What I saw was him dragging my mom out of the York Hotel by her hair. She screamed. He punched her in the face. We watched in horror as as beat her while dragging her to the truck. All the while, his brother watched, sitting idly by.
Before all of that happened, he tried to teach me Flashcards. I was 6-years-old and more concerned about being a social butterfly in a school made up of future convicts, than to worry about learning the multiplication tables. I stared at the Flash Cards. I felt stupid and weak and insignificant.
But then his attention turned to the whereabouts of my mom, and he took his hatred and violence out on her.
She made it to the truck with only a bloody lip and an eye that was swelling. But he beat her so badly that her head bashed against the truck window, with each blow.
My brother, who was only 2 or 3, sat in between me and "his" brother. I shielded my baby bro from any harm. But when we got home, I remember - vividly - the beating.
And the screams.
And the blood.
And the knife that held that door shut from the hatred and the violence that was separated only by a weak door.
And she screamed.
And yelled for us.
And I remember that being my first memory of the York Hotel.
Shortly after, we moved from that house on 82st and 112 avenue. And shortly after, it was condemned. And demolished. And so was the house after. And the house after. And so on.
The inner city was never kind to us. It killed my family in so many ways. But I remember the bad parts. And the few that were decent.
The "drag" in Edmonton, is better off with out the Cecil, the Cromdale, the York and any of the other scumbag hotels.But you know what? It didn't beat me.