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My name is James Joseph Owens – El, I was born February 24, 1952 at University Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.  My mother was Mrs. Ruth Mary Cooper Owens and my father was Mr. Edward Reynolds Owens.  I started my education with my brother’s and sister’s by attending St. Monica Catholic School in 1957.  My siblings were Jerome, Gerald Hays, James Jackson, Louis, Edward Jr., Carolyn, Maurine and Josephine Owens.  I attended the first grade for about six months at St. Monica.  In 1958 my mother and father separated due to my father’s alcoholic rages.  During the early part of 1963 my mother had to be admitted to a mental hospital brought on by my father’s many alcoholic episodes.  Later on in 1963 my mother was back home with my father although still separated.

My mother demonstrated and unrealistic weakness for my father’s charm, in thinking she could change his ways.  She would take him back time and time again with the same outcome, he would always return to his alcoholic ways. Her hope for a blissful family life with my father was a short lived fantasy.  Every time she opened her heart to him he would hurt her in the cruelest manner. My father would revert back to his alcoholic rages throwing up in her face his flagrant womanizing.  My father hurt my mother with his flagrant infidelity. He would taunt her how he could have any women he wanted with the exception of White women.  My father was a high yellow good looking man in appearance.  It was nothing for him to attract a woman he was truly a women’s man.  But for some reason he wouldn’t have anything to do with a White woman.

It was during this tumultuous time the family would visit our grandmother “Sis Josephine” on the weekends.  My grandmother was a great cook with a big heart.  She would feed everyone in the community she didn’t care who they were.  My grandmother would feed us children so much food until we just couldn’t eat anymore.  My brother Jerome and I would sit on the front porch with our father and grandfather Toady Row which was his nick name.  Jerome and I would sit there watching them as they enjoyed talking and drinking their draft beer.  

The Inner Most Circle  of Hell

As told by

The James Joseph Owens-El Story

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