Monday, August 31, 2009

Hello, educators and librarians. Some of you have school addresses and I know some cannot receive my emails because of your filters. Everyone with a school or district email I am re-sending you my message as individuals in that way it will be more likely you will receive it. If you already received my email last week, I am sorry for sending it twice. Art

Hello Family, Friends, Fans and educators. As I told you in my last email, I am not only revising East Side Dreams but I wrote a screenplay for East Side Dreams. The email I wrote last week will be at the end of this email because I found around 100 more emails of people who had written to me in another file that I added to this mailing list. So in case you did not read the last email it is here at the end.
If you are an educator or a student, school is starting up again and if you would like me to give a talk at your school, please email me and we can set it up. I also give talks to staff.
I am done with my first screenplay. I started working on East Side Dreams part 2. However, as I said, I will try to get this screenplay into a movie. If you want to help, in a few days I will send you an address or email of a studio to where you can write to request it to be a movie. However, if you have contacts please send this screenplay to them and see what you can do to get someone in the movie business to look at it. If a studio would rather write their own script of East Side Dreams and not use mine that is OK with me, as long as it becomes a movie. I did receive responses from some of you who have connections in the movie business. Some of you said you will help and forward the screenplay or talk to people you know about it. That will be great, as I said; I can use all the help I can get.
If you are an educator or a librarian, see if you can get your students to be willing to write letters to the large studios, they can find them online.
I think the best way is for all who have connections with the movie business by passing this on, maybe someone will pick it up. Then if all fails, then we will write letters. Enjoy the screenplay if you get a chance to read it. Let me know how you like it. If you see anything that you think it needs or should be changed, by all means, let me know.
Oh, yes, one more thing. If any schools would like to use the screenplay or part if it for a play that is fine, you have my permission. I am not worried about it being stolen because it is copyrighted as soon as I wrote it and even more so because it comes from my book that I authored. Schools and classes are welcome to use it if they would like. (After the fact) If you would like a copy of my screenplay, email me and I will send it to you.
Art Rodriguez
Hello, I wanted to share what I am doing with my book. Some of you know that I am updating it, or revising it with a new publication date and a new ISBN number to make it as a new book again. I am adding a Preface in it with the story about how I did not know how to write and how I started writing East Side Dreams. The same story I give when I give talks. A lot of people who read East Side Dreams never get to hear that story so now they will be able to read it. Also I am adding four pages of pictures. The pictures will come out clearer than what I have here but this is what they are going to be. They are an attachment on this email. (they are no longer on this email) I hope you enjoy them. I think with these pictures it will help people visualize East Side Dreams better.
Also I am done writing the screenplay for East Side Dreams. Really, because the book is so long and a movie cannot be long at all, only 120 pages with not too much writing on them, they say a minute per page, so 120 pages comes out to a two hour movie. When I was done writing this I started to write The Monkey Box, about 20 pages of it, but I decided to stop and go back and write Part 2 of East Side Dreams. In the screenplay I only wrote from when East Side Dreams starts to the day I was released from Preston with a caption at the end saying I never went back and did well in my life. But now with Part 2 it will continue on just as the book. Who knows if it will ever be a movie, with everyone's help writing an email or a letter to a studio or if you have any connections in Hollywood that will be a tremendous help. In a few days I will send you the screenplay and who to write to.
Enjoy these pictures, just wanted to share them with you.
Art Rodriguez

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Hello Kevin, Thanks for your email. As I told one of your class mates that I always enjoy email from my fans. You asked me: Why you did start writing your life story?
I started to write it because I wanted to learn about typing. Before ten years ago I did not know to type, spell, the only words I know were words like "it" "is" "and" I had a lot of learning to do. East Side Dreams came out of that learning as well as all my other books. What motivated you to stop doing bad things like smoking? I have to say two things, all the things I learned from Mr. Gormen (in East Side Dreams) and when I had my first son. I did not want my children to have a hard life like for an example, me being in jail. I could not tell them to be good if they see me doing bad. So I wanted to be an example to my children.
Keep reading and studying. Remember, studying will pay you back 1000 times in life.
Your Friend, Art

