06 May, 2011


Friday, May 6, 2011 

My mother grabbed the gun under her pillow, pushed me on the floor, and threw herself over my five year-old body.  When the gunshots outside stopped, she did a sort of soldier's crawl to the top of the steps, never letting go of me.  With absolute horror in her voice, she yelled down to her mother,  "Mama! Mama!  Are you and Amie alright?"  Grandma yelled back that they were fine.  Grandma had her body over Amie's tiny body.

Amie was scared and crying, and both my mother and grandmother were visibly upset.  I was emotionless.

We never did find out why there were gunshots outside our house that night, but I knew that every second of every day, my mother lived in incomprehensible terror.

She had learned that there was a plot to kidnap her children.  As I've said before, my mother believed that we had to learn to deal with our lives, and she kept very little, if anything, from us.  We knew that a man named Spider wanted to kidnap us because the feds said we had 30 million dollars hidden away.

We lived one block from the school, but we couldn't walk to school with our friends, and we couldn't play outside.  I remember my mother trying to explain it to me because I was crying about being locked in what seemed like a prison to me.  I childishly told her, "I don't care if Spider kidnaps me!  I want to play outside!" 

Mama tried to make me understand that she didn't have the money to get me back if anyone ever took me.  I told her I didn't care if I came back; I just wanted to play with my friends.  With genuine compassion, she told me that she knew I didn't understand then why it had to be that way, but someday I would understand.

Prior to the night of the gunshots, I slept with my mother in her bed, and Amie slept with my grandmother.  After that night, my mother had us all sleep in the living room together.  Grandma slept on the couch, Mama slept on the love seat, and Amie and I slept in sleeping bags in the living room.  And it was all because of Spider.

It was on that living room floor that one of the most terrifying events of my entire life happened to me.  I must have been dreaming, but it was so real to me.  I heard the front door of our house open, and Spider (whom I had never even seen) was standing there.  I literally leapt out of my sleeping bag on the floor and jumped on my mother on the love seat.  I was sobbing hysterically and I kept screaming, "Spider!"  over and over again.  Mama held me and tried to tell me I was dreaming, but I still sobbed hysterically and screamed that awful name.  When I calmed down, I noticed that Grandma had Amie, and my mother had her gun.

In my memory, it seems like it wasn't long after that night of terror that my mother got a phone call that the news was reporting that Spider had been murdered outside his home.  I remember my mother telling my grandmother the news, and I remember my grandmother's response:  "Oh, thank you, God."

It was one of the happiest days of my life.


  1. I'm sorry you had these experiences as a child, but so happy you care to share them. Your writing is breathtaking. I could actually feel the tension rising in me while reading this post. You are marvelous! And they say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger and I think you are living proof of that! God bless!

  2. WOW!! How scary, that's so scary.

  3. Really scary and really well written.

  4. The tone here is so very different from Glass-Eyed Grady's. I'm sorry you had to go through that. It's so hard to imagine yet your writing makes it so real to me at this moment.

  5. Thank you for so eloquently telling the story of our lives in each of your blog posts and for writing of subjects that for me are still too painful to speak of. I'm so thankful that God gave us each other. Without you, life for me would have been unbearable. God certainly knows what He is doing. You are so very loved.

  6. Christine ButcherMay 7, 2011 at 10:21 AM

    Missie - you're writing is captivating. Thank you for sharing it. I've always admired your intelligence and wit, and knowing you've had these experiences, I admire you even more.

  7. This is truly surreal to read, I just can't imagine a life like that. I love the way you write. These stories if your real life are truly so captivating. Thanks for having the courage to write them.

  8. Write your book Missy......Our life wasn't much diff.....Chicago and the mob, and relatives in the mob in Chi town....All of us Dinsio cousins had it bad...I had it twice...Grand parents from Palermo Sicily with there mob.....girl I could keep on going..But that's my book...Dinsio is just a chapter to me in a much larger book....Of what life as a kid was....Try to live in Chi-town?