When Mom Steals From Her Kid
One of the hardest things about being a seven-year-old with a drug-addicted mother was realizing why my money and most prized possessions slowly went missing.
Illustrations by Victoria O'May
When I was in second grade, an adult cousin of mine who was a junkyard operator came across a stack of beautiful beaded necklaces and assorted costume jewelry while doing his rounds. Finding he couldn’t leave such pretty things to rot in a landfill, he salvaged them, sterilized them and sent them to me to do with them as I wished. I was seven then and not so enamored with jewelry that I needed some two and a half dozen necklaces in my tiny closet, so I took to the corner of my block to sell them for a dollar apiece. In 1986 I still lived on 86th Street in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn, between 3rd and 4th Avenues. It was an ugly, barren block that served as the conduit between the shopping district of the area and the entrance to the fancy suburban neighborhoods of Shore Road, where most of my affluent classmates lived.
I made sure to accost every yuppie couple that passed my way between the stores and their mansions, charming them with my waist-lengt…