Hey Sergyei, thank you for your email. It is always nice to hear from my fans. It makes me feel good inside. Your questions: Do you regret not putting an effort to have a good relationship with your father? Not really, as you seen in reading East Side Dreams that we went to see my father as young adults in LA. I really did not want to but I went because my brothers and sister wanted to go. My father was too hard with us when we were kids. Some people never speak to their fathers again after a childhood like mine. Your next question: From your point of view which experience that you had was the worst and which one was the most adventurous you had? The worst in East Side Dreams or my life? In East Side Dreams would be of course being part of the big fight. Because I know I hurt those mothers of the guys who died. And the worst in my life? In my other book, Those Oldies but Goodies when I had an unfaithful wife. The best in my life East Side Dreams is I think having a family I loved and having Mr. Gormen preach to me so much. And finding my wife Flora.
Keep reading, it is good for you!
Art Rodriguez

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Answering A Letter

Hey Mario,

Thank you for your letter. I do not have time to write a lot of letters, mostly emails but I know you do not have that there. If you write back I might not answer for a while because I am so busy. I am very glad my book helped you to think about your life. When your time is up, you have to work hard in your life to do good. Really, if you think about it, it isn’t really that hard to do. One big thing I found when I was young is it all depends on who you hang with. Because even though you hang with your homies and they do something but you stay out of it, they will put you in jail just for being with them. From the way you sound, you are going to do OK when you get out.

You said you wished East Side Dreams did not end. Well, if you read Those Oldies but Goodies it keeps going. The only thing is it is in English only, then, when you are done with that book read, Forgotten Memories. I will send you a flyer on my books. The only one that is in Spanish is East Side Dreams. But they are all easy reading. The Monkey Box is about my family in Mexico ending in San Jose. Even though the prices are on the flyer are what they are, I give guys who are locked-up the books for $10 each and I pay the tax and shipping. If you just do not have the money, they might have it there in jail. Ask someone who takes care of the books, show them the flyer and they might be able to order them.

Thank you about saying you were sorry about my father. We think of him a lot. (From what Mr. Gorman ‘in East Side Dreams’ taught me I plan to see him right here on the earth.) Sad to say but my mother also passed away five years ago. That day a grandchild was born in the same hospital my mother passed away in. So it was a sweet sad day.

I am now 59 years old and I have already had bypass surgery on my heart. I guess I am following my mom and dad. But the thing is with all the new things they have now-a-days it gets better. They could keep me alive longer. I really blame all my bad health on the drugs I was into when I was young. They do take their toll. I am doing well right now. Three or four times I week I go to high and middle schools and speak to the kids. I get a lot of emails from them telling me that after reading my books they are out of the gangs and they are now going to work on getting an education. I tell kids not to tell anyone that they are not in a gang anymore, (no one wants to get shot!), just focus on their education and everything will be all right. Really, the best thing to do in life is what Mr. Gorman (Real name, Mr. Carmen) taught me. To read the Bible and follow what it tells you.

In my other book, Those Oldies but Goodies I tell about having my first two sons. Then when they were babies their mother took off. I had custody of them. Three years later I met my second wife. She had three kids about the same ages that my kids were. The oldest was around 9 and the youngest was 4 years old. So right away we had five kids. I used to tell Flora that we had to treat these kids right because they are going to grow-up and remember everything we did, both good and bad! So we worked on that really hard. Sure enough, they remember everything now that they are grown-up. They all look at us as our real mother and father. Plus, we had three more kids together. So we raised 8 kids. And now I am reaping the good things out of it. I have 16 grandkids and I love it. They come over to my home sometimes twice a week and my neighbors think I have a lot of parties! My grandkids are from as old as my youngest son who is 21 to 6 months old.

I used to tell my kids my stories about when I was young and I used to tell them to learn from them. I remember a friend telling me that I should not tell them my stories because then they are going to want to party the way I did. I told him, “But not only am I going to tell them my stories, but what could come with it. The heartache that one could get and the baggage for the rest of their lives they will have to carry.” Now I tell all young people to learn from my stores. I say young people do not have to learn the hard way but from stories like mine.

