1990 – Gang Party as an Innocent 18 Year Old

I don’t remember the month, but I do remember it was a warmer evening as I was wearing khaki shorts with a white shirt and clean white tennis shoes.  At the time I was living with my uncle in Lakewood, California and our neighbor, who was a few years older than me, had given notice to his landlord to move.  As I had not lived with my uncle and did not have much in common with the neighbor, we did not know each other well.  On his last night living in the home he decided to throw a party with a few of his friends which my uncle was invited to.

That evening my uncle told me to stay in the house and keep the blinds closed.  My Oma seemed nervous about the neighbor having the party, but I remember being confused on why should be, as it was not the home we lived in that would be trashed from a party, it was our neighbors.  As the evening rolled on I remember being told to sit behind the fireplace to be safe at which point in time my innocent mind started to connect the dots and I realized the neighbors friends must have had some bad connections, though the idea of them being gang members never crossed my mind as I remember thinking, he was a typical “middle class white person”.

After about an hour my uncle decided to head out so he could check out the party but before leaving sternly told me not to leave the house leaving me behind with my Oma.  The lights in the house had been turned off and the only thing providing light in the home was the television at this point.  All the windows had been closed and locked along with the front and back door.  It was getting late so my Oma went to bed and I sat in boredom behind the fireplace waiting for my uncle to come home.

As I often do in life, I ignored what I was told would be best for my health and welfare and headed out to join my uncle at the party.  With nothing in my pockets, not even a house key, I walked out the front door, walked down the patio stairs, down the driveway then turned left on the sidewalk on my way to the neighbors.  As I approached the neighbors house I noticed a big male sitting on the front yard wearing a trench coat with what looked like a AK-47, though I had no idea at the time what the gun was called.  While passing him, I did as I was taught to do from my parents and made sure to greet him and he did the same.  I could see a dozen or so people standing outside talking, smoking and drinking though I can remember wondering how they could hear one another as the music was fairly loud.  I made a sharp left and started up the driveway towards the front door smiling and greeting those I saw along with way all the while noticing they did not greet me in the same positive tone and gesture that I did with them.  As I went through the front door I noticed people at the table putting white stuff up their nose but thought nothing of it and within seconds had my uncle grab my arm and quickly escort me to the kitchen where the neighbor I knew was located.

Once we got to the counter my uncle turned to me and asked if I noticed that I was about to be jumped.  Being the innocent person I was, I had no idea and responded accordingly letting them know I just wanted to check out the party.  They both chuckled about me making it to them without getting beaten up, then my uncle grabbed my arm escorting me out the back door, to the backyard so that we could sneak from the neighbors backyard to my uncles.  He quickly brought me in to the house and started to explain what had happened.

My uncle said as I was walking in there where guys following me looking to jump me in hopes of getting some money, to which I noted I had nothing in my pockets.  He informed they would not have cared and I was lucky to be alive in one piece.  He also told me that it was a gang party and the guy out front was there in case of a drive by shooting which is why he wanted me indoors in a safe location.  As expected, my heart was racing from the excitement and my nerves where through the roof, so I did as instructed by going to a backroom and hanging out for the night.

In the morning I got up early, as I usually do, peaked out the window and saw the normal peaceful neighborhood I had been used to.  A drive by shooting did not happen and my uncle was home sleeping.  The neighbors house was not as trashed on the outside as I would have expected, but I understand the inside had been annihilated.

This was definitely one of my first ventures in to uncharted territories that most people would not even consider putting themselves in, but not my last.  This definitely was one of the many moments in my life that God put a bubble of protection around me, while I put myself in direct area of danger.  This was also the only party with drugs I had gone to and to this day have no actual experience of what that is like.

Have you been in a situation where you felt as if there was a protective bubble around you because your choice to do something should have gotten you hurt but it did not?

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