Edited Audio Transcript
Bobby: Okay, so we can just start now.
Bobby: I was born and raised here in 1965. First generation uh, coming from Ireland, my parents came from Ireland. When I grew up around here in the 60’s it was, it was all Irish. Uh, all the elderly ladies used to talk to you in Galick and all, it was uh, very uh, tight nit community where you could, you know always get something to eat, always get help, you know, the neighbors looked out for each other, there was no uh, robbery, burgulary, none of that stuff you know. We, we got in trouble as kids and all but that was just about it.
You know I grew up as uh, you know a normal kid, no uh family or physical, or medical uh abuse, uh, mental abuse uh. My mom raised four of us, uh, I have two sisters, one brother. Two sisters that have been doing very, very good. Uh, one brother, he’s in prison again, my brother Danny uh. I have four children, I had my first child when I was fourteen and graduated highschool. I went to uh a trade school. I went to the penitentary when I was a young age, uh I spent close to twenty years straight in the penitentary. I got a degree in psychology in the penitnetairy, plus I got a degree in uh street knowledge in there. I came home, decided that I didn’t really want that life because uh many a nights in prison that when I thought I was a man I cried in my cell you know. You know, knowing and thinking that this was not the life I wanted and that the ripple efffect that it caused destroyed my family and my children.
But I came home and uh, when I seen my children they were all like of age, adults, I didn’t even really like know them. They were my kids and all and I can say it but I didn’t know them. You know and it hurt me real bad, you know. And uh still to this day as being out of jail 6 and a half years uh, prison has truly uh, uh did a number on my mind mentally you know I’m still I’m mentally you know messed up from that you know. But uh, growing up through here I had uh do what I had a do to survive you know which was uh, get involved, become a product of the environment. I got into selling drugs and all that fast life. I wound up getting shot. You know, broken back, I was blinded by, beaten up by the Philadelphia Police Department uh, I was shot by the Philadelphia Police Department, uh. I, but a lot of good things came out of it and a lot of bad things came out of it. Uh, I’m, uh, I guess I can say I’m one of the, the very few that uh, you can say made it and you know and well I didn’t fully make it, I’m still here you know but uh I made it, I, I learned right from wrong, wrong from right, always kept a regular job, I always kept a legal job growing up even doing what I did. I kept everything undercover, you know and dressed nice and uh went to school, you know tried to listen to my parents, just to cover up the things that I, I did on the side.
Edited Audio Transcript
You know my daughter’s uh, boyfriend, he’s uh in the law enforcement you know he’s a warrant unit cop, he’s a cop. My brother-in-law is uh, he owns his own construction business, he worked for Gem Refridgeration for like 19 years till they laid him off. But they, they make it you know. My sister is uh, she’s one of the top nurses at University Pennsylvania Cancer Center, she’s uh, the boss of like 152 nurses. My other sister is uh you know, she works there too, my daughter, who my sister raised she has followed in my sisters footsteps…
JS: So what do you think happened to you and Danny then?
JS: You know, I mean you’re talking about your family, how they’re, how they were able to maintain these jobs and stay off the streets… You know… Whats?
Bobby: Liking to get high. Wanting to get high.
JS: Why? What was it? Where did that start? Where did getting high start?
Bobby: Uhhh, through uh, tradgedies that happened throughout the, throughout my life and uh, trying to suppress the pain because I didn’t uh, wanna show people that, that I was, that I hurt, you know like everybody else, so I would suppress it you know. I didn’t want people to know that I could hurt because growing up back then, showing that you can hurt, or a weakness was uh, was uh, it was a reason to pounce and pray you know and you suppressed all that. And growing up around here you either became uh, uh a burgurlar, uh a pool shooter, uh an alcholic or a gambler you know and I became a professional pool shooter uh, I gambled, I uh played cards you know to make my own money and uh, my mom raised four of us on her own you know, so it was hard, you know, I had to do what I had to try to do to help her. And uh my grandmom and them was strict, strict Irish coming off the boat and you know and the generation right before them came with the famine you know so it was, it was like uh, it was rough man. We, we, we uh, we had to do what we had to do you know and uh even though if you didn’t like what you had on the table to eat you ate it just to be proud and always said that, wow it was good thank you it was a vey good dinner you know.
