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When the Smoke Clears....

Issue 6: June 21, 2017

Life will let you get away with something for a while, but sooner or later, you will pay the price.  Everything you do in life causes the effects that you experience.  When you get the bill, be prepared to pay - Iyanla Vanzant....

My name is Mark Anderson A.K.A. Floyd. I was raised by a single mother. My dad was in my life up until the age of four. I remember when he left, I waited on him to return, after a few weeks, I knew he wasn’t coming back. Honestly, it felt like my best friend had left. It’s one thing to never know who your father is but it’s another thing for him to just disappear. He left my mother with four boys, a house note and not to mention my mother didn’t work or drive. My mother had to adapt to single motherhood, even working 3 jobs at a time. I was the youngest so that left a lot of idle time, you know how it goes, “Idle time is the devil’s workshop.” We lived in the Heights, so it wasn’t much to get into. Having family from rough areas in Cleveland and being around friends who had moved from Cleveland to the Heights, gave me another perspective on life….and I wanted a taste of it.

My mother worked nights, so I was out all hours doing all types of illegal activity. The cops in Cleveland Heights were racist when I was coming up. I was put on probation at the age of 12 for what they called “breaking in.”

By the time I was in high school, I was exposed to gang violence. When we joined a group called Kappa Phi Nasty, other “groups” wanted to fight…so we were quickly transformed into a gang. There was a big fight at a game in Shaker Heights and a kid was stabbed and died, for years there were no night games up until a few years back due to that situation. The following year Heights had its first drive-by and I saw my friend Wilber die – he was 14 and I was 15. He got hit by 2 hollow points, the ground was covered in blood and his whole body turned red – I will never forget it.

So much was going on at that time, I ended up getting kicked out of Cleveland Heights High School and had to go to Taylor Academy which is what helped me to graduate. After that I went to California for 6 months to visit my older brother. When I got home, my Grandmother was sick. She told me to go to college because I was smart so I went to Central State, shortly afterward she passed away.

I was 18 and still very wild, I stayed 2 years and dropped out. When I came back, I was back to selling rocks. I was serving from an apartment building on Beulah. I wanted more so I linked up with some friends who had got on with the Jamaicans. They was getting it in the mail and coming up, so I got an address too.  It was 5 of us, we decided to go to Cali, to be our own plug. We spent time in Columbus as well because the boxes were getting caught up in Cleveland. This was “96,” the game was good and wide open. We had girls on trains, planes and letting us send boxes to their houses. Times were good but in this game things can go left at anytime.

Long story short some of my friends went to jail, by the grace of God, I came back to Cleveland. As time went on, I ended up selling powder, living in a nice house, two cars, high fashion clothes and partying everyday. Things began to spiral. I could see the game changing as well as the rules. So I slowly backed away from the game. My cousin, a friend and myself became owners of a property management company. I still had a few white folks I would sell powder to here and there but nothing major. During this time an old buddy and I used to hangout. He too was backing away slowly but he was still affiliated. His partner called me from a throw away and just like that the FEDS were on my line. Before long the FEDS had ransacked my home and I was a little dirty. That’s when my life changed. I knew I was going to do some time. I ended up getting 60 months (my first number).

I am corresponding to you from Federal Prison. We really take freedom for granted but you don’t fully understand until it is taken from you. I miss my mother the most, sleeping on a good bed, eating good food, the skin of a girl, her body, her love, her kisses and her smell, for real. 

 I have also learned “If I keep doing what I’ve always done, I’ll always get what I’ve always gotten.”

My standards are much higher when it comes to my health and well-being. I’ve also learned to honor myself and if I’m done with something I am all the way done, no more half in, half out and that’s with anything.

My mother is “Thee” strongest woman I know. She loved us so much and made many sacrifices for us. The one thing that makes me happy is knowing that my mother is happy. My mother is a very spiritual woman whose prayers are the reason that I am alive today. She also knows that forgiveness is key. Would you believe that after over 30 years my mother and father have re-married? If she is happy, I am happy.

"It don’t matter where you from or how you was raised, the main thing is it’s all up to you and the road you want to travel…just know the cost and know you gotta make the payment."

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Bedford, OH  44146


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