Clinton St. Quarterly, Vol. 6 No. 1 | Spring 1984 (Seattle) /// Issue 7 of 24 /// Master# 55 of 73

FAMI L Y HOUSE / talked with the District Attorney in Indian Gulch on the phone today. They’ve got bail on Drake set at $10,000. They’ve got him for a stolen car, a count of theft, one of burglary, two more for something else. Several of those 'charges carry maximum 1O-year sentences. Trial date is set for June 22, and then they send him to Harmony to stand trial on another count of burglary, the one they were trying to nail him for, the one that made us keep him in Portland, hoping he’d go into the army before they caught up with him, hoping things would straighten out. He did it all on the day he turned 18. The DA called what he did a spree. I have to look that word up — spree. I told the DA I think Drake needs psychiatric help. He didn’t think so. “He talks perfectly fine to me,” he told me over the phone. “He ain’t seeing no green Martians or anything like that.” From “A Failure to Communicate” By John The passage of time bludgeons us into submission. To challenge it is like a frail man trying to walk on stormy water into the eye of the typhoon and the peace he knows awaits him there. Who's ever made it. Typhoons and time — they drive us to our knees and cause us to invent mythologies, and right there is where we begin to go astray. We cannot tolerate our limitations. Our ignorance. Our mortality. And so we begin constructing a social mythology that we pass on to our children as “the real world.” I had the idea when Drake was born that this would not happen to him. I would personally see to it. I was going to make him impervious to things I couldn’t handle myself. His mother and I — ages 19 and 23 respectively — were living in a single room in a slum tenement in the heart of northwest Washington D.C. She was working as a typist for a rich old German and I was going to a university to learn to be a teacher, although I wasn’t going to send my child to school once he was born. I had a head full of dreams and half-baked ideas. Yes, well, make a long story short. All the ingredients were there for disaster. They were there from the time I first set eyes on Drake’s mother. Fate! She swung the heavy circus hammer down hard and rang the carnival bell of life. My eyes rolled back, my tongue came lollygagging out of my mouth, and my son was born. He was born screaming and he never stopped. By the time we had him tucked into his bassinet in that small room on 15th Street (the landlady banging on the door and asking in a loud, alarmed voice, “What are you doing to that child?”) my elaborate plans that stretched 20 years ahead of the winds of time were already coming unravelled. Bennett * ♦ • ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ <5 f ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ • ♦ • ♦ • • • ♦ • • Yesterday Drake’s parole officer, according to plan, brought him from the county jail and dropped him on our doorstep with the understanding that we’d drive him to Seattle and deliver him to the Family House. A small thing to do, a stopgap measure, but that’s what it’s come down to. I stand on the sidelines like a coach or a waterboy, ready with a bucket of water or a towel or an Ace bandage. A little smelling salts up the nose, some coagulant to stem the flow of blood from a nasty gash in the eyebrow, and then he goes back onto the field. The years have taken their toll, and my grand schemes to keep my son from getting tangled in society’s insane web have been honed to such small services as these. The 20-year game plan has almost run its course, and one of these days when he comes trotting to the sidelines, I won’t be there. Or he'll go trotting back into the game, never to return, and I will always be there. It’s a nice place, this Family House. Nicer by far than I expected. I expected something more like Synanon. These places always have to be somewhat like 8 Clinton St. Quarterly