Kids who do have a good family and a good life, I tell them to really appreciate what they have. When they read my books they could see what could happen to them, as you well know, Mario. It is not hard to get caught up in that life. I know as you have read.

OK Kid, again, thanks for your letter. I get a lot of letters from young people and I try to answer when I can. The address you sent it to is all right. I own Dream House Press so it came to me. Take care and keep the good thoughts running.
Your Friend,
Art Rodriguez

Friday, March 13, 2009

Accident 2/21/09

If you read this below today is March 13, 2009 and I am doing well now. My head is still bruised and my neck is still sore. However I am back giving talks at schools and libraries. My seat belt and air bag saved my life. Always WEAR YOUR SEAT BELT!!!!!

Saturday February 21st s on my way to Watsonville Public Library. I was on the fast lane on freeway 101 in Gilroy with my speed control set on at 65 miles an hour. I felt my steering wheel move a little and as I grabbed on to it tight to correct it. Instantly I saw the concrete center of the freeway wall coming toward me so fast it was as if it slapped the side of my car. I do not know why, a blow out in my tire or something I ran over. (I have new tires on my car.) As the car started rolling over the windshield and some of the other windows were cracking all over in little prices, and then I saw white, not knowing at the time it was my airbag. (I did have my seat belt on.) I remember thinking, “I am going to die today!” Then as the car landed right side up as it was getting ready for another roll I saw all the glass flying toward me and it seemed as the next instant the books and things in the car were floating in the car. It hit right side up hard again. As the car was starting to roll again I thought, “I do not feel any pain and I do not think anything entered my body yet so maybe I will live! Maybe!” I told myself “Hold on!” I could not see out of the windows and I came to a stop, landed on the ground right side up.
Right away a lot of people were around my car trying to pull the doors open. A lady said, “I’m a nurse, are you hurt? Or where are you hurt?”
A man yelled to pull me out of the broken window because the car was going to blow up! But the nurse shouted, “No! Don’t move him!”
I was sitting there rubbing my neck because it hurt so much. A man on the other side of the car yelled out that there was no gas leaking. On both sides of the car there were three or four men rocking the car trying to open the doors but they could not get them open.
I asked one of the men if I had hurt anyone else. He said I did hit another car but no one in that car was hurt. Then it seemed as if it was one minute that the fire trucks and the Highway Patrol arrived. The cop said he had called the midivack (Helicopter) but right then an ambulance pulled up so he canceled it.
I asked the Highway Patrol to make sure if any of the people in the other car were hurt? He said, “No, there was no other car. Don’t worry, no one else is hurt.
The firemen were on the other side of the car working. The back door opened. One of the firemen crawled in and got behind me. He put something around my throat as if he was going to strangle me. He said, “Don’t move!” He was putting something on me so I would not move my neck in case it was broken.
Another fireman pulled my hat from somewhere and shoved it against my face. I remembered wondering, “What in the heck is he doing.” I did not know but they were using the jaws-of-life to cut my door open.” As soon as it was open they put something on my whole back and tied me onto it so I would not move. They laid me out head first and pulled me slowly on a gurney.
I was on the way to the hospital. It was funny because they were talking on the radio to the hospital telling them what happened and where I was injured. Then the guy in the back with me asked, “OK, I am going to ask you something important!”
I looked at him and answered, “OK?”
“Do you know where you are?”
I answered, “Yeah, I’m in an ambulance.”
Then he said, “OK, the next question is really important!”
“Is your head lopsided?”
I asked, “What?”
“Is your head lopsided?”
I said, “No!”
He then told the guy sitting on the passenger seat to tell the hospital on the radio that I also had a head injury!
Well, at the hospital first they took an x-ray and put an IV in. They gave me pain morphine, a few injections. Then they took a CT scan of my whole body to look at my spine and for any bleeding inside.
It all checked out OK. Then x-rayed my spine. By the late evening they said they were not going to let me go home because they were not sure of how I was and my head looked very large. The doctor kept me over night and said that the next day they had to take a MRI incase something started happening inside over night. I tried to talk the doctor into letting me go home that night because I just do not like being over night in the hospital, (My worse nightmare!) However, he said he could not let me go home because if I went home and died then there was going to be a big problem for him!
The next day the hospital did the MRI and blood tests. Everything was fine so finally I was able to come home.
Even though they tired to clean all the glass off of me, even vacuuming me I still had a lot of glass all over under my clothes. Glass was still stuck in me. I had to get in the shower as soon as I arrived home. When I stepped into the bathroom to take a shower I could not believe how I looked! I was all cut up with small bleeds all over and then my HEAD! It looked like the movie, “The Cone Heads!” The movie were aliens who came from other planets, that’s how I looked, my head was so big!
After the shower Flora had to pluck out the little glass all over.
I could hardly move my body the next morning, I am so sore. Even the first night my hands were so swollen that I could not close my hands. I guess it was from holding the steering wheel so tight. Today my swollen head went down a little but it is still large and lopsided. It looks funny.
I am very sad that I lost my car but everyone else is glad that I am still alive and could move my limbs!
I am being asked a lot, “How many lives do you have?”

