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Thursday, July 29, 2010

The tiger doesn't think the jungle is bad!

When I was entering into the 1st grade at Shadydale Elementary School, we all stood up in Mrs. Hughes class to make our introductions. She gave us the liberty to telling who we were and any other interesting thing that we could share in a brief moment. I had never met any of the other children. I had previously attended Emmet J. Scott Elementary School in Houston’s 5th Ward. I introduced myself as intelligently as I could and shared that I was from 5th Ward. Some of my classmates snickered at this, my interesting thing that I shared. I immediately felt self-conscious and questioned what was funny. Did I stink, were my clothes not up to par, or did I just unknowingly embarrass myself because of where I was from?

You see my parents lived not far from the school, but ALL of the Gamble children went to school close to Maw-Maw. She would have it no other way. She did not like the fact that my parents pulled me out to attend a school close to their house. Where I was from, the people had a great sense of community and it was truly a village…in my eyes. My youth was shielded from the terrors around the corner. My village consisted of 4 aunts, 2 uncles, 2 grandparents, church members and a host of neighbors who respected the Gamble name enough to make sure nothing happened to us in OUR neighborhood. Even the hustlers respected the Gamble name.

Anyway, I digress. When I came home from school that day I was visibly disturbed by something and my father noticed. After prodding me to tell him my issue, I finally spoke up and told him about the event during the day that affected me so much. At this he laughed, which I was not kind to. He told me simply this, “Son, you will understand this when you get older. The tiger doesn’t think that the jungle is bad.” He left it at that. As I grew older and wise enough to know why those kids were snickering in class, I also grew less confident about where I was from. They all seem to come from nice houses, as compared to my grandparent’s home. They all seem to wear nicer clothes than us. Their parents seemed to drive nicer cars.

This stayed with me until I got too High School and again left the 5th Ward to attend another school. This again was a battle between my grandparents and my parents. My grandparents wanted me at Wheatley High in 5th Ward or Kashmere High in Trinity Gardens. These were the schools that my friends from middle school were attending and my grandparents thought that I should matriculate through the same schools that their children went to as well as stay with MY classmates. I agreed but not my parents. They noticed a change in me that dictated I needed to expand my horizons and attend a school that was more multi-cultured. I cringed at going to Sam Houston High but grew to love it and the many friend I made there. It was there that I began to understand what my father said to me years ago, “Son, you will understand this when you get older. The tiger doesn’t think that the jungle is bad.”

Being around other people that were not raised in the same environment that I was raised in made me realize that I was a kid FROM the jungle but not OF the jungle. I realized that others neighborhoods were much worse than the one I was raised in, just in very different ways. I realized that the people from my neighborhood took care of the people from my neighborhood, FIRST. I realized that I was blessed to have been brought up in that environment and blessed to have been toughened and smartened by what my ears heard and what my eyes saw. Things that seemed so major to others were now a second though to me. It was as if I knew things and how they would end before my new peers did. I found that I was a tiger and that the jungle was home and full of lighted places that others considered dark. I realized that my jungle was full of other tigers that I could depend on in a moment’s notice. I realized that the deer wished they were tigers. Man I love the nickel! My name is Trennan Gamble and Mrs. Hughes, I from 5th Ward, Tuffly Park area! I would move back now if I could get my wife to agree. I better leave it there; this one was a fight before the marriage.

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