I believe the purpose of the diary is to purge every now and then, to let go of your feelings and emotions and two we count your experiences. Personal diary, to me, is to do all of those things in hiding. For your eyes only. You will say things about people and about experiences that are true to your heart, but without the intent of exposure or hurting anyone. Some of our diaries come with the testimony that when we pass away the contents might then be revealed.
On the other hand, we live in a get-it give-it got-it-now world, where just about every old paradigm has been disrupted. Technology and sharing on social media and Internet has changed to game for sure. So me being a writer, and me being so experienced and savvy and very real, it makes total sense for me to share my experiences on my social media and on my website, for the purpose of edu-tainment, raising awareness, informing, and yes, purging.
Very rarely will you see me shitting on other people, but where it is necessary I will. Some of you who have been following me already know about this story:
I grew up in Mount Vernon New York, lived at 12 Vernon Place on the north side of town for as long as I can remember. As a young boy I grew up on Wonderrama, HR Puff’n Stuff, Sesame Street and the Electric Company. Mom created our world with home made apple turnovers, tunafish casserole, corn & ham bits hidden in our pancakes and her Singer sewing machine.
Ours was the family that had a workaholic for a father, babysitters every now and then, and a very busy schedule of activities. Our activities included mom self importing us into the yearly memorial day parade, riding on our bicycles, with papier-mâché headgear and streamers and… Well… Just picture three kids and an adult interrupting the theme of patriotism with Gilmore-creativity. Indeed, we were the famous Gilmore family of Mount Vernon. If we weren’t singing as a trio in the church choir at the first Methodist Church at the intersection of Summit and Lincoln Avenue, then we were performing before a group of elderly folk at some “retirement home.” They called the managed-care facilities now, but we knew them as homes where old folk resided. If the Gilmore’s weren’t at the YMCA, the YMHA, the local library or scattered in the Cub Scouts or the Brownies, the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, we were towed-off to summer camp where mom was “resourceful” brokering a deal to be the nurse at Camp Trexler, enabled to have her children to attend camp and experience the outdoor life that sleep away camp offered. If not out on those excursions to the beaches, to the plays on Broadway, or to Bear Mountain Park, we were at home there on Vernon Place in that quiet suburb of Mount Vernon New York. Its on Vernon Place where I played with my GI-Joe, built a treehouse and yielded to mom’s loud whistle when it was time for dinner. On Vernon Place I was taught to ride a bike by our neighbor Peter Tarter. On Vernon Place we had the Reverend Michael Fields and his family, a Judge lived down the block, and fine-ass Phaedra Perry’s dad was the famous actor on S.W.A.T. And I don’t know how this happened but, I was paired up with a girl named Jodi with whom I walked to Traphegan Elementary school every day. I don’t know if I was good company, or if I was chaperoning, considering she could probably beat my ass/tomboy that she was. All the while, I’m living in this world with aloof natures, no focus, and most importantly no daddy. Daddy was seen here and there, but most vividly when I needed a spanking. I remember the spankings progress to the switch. (Mom’s weapon) And I remember dad’s weapon was the leather belt. At age 10 dad began to bring me to the south side of town where I took on duties at his deli on Sanford and 3rd. Even leading up to my newfound work experience, dad would bring me here and there to his growing chain of stores. They progress from grandma’s card shop on Prospect Avenue in the center of Mount Vernon and eventually dad had a chain of 3, 4 or 5 delicatessens on the West End, on the east and on the south end of Mount Vernon. It seemed like dad grew an understanding of supply and demand, despite the amputation of his leg do to a baseball accident when he was 18 or 19.
So, at 13 I learned quickly and helped courageously until I eventually was running the shop behind the register even when dad slipped away. Now that I’m older I understand that is slipping away was more than just business since I currently have a half-brother who’s a few years younger than me.
Coincidentally I also have an older half-brother. To say “Poppa was a Rolling Stone” would be an understatement considering that he ran a series of businesses and maintained a few “allegiances” with different females. Considering dad was missing a limb, he sure made up for it with his third leg.
