Single parent home, below middle class, witnessed a lot of crime, yea yea we know. I came out of Gary to a not-so unfamiliar story. My mom worked at the post office, two kids, never married and I was actually considered one of the spoiled kids in the neighborhood. Sadly, this story isn’t unique and I’m definitely not trying to minimize the struggles of all my fellow hood alumni. Since you may or may not be familiar with circumstances of my origin, (forgive me for profiling Urban Twist’s reading demographic) let me tell you about my lovable home town of Gary, Indiana.
G.I., The “G”, Gangsta Island, and my favorite Scary Gary.
The King of Pop forgot all about us and Glenn “Big Dog” Robinson came back every so often to bless our local weed men with some of that fresh Milwaukee Buck money. Thanks Glenn, if nothing else, he kept the economy rolling…. in a way.
You can ride down Broadway, one of Gary’s major streets, and see the remnants of what was once a thriving downtown area. The Palace Theater still has the marquee “Jackson 5 tonight”. Chicago let us borrow their two most prominent gangs; Vice Lords and Disciples. Box Chevy Caprices got us from A to B and the melodic sounds of Twista and Do or Die gave us a sound track.
Picture a small Midwest city of about 100,000, wanting to be accepted by Chicago yet desperately seeking to shed any annotations of the farmer life of of the southern Indiana corn fields. A confused step kid nestled in Northwest Indiana. The Region. I remember my freshman year at Ball State University when a white girl from Carmel, IN laughed after I told her where I was from.
“My daddy calls it the armpit of the Midwest.”
Fuck you, bitch.
I remember a time when I once, for lack of better words, was ‘proud’ that we had the highest murder rate per capita. It was the only way Gary was ever mentioned with the likes of Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans and Camden, NJ. Before you write me off, understand, I was young, dumb and… well you know. This was also before that statistic really hit home. Sure I KNEW dudes who’d been killed or even killed someone, but it had yet to really ‘touch’ me. I actually had graduated high school and was into my sophomore year of college until, on a school break, I came home and witnessed a close friend murdered over nothing. Absolutely nothing. If I told you exactly how the argument started you might even chuckle. Again, he died for nothing.
I still love Gary. Not enough to move back but I love her still none the less. I have a lot childhood friends that’s doing very well for themselves there so I don’t want to insinuate making a home there is Loserville. You just gotta avoid the bullshit. And there’s a lot of bullshit to avoid in Gary.
Home sweet home.
If you ever stop through, make sure you grab a polish from the Village and get a pound of shrimp from Rays. I wouldn’t fuck with Harold’s in the “G”. If you’re passing through, you might as well wait and go to the one in Chicago.