Friday, May 7, 2010
The Million Dollar Park
It is funny how a single object could bring back such vivid memories. I was driving home from work today and I passed "The Million Dollar Park" which is sort of like an inside joke to my family. The park is actually named Nicholas Lia Memorial Park and is located in Staten Island, NY (one of NYC's boroughs).
My brother, Gilbert Orlando Gadson II, has always been in trouble. At the age of two, he drank my hair dye. Yes, I said hair dye. At the age of five, he stole donuts from his kindergarten teacher. That is another post altogether. At the age of 14, he had been suspended from school so many times, we thought he was going to be home-schooled. Gilbert was the sort of kid that got into trouble but you just couldn't help but love him. He had such a kind heart. If anyone in the family needed him, he was there.
But I digress . . . Gilbert was about 13 or 14 years old when I lived in my aunt's house. I lived in the upstairs rooms (two bedrooms and a bathroom) and my aunt had the downstairs rooms (three bedrooms, bathroom, living room and kitchen). One week, my aunt noticed that she had twenty dollars missing. The following week, my uncle noticed that he had money missing. The third week, I was missing money. We knew that there was a thief in the house but we just didn't know who it could possibly be.
One day, shortly after I was missing money, my cousin tells my aunt that he saw Gilbert with money. My cousin asked Gilbert, "Where did you get the money?" Gilbert replied,"In the park. It was on the sidewalk near the grass." My cousin, being curious, followed Gilbert. He said that Gilbert dug up the soil near the bushes in the park and "found" several twenty dollar bills. My cousin then proceeded in telling my aunt and myself. We confronted Gilbert and with an Academy Award nomination, he cried tears and professed that he did not take our money. He adamantly stated that he found the money. This was our reply, " So what now you're finding money in million dollar parks. Where is this park? I need some money right now." Hence, the park's name.
Now that I reflect on that gut-wrenching scene, I realize that I would rather have my brother here and stealing from me than gone resting in an urn in my sister's home.
I love you, hermanito.