Friday, February 6, 2009

Hey Jose, That is cool your little brother is reading East Side Dreams. Tell him that everything in the book is true. In fact, I had to cut some things down a little. Such as the drugs, when I wrote East Side Dreams I went back and took out about 30 pages of taking drugs because I did not want young people to think and feel it was cool to take drugs. Drugs are very bad for you. My brother Eddie and I used to take a lot of drugs and now that we are older we are very sick with all kinds of stuff. When I first started getting sick I asked my doctor why I was so sick so young. He asked me if I use to take drugs. I answered, "yes." Then he said that is what causes people to die young and be so sick. So remember that and tell your bother.
You asked, "How is it possible to love my father because of the way he was with us?" That is just way life is. You said you feel that you have two fathers, one when he is drinking and another when he is not. When you get older, you are going to remember the father who was not drinking. You will always love your father no matter what, you came from him and he is your flesh and blood. I remember a few years ago I went to Santa Anna to give a book talk. A man wanted to talk to me after the event was over and he waited until everyone left. When we were alone we sat down and his eyes became watery. He was about 40 years old. He said that after he left home when he was a kid he hated his father and would not speak to him. This was because the way his father treated and beat him when he was a kid. Then he said, "After reading East Side Dreams, it made me think about my father and he was still my father even though he treated me this way." So the day he was done with reading East Side Dreams, he went to his father's house to fix things. And from that day forward, he and his father are best friends! All of this because of my book, it sure made me feel good knowing that my books had changed his life and many other lives.
Yes, as you said, those are old bad memories. Everyone has those memories of growing up. Even people who had good parents have these memories. When my children were very young, I told my wife, "We have to treat these kids good, because when they grow up they are going to remember everything we did, both good and bad! I am now glad I put everything into raising my children.

Also remember this; at least you have a father around. Many, many kids wish they had fathers. They do have fathers but they do not know them at all and the fathers do not care about them. So count your blessings. We all have our lot in life. Some people were born in a third world country and cannot find food to eat for the day. Some are born in a war torn land, where they cannot believe of a life like ours here. So be happy and work hard in your education, it is so important. That way later you can do more things, you can go to more school or take a trade and make OK money. Money does not bring happiness but it sure makes life easier!