Edited Audio Transcript
Yeah I started using uh, heavey drugs when I was twelve. Like my real father died when I was ten. I uh, I started getting in, smoking weed, you know and all in school and started getting in trouble then but by the time I was twelve I was uh doing Heroin and all. And uh, selling drugs to support my habit and you know and stuff like that… But uh…
JS: So when I saw you back in, it was 2010 in the summer up on the tracks with Danny and your other buddy, I mean you guys didn’t seem like you were really having a hard time addiction back then, you were talking about the D-Street Boyz, you were talking about…
Bobby: Well, we, we didn’t, we didn’t because we uh, we, we talk about that to try to you know bring back some good times because there is no good times out here no more, we try to talk about when, back when, because we spent so much time in prison that we think of like back when we had so much fun, that was our youth, we lost our youths in the penitentiary so, you know and when you’re away that long you tend to loose time you like get caught in a time warp, because nothing changes, you know, everything’s the same exact thing every single day. You wake up you go to breakfast, you go to breakfast you go to work you come back from work you go to lunch you come back from lunch you count, you take a long nap, you go back to work, you come back from work, you go get medication, you go to dinner, you go uh out to the yard, when it’s night time you come in, you go to medication you go back in, you go to sleep and by a quarter to nine you’re in your cell ready to go to work for the next day you know. Same shit everyday, nothing changes., so you, you tend to get caught in a time warp. And uh… It’s the same, same shit every day.
JS: When did you um first go to jail and when did you get out?
Bobby: I went to jail in 1989 and came home in 2007.
JS: Why were you in jail? What was the crime?
Bobby: Uh, I sold a lot of drugs and was involved with a lot of like, stuff that had to do with shooting guns and all. Most of it was uh selling drugs and collecting money that was owed to me and it caused me getting into a lot of trouble.
JS: So when people didn’t pay you money that they owed you you had to get violent with them?
Bobby: You do what you had to do to get your money, you know, just like everybody else, you do what you got to do to survive. That’s why it’s called being a product of your environment. If you ever really look it up in the dictionary it’s, it’s, and even if you look at uh, addiction up in the dictionary it, it means to be enslaved. You’re enslaved to something you know. And then again some people do it because that’s what they like and that was Me, I, I liked it that. You know and, and part of it was that like, I was uh… When I was growing up I was so hurt and, and uh on the inside and I suppressed so much of it because I seen it in my mom and them and you know being hurt and growing up and struggling that I didn’t care about it, how other people felt, I wanted people to feel the way that I felt, but it just didn’t turn out that way. You know you can’t make a person feel the pain that’s going through your heart, you know everybody has different feelings.
Danny, Tor & Bobby (pictured left to right) pose on the tracks.
Edited Audio Transcript
Danny: Straight Irish Boys, we’re from D Street.
Tor: They’re only a few left.
Danny: We, we, we was the hardest white boys that ever walked through Kensington. Period.
Bobby: And we was born and raised here.
Danny: From days when Kensington was Kensington, when the blacks couldn’t come through here until the fucking beginning of the 2000’s the white boys from D street ran this whole fucking area.
Bobby: Back in the 60’s and all when I was growing up there was nothing but pool halls, bars and boxing rings on every block.
Danny: And the white boys from D Street, D and Cambria ran this whole area. We were the hardest things that ran this thing. We were the white boys that were hard.
Bobby: You put that, you put that on TV, and, and then, ask, ask, and ask for uh, you put that on, do something about that and then ask for feedback from it and see what you get…
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Bobby: This is for those who are gone, we miss you, we love you’s and we hope to see you soon. Back when we were there, Irish Boys dead all the way.
Danny: Yo, you see this here. You see how I got it right here, Irish Boys, um. It say’s D Street. That’s who we are. We’re D Street Irish Mob.
Tor: Original, ORL.
