A Letter Long Overdue
By Shelleigh Boyd
I hope this letter gets to the right person. Everyone in our class is supposed to write a letter thanking someone for something. I had a hard time with this assignment. You see, I'm a member of the foster care system, at least for a couple more weeks. See, both of my parents are in prison. I've been in the system since I was four, so I've been here most of my life. I don't remember very much of my childhood. Most of what I do know has been told to me by my therapists, foster parents and the like. Apparently I was pretty screwed up when I was younger; you know, beating up on other kids, throwing temper tantrums, things like that. I have vague recollections of seeing my dad hitting my mom, I least I think I remember that. I do remember her hitting me on a regular basis. I'm still not sure what I did to deserve getting hit. Of course, most of the counselors have told me none of it was my fault--my parents were the ones to blame. I haven't really begun to understand that until now. I'm not saying I understand completely or that I'll ever forget, but I'm learning to forgive them. I've given up hoping to hear them say that they're sorry for what they did. I don't think they'll ever admit to doing anything wrong, which has been the hardest for me to accept. How can you not admit you killed your own daughter? Yep, that's right. My parents are in prison for killing my sister. Like I said before, I don't remember much of my life before the age of four. My most vivid memory of my mom is the time she tried to punish me by sticking my hand in scalding water. I remember I was making faces at the television, then my mama was trying to shove my hand in a pot of boiling water. The next thing I knew someone was grabbing me out of my mom's grip and running out the door with me.
I guess you're wondering just who to give this letter to. I never found out the policeman's name. I just remember this tall man towering over me, then lifting me up and taking me away from my mama. I was screaming because I had no idea what was going on. A few days later he and this older, shorter man came back and broke into my house. My dad had just come home and had beaten mama. I knew I was next so I ran to the couch and hid behind it. The two policemen then broke down the door and rescued me. The short one went over to my mom and the tall one with dark hair hurried over to me, took me by the hand and led me out the door. That was the first time I can remember feeling that someone really cared about me. He spent a long time talking to me afterward. I remember he treated me like a kid and not like a punching bag. He bought me a coke and made sure I was never by myself. Of all my memories of my childhood, those are the ones I never want to forget. I just hope that this person is still working there because I want to let him know that he really did make a difference in a little boy's life. So much so, in fact, that after I graduate, I'm going to college. My goal is to get a degree in social work so I can help other kids like that detective helped me.
P.S.--I did some checking after I wrote this letter. I found out his name was Detective Mike Logan. Please tell him thank you and to remember that he was able to save at least one kid from any further abuse.