Thanks for writing again, Jose, and do good so your little brother can follow your footsteps. I am glad you learned from my books about life, makes me feel good. Thanks for letting me know. If you have any other questions just ask.
Art Rodriguez

Thursday, February 5, 2009


You are welcome, Robert. I am glad you enjoyed it. If you liked East Side Dreams you will also like Those Oldies but Goodies. Yes, I went back to Preston two years ago to give the graduation talk. I took my wife and we got a tour. I showed my wife where i company was. They changed the names now.
Yes, San Jose has a lot of people here. I raised my 8 kids here and they are all grown up fine. None of my kids got into trouble as I did. I worked hard on them because I did not want them to have teenage years full of heartache as I did.
Thanks for your email, Robert,

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Answering emails

Raeana, I am glad you are still going to school. And yes, sometimes our parents treat us different ways and it is because they think it is the best way. Later when you baby gets older you are going to tell your baby "NO!" and she will not do what you say. What are you going to do? I know, I raised 8 kids and it is important that your child knows, "no means no!" But you do not have to hit your baby. I taught my children that time-outs work just as good. Kids hate time-outs so they will want to be good. Maybe at first you might have to give her a little wack so she minds you when you say time-out you mean time-but, after that she will know you mean business.
When I first wrote East Side Dreams I had an ending and told the reader where everyone was now a days. But my editor crossed it out and said, "End the book here!" I asked, "why?" because the reader will want to know what happened to everyone. He said because that way when your next book comes out they will have to read it to find out! So you have to read the other books!
No, Victor lives in the state of UT. He had two sons with his first wife and two with his next. He is now raising his grand daughter. He is doing well and happy. Eddie lives in San Jose. He has two daughters. One works at Yahoo and the other at Standford. He is 60 years old and has bad health. Tita lives in San Jose, raised 5 kids and now she is taking classes and has started writing. I did not take classes when I started writing. I learned how to write on my own. Learned how to read also.
I had 8 kids and four are girls. You can read the whole story about my kids in my book, Those Oldies but Goodies.
Yes, I am married and I am 21 years old! No, I am 59 years old. In my head I feel young still but my body is telling me I am very old because of bad health. Time went so fast now I am old. How have I been. I am a very happy man with my wife, kids and grand kids. I count my blessings because if I would have not straightened out my life I would not be here today. If I am going to write another books? I do not know. Not right now. I am so busy going to schools and taking to kids and writing emails I do not have time.
I am very glad my book has helped you and gave you courage for life. That is one of the best things in my life, I can help young people. I used to tell my kids my stories and tell them that they do not have to learn the hard way, they can learn from me and my life. Now I tell all kids this, learn from my books!Raeana, thank you for your nice email and keep working hard in school. Read a lot because reading makes your brain grow. Start now to read to your daughter, she will love it and learn how to read at a young age.
Your Friend, Art Rodriguez

Monday, January 26, 2009

Answering Emails

Hey, Emilio, thanks for your email. It is always nice to hear from young people. I am glad my book is inspiring you. I wish I had something like my book to help me when I was a kid so I would not have had all that heartache. But then again, that is who I am today. Keep reading because it is good for you. Studying and reading is never for nothing. It makes your brain grow. It really does.
Do I still have my garbage business? No, I sold it three years ago. I do have my book business and it is doing really well.
Yes, I did see Obama as the new president. When I was 15 or 16 we had a better president who we thought was going to fix the world. That was President Kennedy. They killed him because he wanted to make too many changes and the people who run the world did not like it. I had just started high school like you then. I hope Obama is very careful and does not get out in the open because things as that really happen in this world a lot. Just like 9/11.
Did my dad really make me go out in the dark? He sure did! Man, he was hard on us when we were little guys. Everything I write in my books is true. I remember that story so well because I was so scared!
Did I have an anger problem? I sure did. That was the toughest thing I had to overcome to be a regular person. I had a fight with myself to not get upset with everyone so easy. It was very hard for me. People who see me now and knew me when I was a kid cannot believe I am the same person. One of my old friends said he saw someone we knew when we were young. He told the guy I was doing well and a family with a lot of children and a business. This guy answered, "Oh, no, it couldn't be the same Art! The Art I knew had a bad heart!" When my friend related this to me I felt bad. But I am OK now.
Emilio, it sounds as if you have younger brothers. Remember this, you have to set a good example for your brothers. The younger brothers always want to be like their older brothers. If you miss up more than likely they will follow what you do. So if you are a smart guy and do the best you can, then they will want to be like you.
I owned Number "1" Disposal for 20 years and sold it.
I would like to write another book but I have not been feeling well. I am sick and to write a book you have to feel good. Maybe I will, we well see.
I have four books. They are on my web site.
How old am I? 21. No, I wish. I am 59 years old but in my mind I feel 21 but with my health so bad makes me feel really old. When I was young I never thought I would get old. I thought there were two kinds of people, young people and old people. But it happens to all of us. So make your life a good one and a happy one!
Take care and read my other books.
Your Friend, Art Rodriguez