Danny: That’s who we are, all the way.
Bobby: See, you should, you should call the documentary Hard Times.
Danny: This, this is for real, we were some real hard killers up here homie.
Danny: Lot of our homies are doing life.
Bobby: It was hard growing up here.
Danny: Lot of our homies are doing life and shit up here man.
Bobby: Lot of our homies died.
Danny: Died, lot of homies got shot. Lot of homies got shot… We was already on 20/20, 48 hours. You name it we was on it holmes. We was, we was on some real hard… I just did 15 years. My brother did 17. (inaudible) just left did 15. All for being the Irish crew.
Edited Audio Transcript
I was thinking I coulda got a good picture of this when it first happened.
That’s your trophy.
It’s God’s way of sayin’ look at your arm, you ever think you can do that again look down at your arm?
Say that again for me.
It’s God’s way of telling me if I, if I think I can do these drugs again, shoot Herion in my arm, its like, he gives me a little sign, like look down at your arm you idiot.
That’s like me with these tattoos. When I got sober, I put them on my arms so if I ever decide to get it in again, my children, I’d have to look them in the eye before I actually brought it up to my face. I got them right after I stopped drinking in 05.
Can I photograph your arms?
Yeah, na. Hello? Mike, you’re gonna loose the call but I’ll call you back when I get out to the car all right? All right man, bye.
You wanna shoot, you wanna take a shot? I don’t mind.
Yeah, yeah, I think that’s really powerful what you just said.
That’s the truth.
Can you tell me a little about what it’s been like for you to be a sponsor?
I’ll tell you this much, um, 2 weeks before New Years, uh I had eight guys, I had two women in the process and um, in a very short time, all of them fell to the wayside. I’ve got one sponsee left here in Philly, and I got one sponsee left in New Jersey, both male, uh, don’t know what happened to the females, I don’t know what happened to the other men. They took their will back. It’s a pretty powerful disease. It can come at you any time through many things, a hundred forms of fear. If I remain in the moment I can help anybody, but if I don’t I can’t even help myself. Um, if I remain conscience of my higher power throughout the day and when I become uh, self-conscience of my own will returning, it removes these things from me. Uh, when I do that I become responsible. I become aware of the sickness, the demonic things that are uh, at work, the unseen war that has been revealed to me through this process, for I was unaware of these things prior and uh, its madness out here, it’s a lawless game. I have a mental defense provided to me from Christ. Without that I am nothing. I help no matter who is put in my path. For that I am grateful. I stay focussed. My mind and my soul, they’ve become centered. Uh, that’s all I really got. I’m Paul and I’m an addict.
Beautiful day out.
Yes, it’s so nice isn’t it.
It’s fucking great man. Days like today make me happy.
I was glad I came down here this morning. I had no purpose this morning when I woke up. No, no nothing really to do. Something said go to The Stop, somebody always needs help over there. And uh…
You gave me some hope today man.
Came through, met some people, not even by like choice, just came through and it starts with a cup of coffee. You know, 50 cent. Best show in the world. The last stop man. That’s no shit. Hahahaha.
This place is like… This place is better than Club Med man, for real for real. Hahahaha. You know there’s certain demons I’m still dealing with like cigarettes and coffee but the greatest thing I ever achieved from this goal, cause like I’ve had sober time before and was, I was still lost and pray on helpless women and this is the longest I’ve been without hurting anybody and uh that’s great, that’s great man, not even hurting myself or hurting anybody else, that’s the best feeling in the world. You know, not worrying about money, not worrying about my next meal, everything’s been provide like they promised, you know, all I had to do was be willing cause I can tell you for the first 6 months, 8 months of my recovery I hated my sponsor cause he always told me the fucking truth and every time the phone rang and I seen it was his number man and I’d get all pissed off cause I don’t wanna here what he’s got to say cause it’s gonna make me look at my shit, and then, I started changing something, it just started happening and I ran with it, like uh, like I tried to tell you earlier, just ran with it and um my mind started to change and then my body started to change like they said it would. Cause I couldn’t do nothing on my own man. My best thinking got me a hot cup of coffee and a seat in an AA meeting. You know what I mean.
