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Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Time Event
Glenn Solis
Childhood - Ukraine

          He was born to a penniless young woman in Soviet Ukraine, a decade before the dissolution of the Union. Daria was her name. No real family, not the kind that counted. She sang for a living in what passed for a nightclub in those days. Six nice outfits to get her through the work week, three pairs of shoes. Decent girl, kind to strangers, but never amounting to anything. Born in the wrong time, wrong place, worst of all, born with the wrong voice. A little on the shrieky side.

     Thought her luck had finally turned when she met an American ex-pat named Shawn. They settled down, had Glenn. Shawn was sweet, he was adventurous. He had money. Turns out, the money wasn’t technically his, and whatever sweetness he possessed didn’t make up for the half-dozen or so shady schemes he had going on at any one time, the kind of schemes with consequences. Three thugs knocking the groceries out of her arms and demanding their money back--those kinds of consequences. A brick through the bedroom window for a wake-up call. Those kinds of consequences.

     So she took the infant Glenn and left. It was easy--the leaving part, at least. Shawn would hit the road for a few days at a time on business, or to lay low for a while when one of his schemes went bad, so he wasn’t around to stop her. For a couple years, she lived on the good graces of friends and strangers. Back then, the economy was still strong. People were generous. Shawn came looking once or twice for his runaway family, but Daria didn’t take him back, and, Glenn would later piece together, the guy didn’t really want a family to begin with. So that solved that.

Childhood - USA

     Getting to America was the hard part. Political asylum. Mother and child ended up in New York, living for a time with his uncle Kyle--his father’s brother. Long story. Kyle was the stable brother, the one with responsibilities, with a real job. He took them both in, but he was married, so that arrangement was doomed. Daria found them a room with a Serbian family, who let them stay even when she couldn’t pay. Soon enough, Daria got back on her feet, working unglamorous jobs here and there, ruining her already shaky voice with cigarettes. She put Glenn in school.

     It wasn’t the toughest neighborhood. Wasn’t Disneyland, either. There was no avoiding it--eventually the older kids on the block would pit you in a fight against someone roughly your size, and you had to show what you were made of. Take a punch or two, give some back. End up rolling on the sidewalk with your shirt over your head and your knee in the other kid’s crotch, and it was over. Then you could hold your head up high at school, give somebody lip if they deserved it, and the worst that might happen is a little beat-down. Back then kids weren’t walking around packing heat. Those days were coming.

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