Friday, January 23, 2009

Answering Emails

Hey Pony! Thanks for your email. I am glad you like reading my book. Keep reading because it is good for you! How am I? I am happy but not healthy. The main thing is I am happy! Today I am fine. I have been going out giving talks at middle schools and high schools almost everyday but today I am taking it easy answering emails.
How many sons do I have? I have four sons. One step son who I raised as my own and three sons. My life with them is very good. One of my sons moved away and I never see. My oldest son bought into my house, made it bigger for his family and helps me a lot. My youngest son is 22 and lives with me also. All the other kids are married with kids. I have a very good relationship with them. When ever they have problems with their kids, they try to work with them the way I did with them.
They joke with each other about all the talks they had with dad (me) when they were young. I used to do a lot of talking and asking a lot of questions when they were teenagers to get into their hearts. It worked because they are all good people now, very good.
If I am going to write other books? While, I have four books right now. I am working on another but I do not know how far I will get with it. My health is not too hot. I have to really feel good to write and that has not been the case in the last three years. But I might.
Thanks for writing to me and remember, you have to read my other books! The more you read the larger the world will become to you! And at the same time it will help you with your education. That is so important. That way you can make life a little easier for your child. Work hard in school!
Your Friend, Art Rodriguez
Hi Erika, thank you for your email. I always enjoy receiving emails from young people. Really from everyone but more so with young people. I am glad you learned from East Side Dreams that even if you hang with your friends and try to keep out of trouble when they do anything wrong, you will be charged with the crime because you were with them. The D. A. does not care, as long as they get someone or more then someone that is what they want. Thanks for bringing that out for other young people.
I always wonder where Ernesto is now. About 8 years ago I went to a book fair and seen one of the hommies from Preston, our company and he told me that Ernie was still alive that he sees him around his town. The other day I spoke at a middle school and one of the students told me that Chuco was his friend's great grandfather and that he was dieing. I gave the kid my email and asked him to find out where he is so I could call him and talk to him. But I have not heard from him.
My kids are doing great, in Those Oldies but Goodies, my other book, I talk about all of my children. They all worked for me in the business accept the youngest. I sold the business three years ago. Two of the boys work for a large company driving trucks. My daughters, one works with a loan company, One for the school district and the other two work (hard!) at home taking care of the kids while their husbands work outside the home. My youngest son is not married and works for a cable company and my other son works out of town as a manager of a business. I have 15 cool grand kids! And I am happy and waiting for more and great grand kids! Sure we can keep in touch. Work hard in school so you can take good care of your little baby and teach your little girl to love and respect all people. There is more happiness giving to people than there is taking from them, and that is the truth!
Keep studying as long as you can! Remember, it is never for nothing! It will always pay you back a lot more than you put into it!
Your Friend, Art Rodriguez