This my babies. Carly’s the oldest, Buckey’s the youngest, I got him first.
And look up at me. (Click) Got it.
That was a really good story. I appreciate you taking the time.
Well, I always said the worst story I ever heard was my own cause I lived that shit. Truth.
How long have you been clean?
Long enough. All I really got is the moment. That’s what we all got. I can’t change five minuets ago and I don’t know what the hell is gonna happen, so I ripped the rearview out of my car, just steady moving forward man cause you can either move forward or you’re stopped. And when you stop in life, you’re just existing man, no purpose, that’s the loneliest feeling I ever felt. Just praying on others like my sponsor told me man it was like, I was a caterpillar, and he said, what does a caterpillar do and I said you know, it basically just eats all day, he said yeah it takes life, takes plants that make oxygen, just a taker of life and then he said, then you go into a cocoon which is like the 12 steps and um what happens in the cocoon? He said you become liquefied and Christ builds you back up into this beautiful butterfly and then you’re a giver of life just going around pollinating and making more trees and shit and I was like man I could, I could, that has depth and weight, I can believe that at first you know what I mean. So I just ran with that. Simple things like you know. You say in every one of us there’s a white wolf and a black wolf and uh whatever one I feed that day is gonna get stronger and what happens when you’re feeding one and not the other, the other will diminish, so it can no longer go against the one, it can’t even fight it has no energy, no strength. So if I’m constantly feeding the white wolf, and sometimes you feed the black one you know, but if you’re feeding it more white than the black, white’s gonna get stronger and stronger and stronger and the black never fully goes away but he has no attack. Cannot harm you anymore. I was like, that’s awesome! And that’s an old Cherokee teaching you know, and like he (Paul’s Sponsor) would paint pictures like that for me and like um, one of my favorites was like, I’m in a hole when I first came around in 05, uh, I’m in a hole and I can’t get out and I can’t see, I can see the top lip but I can’t reach it and you get all these people throwing you rope. So what you do, you grab the rope and you start pulling yourself up. But your human strength can’t, isn’t suffice, and they let go of the rope and you’re back in the hole again. And he said well, I’m here to tell you I’m getting down in the hole wit ya, I’m a get you out first, and then I’ll worry about myself. I was like, that’s awesome. Yup, I’ve been with him since man, he led me to the promised land.
I gotta charge my phone bro. Nice meeting you.
Nice to meet you too.
Good luck with everything. I’ll be talking to you.
Alright, Hi, my name’s Tom. I uh, I uh, spent a lot of time down Kensington using drugs off and on and um… Since last time I saw this guy- he interviewed me and my buddy when we were really into doing drugs but uh lately I’ve been um, I’ve been trying to keep myself together, I’ve been messing up, I’m on probation and all and I uh, I’ve been, I’ve been doing alright getting some clean time with Suboxones but I uh, I have been re-lapsing here and there, using uh, all different drugs but um, uh, I don’t know, things, things get good for a month and then you know you have some time on your hand, you get a couple bucks and you come down here and you get high, its like you just can’t seem to get ahold of it. Um, then when you get high you instantly regret it. You feel stupid for doing it, you wish you didn’t do it, but then soon as you as you get clean again you forget how bad it is getting high so you go and get high and its just the same vicious cycle. But um, yeah I don’t know it’s, it’s, it sucks really and it’s no fun in it, the fun was gone a long time ago but for some reason I keep falling into it. Uh, I just had a job that only lasted a couple months till I lost it because I would go to work sick, soon as I would get a couple bucks I would leave right away to go get high and my boss wasn’t happy about that so he had to let me go, now I’m trying to find another job and it ain’t working, I don’t know, um, yeah I just, I just can’t seem to get a grip on staying clean. Every time I try, I just mess up but yeah, hopefully, hopefully soon, I can end up getting ahold of it and then when I’m clean remembering that when I get high, instantly I regret it, so I’ll be able to keep myself clean.
See also: Kevin and Tom, 2010