Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Boy’s Life: Tarae Graves

This sixth-grader at Miles Park Elementary School may seem tiny, but he makes up for his size with a huge heart. With four brothers and sisters, Tarae is proud to be the man of the house, helping his mother and his stepfather take care of his 7-month-old brother, Rome. The family currently lives in Harvard neighborhood, and hopes to move to a larger house soon. For now, Tarae splits his time between his mother’s house and his father’s house down the street, and wants to become a police officer.

I worry about my family because when I’m not there, they don’t have nobody to help them. Sometimes, I put Rome to sleep. He likes his purple cover, so I’ll give him his purple cover and I rock him until he falls asleep. He’s expensive. He’s a chunky baby because he drinks milk a lot, so we have to keep buying milk. He nibbles on everything. He gets mad sometimes because we have to put him in the playpen — that’s jail for him.

I clean the house for my mom. I do the dishes, I sweep the floor, I vacuum, I do my room, I wash the walls, and I keep the bathroom clean and smelling good. My mom is special to me. If I help her, she’ll give me a reward for doing that. She doesn’t have to tell me every day to do it, I just automatically do it on my own.

My god-sister is Miracle. She’s 10. She lives across the street from me. My mom and Miracle’s mom are like sisters. My neighbor’s kids are always talking about my sister and they’re always trying to jump my sister, but I won’t let them. I guess because she’s little they think they can bully on her. I just tell Miracle to come in the house with us, and we’ll just listen to music. That’s why my mom keeps us in the house, because they’re always trying to jump me too. They think I’m little, and when I protect my sister, they want to get on me.

I want to be a police officer. I think the police academy is going to be hard for me because you’ve got a lot of training to do. If you want to be a police officer, you have to go to school, get your high school diploma, go to college and then you’re on your own. They make a lot of money. It’s awesome when I’m watching them take people to jail and see all the guns they have. Their uniforms are awesome, and they get to speed in their cars. I wish I could do that. That’s going to be me one day. — as told to James Bigley II

[Editor’s Note: As an extension of the “A Boy’s Life” feature in Cleveland Magazine’s March issue, we will be publishing additional boys' stories on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the month. For all these stories, click on the “A Boy's Life” tag.]

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