Answering E-mails

Hey Tyler, I am glad you enjoyed my book. You read three books already, cool! You are doing well. A lot of young people who email me tell me it was their first book. Keep up the good work!
Do you still own your own business? No, I sold the business three years ago but I own my publishing company, Dream House Press and because my books are doing so well I am doing better in this business that the dumpster one. If it goes to a movie later it will even be better.
How old are your kids now do they work for a garbage company or did they take over your business? My kids are, ready? 40, 38, 38, 36, 33, 27, 23 and 22. I write more about them in Those Oldies but Goodies. No, they do not work for me or take over the business. They did not want it because there are too many headaches with that business.
The night of that party when you got arrested did you hate redhead, because he’s the one that snitched on you guys the cops where gunna let you go if it hadn’t of been for redhead and that stupid car. Do you ever think back on that day? No way did I hate Redhead. It was not his fault. After we got out of jail and got the court documents we found that the big snitch was Cesar's bother, I think I named him Isaac, his real name was Alex, he was in the same cell as Manuel and I when the three of us were together in jail..
What ever happened to Cesar? He has a long story himself. I cannot write it here it is too long. His real name is Hector Padilla and if you look up California gangs on Google you will see he was one of the main people who started the gangs. It you will go back to the 60's where it talks about a pair of shoes and people dieing over the shoes started the gangs north and south. The Internet says he is dead but he is not, he is alive and doing good now..
Where you ever scared when your mother went blind when she had her kids I KNOW I WOULD BE? I do not remember that, I was too young. When my older brother was born I was only 2. And I do not remember after I was born.
What ever happened to your brothers you never mentioned them in the end of the book. Eddie lives in the house on Virgiania. He baught it from my mother years ago and took care of her till she died. He is a very sick man now days. Victor works at a base in UT and is really a higher up White Collar and makes good money.
Tita lives in San Jose and married a very good man. She has started writing now too.
Did you make money of all of these books? As I said earlier, yes, the books are doing better and better every year.
OK, Tyler, keep up the good work in school. Read my other books! You can get them at any book store or order than online. My site if you want or any site.
Art Rodriguez

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Answering E-mails

Hi Gardenia! Sure I will write back. I always answer all emails I get. I am glad you liked reading East Side Dreams. In one of my other books, Those Oldies but Goodies I talk more about my kids. I had two boys the first time I was married. My first wife had a very tough childhood staying in foster homes with people who did bad things to her. So she had a lot of problems with everything. She felt she did not love the boys and did not want them. So I had custody of them. One was 6 years old and the other was 8 years old. Then I met my wife Flora and she had three young kids. She had a girl who was 4 years old, a girl who was 8 years old and a son 9. We were married and had five kids. Then we had three more of our own. I did not want my kids to have a hard life like I did, with all the heartache that comes with it. So I used to tell Flora, "We have to work hard with our kids because they are going to grow up and be men and women and are going to remember everything we did!" Well, they did, and they do remember everything. I am sure glad we did it right because all 8 of them grew up to love us very much and now I have 15 grand kids! They all come over to visit at least once or twice a week and people who live by me think I have a lot of parties! I have a good life with my family. But I have a bad life because of my health. When people tell you drugs are bad for you, believe them! I have lung problems now. I had open heart surgery this last May. I am 59 years old now. Plus I have other health problems.
No matter how many health problems I have I still go out and speak at schools at least three or four times a week. It makes me feel good that I could help young people think about their lives and what they need to do. When young people like you read my books, you think that you still have all of your life and there is a lot you can do. Having a little baby boy even more so. You want to take good care of him and teach him how to be happy and be a good person.
When my kids were young, I used to tell them my stories. I remember a friend told me I should not tell them because then they are going to want to do all the things I did. But I told him that no, I was also going to tell him what will happen to them if they do. Now that my children are grown, they appreciate the way I raised them. And now I tell all young people to learn about life though my stories. A person does not have to learn the hard way.
My business, Number "1" Disposal I sold three years ago. I sold it because I could not run it anymore. I was sick but the doctors did not know what was wrong with me. Three months after I sold it I had a heart attack. The put three stents in my heart thinking that was going to fix the problem. Then two years later I had another heart attack and had surgery.
Now I have my own book business, selling books and speaking to kids. I love doing that and that makes life good. Giving my advice to young people is a good feeling and hearing that kids change their lives because of my books really makes me feel good.
I hope you get a chance to read my other books. You will enjoy them just as much. Remember, everything you read in my books is true, nothing is made up.
Gardenia, thank you for writing to me and work hard in school because it is going to pay you back later. Ten years ago when I wrote East Side Dreams the only words I could spell were words like "is" "it" "and". if you were to ask me how to spell words like "there, what, that", I did not know. I learned it all with East Side Dreams.
Take care and work hard as I said.
Your Friend, Art