father and mentally ill mother and she had started smoking grass to escape the violence and abuse of her home life. Later, she ran away and, between sleeping rough and earning her living through prostitution, she moved on to speed and heroin. Daddy was one of her dealers. They began hanging out together when she was 22 and he was. Daddy was also the child of a violent, alcoholic father but his middle-class mother had tried to secure her only childs future by holding down two bookkeeping jobs in order to send him to private school. Midway through a psychology degree, however, he had abandoned his studies for the drug trade.
Then, at the very summary last minute, they would shut the door, blocking my view entirely. One evening, when the door was closed on me again, i didnt budge but sat and waited outside. When my mother finally emerged, i raised my arms in the air and said, in a singsong voice, al-l-l do-ne. Taken off guard, my mother asked disbelievingly, what did you say, pumpkin? Al-l-l do-ne, i repeated. She yelled at my father: Peter, she knows! And Daddy laughed while ma stroked my hair. Thrilled to have found my place in their game, i sat outside the kitchen whenever they spread the spoons from then.
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Growing up with drug-addict parents, liz murrays salon education soon suffered. But after a stint living on the streets as a teen, she turned her life around, resumed her studies and secured a place at one of the worlds elite universities. Despite her tough upbringing she became a straight-A student. I was three years old when I first realised that my mother and father shared strange habits. They would retreat into the kitchen of our New York apartment and spread spoons and other objects across the table while communicating in quick, urgent commands. I was not supposed to bother them, but I watched from the hallway. Water was needed just a few drops from the tap and so were shoelaces and belts.