Death of a New Pair of Shoes

Sreejit asked his dad, my ex-husband, to write the story of his life. This post is about his childhood and young adult years. While parts of it are difficult (sad) to read, it is also very inspirational. I hope you find it as moving as I do.

The Seeker's Dungeon

A Memoir by Alfred Poole

He watched with fascination as the salesman measured his feet. He did not remember any one taking the time before. His toes were already permanently curled from wearing shoes too small. The youth center counselor who had become attached to the young man knew he was headed to reform school the next day and was determined to make sure the shoes fit. Pops had visited the Youth Center the weekend before and left the money for shoes. Several weeks after Ms. Carrie died, Pops moved in to Ms. Annie Mae’s house and although he never visited during regular visiting hours, he had stopped by several times during the last month on weekends to leave small amounts of money for toiletries. He knew that this was his way of staying connected. He could not ever remember Pops giving him a hug or even holding hands, on…

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6 thoughts on “Death of a New Pair of Shoes

  1. I just finished reading this. What a heartbreaking childhood! As I read through Al’s earlier years, it was quite evident how strong, intelligent and clever he was. When I saw the photo of him in his youth, I couldn’t believe how much Sreejit looks like him! I imagine writing it was healing.

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    1. I think what you say is very true although I will have to look at the photo again. Al worked on it night and day for months. I will make sure he sees your comment!

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  2. Very powerful sharing. Your memories of your life as an African American man growing up in the south enriches my life tremendously. I grew up in New York City and Long Island New York where there was an abundance of different cultural backgrounds present, except African American. In all my years at school up until college I had about 4 African American fellow class mates. And I can remember them all. Of course, there were large numbers of African Americans around, but they were mostly kept to surrounding neighborhoods. I was aware of this racism at an early age and was deeply embarrassed by it and too introverted to do much about it. It was only after moving to Venice, California that I experienced having African American neighbors and then friends. What a breath of fresh air that experience was! As a fine artist I purposely choose to exhibit my paintings in one of the few African American owned galleries in Los Angeles in a primarily African American part of LA. That was a joyful experience.
    When I first began yogic practice and began to go inward I ran into a wall of grief that created 3 days of almost constant crying. When I tried to explain to someone that I was feeling overwhelmed by an acute physical awareness of the history of human cruelty expressed towards African Americans in this country I only received eye-rollings from them. Even today, awareness of the depth of bigotry alive in this country brings me pain: so much deeply ingrained ignorance.

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