With my roots being so deep in Mount Vernon, you’d bang yourself in the head wondering why the principle of my elementary school, Traphagan School on the North side of Mount Vernon, would call me out of class down to her office
and proceed to prosecute me and beat me for living in New Rochelle while going to her school in Mount Vernon. Even with the lack of technology back in the 70s, sustaining a twisted face was not beyond me. That’s the only expression I could come up with against these allegations. And not to mention, 2 years earlier (in the 3rd grade) I was chosen to perform as “The White Rabbit” in our school play Alice in Wonderland. This was an absurdity amongst the parents at the school, since I was Black, and that Alice was White and the intimacy of it all… my positioning beside her… they tried so hard to get me to give up that role, but I was just too talented a singer and performer. No White boy in the school could hold down the role like me. And then there was the resourceful mother I had with the Singer. She made the outfit for me, complete with the ears that stood up over my head, wired inside of white fur and silk.”I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date. No time to say hello/goodbye, I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!” Those lines are branded in my memory, but also branded in my memory was (fast-forward 2 year) 5th Grade… Mrs. Maxim’s office. I recall she charged me with lying and had me bend over while she brought the paddle to my ass again and again. Later on, around the age of 13 or so I sure did go to New Rochelle schools such as Albert Leonard and New Rochelle high school. But of course that was me as a teenager. But, the adolescent, Mr. Gilmore’s son, the one who played team sports on the baseball team’s and perform duties at his dads deli and sang in the choir at church (yeah, ME) was suddenly blamed and persecuted and assaulted by the school principal when I was in the fifth grade. In fact, the punishment carried on. My fifth grade teacher sort of took the baton from the principal and held me back from “recreation.” Recreation was sort of the “getaway” for our class during each day. So not going to recreation was considered punishment, not to mention the shame before other students. Today a child might tell the teacher to go to hell and child might go anyway to recreation. LOL but back then in the 70s we were by default to be obedient. “The Golden Rule.” And I can vividly remember how
I was “held back” and how Mrs Zinman directed her class pet, (I remember her well as Ana Farda) to brush the fertilizer and dirt from the shelving where the plants were positioned on to the carpeted floor. With the dirt on the floor I was ordered to get on my hands and knees/to sweep up or pick up what Ana tossed there. This was the further punishment that I had to deal with in the fifth grade underneath the teacher Mrs. Zinman.
Mom and dad could never get the lady’s name right they always called her Zimmerman. But her name was Zinman, and in my eyes she was no better and no worse than the school Principal Mrs. Maxim. naturally, now that I’m a world renowned author, I will use this smidgen of content in a book. But I wanted to give you some insight and perspective as to some of what I’ve had to deal with as a kid growing up in Mount Vernon, going to Mount Vernon schools, progressing through life without focus, stumbling into the USMC, into an Honorable Discharge, into the streets and clubs of NYC, into prison, into college, into entertainment, into allegiances with Mike Tyson, Ashford & Simpson and Dougie Fresh… into business deals with Russell Simmons, TV interviews with Brandy, Nancy Wilson and Phyllis Hyman, into my landmark 14-book publishing deal, onto and Arts & Leisure cover story of the New York Times, TIME Magazine, and ABC World News, and eventually here, where I reside in Conyers Georgia.
It’s a long, complicated, intense and detailed journey with many challenges that come my way daily, monthly and yearly, but it’s a journey I wouldn’t give up for anything in the world. No, I wasn’t ever raped, nor have I ever raped or killed anyone, so in God’s eyes i’m what you might call “no Angel.” But I’m certainly not the derelict that you would expect me to have become considering my wayward path and awkward beginnings.
In my eyes, I really haven’t done that bad. My only regret is the women that decided to take my children from me. When we are young we make dumb decisions that have life-long consequences. And in New York, no matter what choices they make, women have the upper hand of the law on their side. So until I complete my own circle of life, I pour my energy into my work and my talent and the satisfaction of my small army of devoted fans. I live within my means and I enjoy the peace, the seclusion and the testimony that I’ve created. Relentlessaaron
Below, the map of Northern Mount Vernon and the walk I took to school each morning. Not dangerous, perilous or confusing. Grades 3 thru 6
Before Traphegan, I attended Lincoln School in Mt Vernon, except they tore that down and re-built, moved all the students to different elementary schools around town.
Years later, I built my following on the streets of New York. I created a magazine, I produced live shows and events, and I earned the name “Relentless”
Eventually I earned enough fans to get the attention of one of the world’s biggest publishers. I was no longer just a “Mount Vernon cat.” I was going global.
My story was magnetic and all the worlds biggest press and media came running to my door. I made it mom! I really made it!!!
Click the picture below to watch the feature on ABC World News Now