Updated: Nov 13, 2021
My Brother Chuck
I first met my brother in March of 1986. His name at that time was Calvin Archie Menominee, he was almost 2.
Calvin was just removed from his birth mother for extreme physical abuse. He was removed from the American Indian Reservation in Sault Saint Marie, Michigan, and placed with my mother and her second husband Charles Menominee. Charles is the biological Uncle to Calvin.
Calvin did not talk, did not walk and was not potty trained. He also came with my other brothers, Daniel and Christopher. Their sister did not come because she was beaten so bad they sent her right to a nursing home in Marquette because her mind would never rise above that of a 3 month old Child.
My mother and Charles adopted the boys two years later. Calvin’s name was changed to Charles Donald Menominee JR. We call him Chuck. Daniel and Christopher kept the same names.
About a year after that the older Charles started beating the boys like his sister did, so my mother divorced him while maintaining custody of the boys…..Christopher and Dan suffered no long term physical damage from the beatings; just physiological.
Daniel told me a story of how Calvin wet himself at about 16 months of age and his mother got so infuriated she punched him repeatedly in the face then threw him down the stairs into the basement. Daniel and his brother carried their limp brother back up the stairs and put him in his bed.
As Chuck got older it was apparent that Chuck’s physical damage was far more than feared. He did not walk until almost the age of 4 and did not put complete sentences together till about the age of 6.
Chuck stayed with my mother in Engadine, MI, until she passed away in 2008 from a stroke. Chuck then moved in with my sister in Manistique, Michigan. Things started off well, but soon deteriorated because Chuck could not understand why he needed a guardian and wanted his independence with a house of his own, a wife, and children. This unfortunately led to Chuck running away several times, and even living on the streets for several months.
Chuck seeing nothing wrong with himself petitioned the courts in Schoolcraft County to give him independence with no guardian. A hearing was set for late September of 2012. With my sister clearly having no control, the courts asked me to step in and try and turn things around. The court really did not wish for him to go to a state guardian unless there was no other option. So I agreed and signed the paper work.
The fights started on our way home because Chuck did not want a guardian. He felt I was in the way of his independence. His violent outbursts lasted for almost a year. He went into the hospital 7 times in that year and ran away from 5 group homes. Chuck seemed to do better when he took his medicine, but when he refused it was just a matter of time before he ran again. It was a scary time.
During his last trip to the hospital Chuck asked to go to the hospital he was in before, because he liked it there. I talked to his doctor and asked to put him in the one he liked the least. The doctor agreed and kept him twice as long as any other visit. This seemed to work. When Chuck got out of the hospital in January 2014 he came to me and said we will do things my way and he did not care how long it took.
So still not knowing what I was dealing with I had Chuck tested, not just mentally but psychically as well. I wanted to how much damage was really done to his brain. His IQ test came back and he showed an IQ of 62, which gave him the thinking power of a 10 year old. But, his reading was at a kindergarten level with no real writing skills, no math, or money skills.
I had an MRI done of his head and the doctor told me his closed head injury was so severe that he could not explain chuck even being able to walk. That would explain why Chuck learned to walk as late as he did and never found the ability to run or jump.
Once I was certain that Chuck was going to be true to his word, not run and stay med compliant I set off to make him as independent as possible. With him being full blooded American Indian and having an Indian card, I called his tribe to see what can be done. Well, they told me they could not help. So next I turned to Macomb County and after many meetings and testing I was able to move Chuck into a Semi-Independent Housing, or better known as SIP housing in March of 2015. They medicate Chuck twice a day and I did all of his food, clothes shopping, and paid his rent.
Chuck really grew! He went to a school called CCSD. The school helped him with his continued life skills learning. Chuck now lives independently in Northern Michigan. I go and visit him very often. My goal has always been to see him happy and as independent as he can learn to be. Now he lives that life of independence Chucks way!