Dineen Park, People

“I’m struggling right now; I’m still happy”

Terrence Hinton walks along the edge of a pond in Dineen Park, his family relaxing on the opposite bank.

Hinton grew up near 36th and Clarke. He says even though the neighborhood was “pretty rough” he still loves it – it’s his – but, sometimes, it’s nice to get away. “You know, [it was a] poor neighborhood. But there always be something good still, like these parks. That’s why they’re so good – cause you can get away from all of that. You go to a park, it’s something different – you can breathe.”

Hinton grew up without his father who died when he was about 9 years old. “It was something that, I don’t know, probably still affects me today, you know, something maybe I should talk more about – maybe it would help me more. I don’t know, it’s kind of strange and I think about it all the time.”

The oldest of six children, Hinton has tried to fill some of that void for his younger siblings. Whenever they need something, he’s there. “It’s great, you know…but sometimes it can get stressful because all of them are leaning on you or need your help, at one time or another.”

It’s difficult, says Hinton, not having an older brother or sister to go to. So, when he needs advice – and he admits it’s often – his uncles are his lifeline. “It could almost be every day. You know, just like a younger brother needs a big brother – every day…but, when I do [need help], I seek out for it and I receive so when my little brothers and sisters come to me I gladly pass the information on down to them.”

Hinton, who has three children himself, says he hasn’t had a full-time job in “quite some time.” To make ends meet, he works temporary jobs, taking whatever he can get whenever he can get it.

But the work can be sporadic, a little bit here and there. And Hinton says he doesn’t rest simply because he has work at the time, either – he’s always looking. “Just keep calling, hoping that you can get on, continue to look for work and just always accept work.”

Despite the circumstances, Hinton tries to make the best out of every day. “Just be grateful and thankful that you can wake up and see every day, try to make every day a positive cause, sometimes, you wake up in the negative. And, in my case, I feel all the time I wake up in the negative so every day I strive for a positive.”

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Even though his current circumstances aren’t ideal, Hinton says he’d rather be where he is than the alternative. “I can go rob somebody or go sell some drugs and have some temporary fun, temporary money. But that’s exactly what it is: temporary, short lived.”

“Anybody can sell drugs, anybody can get a gun and do a robbery,” he says. “But, you know, to stay positive and stay focused, that’s the hard thing, that’s where the ‘man’ comes in at.”

What is it that keeps him going every day? “Just my kids, you know, my mother – just my family…I couldn’t imagine going to jail and not being with my family… I’d rather struggle and have nothing and be with my family than have everything and be away from my family.”

But, beyond his love for his family, Hinton says he’s simply grateful to be able to wake up every day because anything can happen; in a moment, things can change. “I can wake up in the morning and be grateful for my family or my kids and a kid can get hit or one of my brothers can get shot or anything like that so I’m also grateful for myself. You know, just to say, ‘thank you, god,’ cause it’s a higher power that’s waking me up every morning.”


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