Teenagers’ relationships with their parents vary from family to family. Sometimes they’re difficult, and other times there’s a special bond, even when a parent isn’t nearby. Today on Dayton Youth Radio, we hear one student’s story, from Ponitz Career Technology Center in Dayton.
My name is Markus Merritt. I like to listen to music; I like to listen to Drake, Marvin Gaye. His music sounds nice to me. My favorite song by Marvin is "What’s Going On." I'm an oldie for a 17-year-old.
My story is about why my dad's picture means so much to me. The picture is of my dad holding me on my second birthday. In the picture I was so happy. Every time I look at that picture, it gives me a nostalgia feel.
My dad is a very kind and nice person. He's one of those people you can't get mad at. You can't get really really mad at him.
One year on the 4th of July we had a family cook-out. My uncle and my dad were acting like they were lifting like really heavy dumbbells. He was actually making all the grunting sounds of when someone's really lifting a really heavy dumbbell. It was so funny seeing my dad act so weird and goofy, it's like....there's no dumbbell there!
That was really, really a fun day. He's a really funny person to be around. I remember good times like that.
At the moment my dad is not in my life right now because my dad is in jail.
You never find out how much you need a person until they're actually gone.
The day I found out my dad went to prison was a Saturday. I was sitting on the couch, watching TV, just minding my business, as a little kid would do. Then my mom came out to tell me, "Your dad has been arrested."
When she broke the news to me, I didn't show that much emotion, but the second she left, the exact second, I heard a door shut, I broke down.
I love my dad, I really do, and just to hear he went to jail really hurt me because I don't want him to go to jail. Jail is a scary place. I was just devestated.
I can remember each moment like it was yesterday. My mom never told me how long my dad was going to be in jail. Everytime I asked her she would tell me, "Stop worrying about that. You don't need to be worry about how long he's gonna be in there, just know that's he's gonna be out soon."
I've reacently talked to my dad, like 3 days ago. Our conversation is mainly about how I'm doing in school.
He'll ask me, "How do you get to school?"
I tell him my Grandma takes me.
He says, "Does she pick you up?"
And I say, "No, I take the bus home."
He asked, "Who takes you to the barber shop? Do you still go to the same barber?"
I said, "Yeah, 'cause the barber we used to go to made my hairline crooked freshmen year. (laughs)"
It still doesn't feel right going to the barber without my dad.
My dad tells me to thank his family for taking care of me while he's in jail. I had my dad up until the age of 14, and that was the time that I really needed him.
I'm 17 now. I will be graduating in 2019, and the time between my graduation and my dad’s release is two months. He will be getting out in July of this year.
My vision of what my dad is going to see is me...who made through elementary school and high school with ups and downs, and even though I didn’t like school, I pushed myself to keep going and get my diploma.
Markus Merritt is a senior at Ponitz CTC High School. Special Thanks to Ponitz Radio media arts instructors Joanne Viskup and Jeffrey Crowell and to Katie Davis. Learn more at the school's website: http://ponitzctc.org/ Dayton Youth Radio is supported by the Virginia W. Kettering Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council