By Alfred Lubrano
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Meet three Philadelphia women who have overcome crushing obstacles to survive and thrive in this thing we call life.
One was abandoned by her parents.
Another, just to live past 15, had to block out large swaths of her childhood.
A third believed that her toxic upbringing made suicide preferable.
What follows are stories of three resilient women born into poverty, a handed-down legacy of choked-off hope.
Yet somehow, each overcame crushing obstacles to advance from a hard beginning to a happy ending — or, at least, an ongoing progress report of: so-far, so-good.
When your mother’s a Camden drug addict who dies of an overdose, and your father didn’t even know you were born, what do you think your chances are of getting somewhere in this world?
“I was in foster care my first four years,” said Kellam-Walker, 21, one of eight siblings.
Her father eventually heard about her and moved her to Northeast Philadelphia. She dropped out of Abraham Lincoln High School in the 11th grade because the baby growing inside her became a distraction from precalculus. Teen pregnancy in her family was as inherited a trait as brown eyes.
“Well, you can’t stay here,” her father exploded, throwing her out of the apartment the day she told him. She was carrying her phone and a charger, and nothing else. “You’re old enough to have a baby, so go figure life out,” he said.
She went to an aunt, who, before slamming the door, offered a hater’s prediction of how things were going to go: “You’re like your mom,” she said. “You’re not gonna be nothin’ in life.”
Her boyfriend told her to live at his aunt’s place in Chester, where she slept on the couch for five months. The boyfriend stayed for one.