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"I must preface everything you are about to read with the indisputable fact that I am proud of the place where I was raised."
Liberty Hill is what Ruthenna affectionately calls the Upper Class Ghetto. Established in 1871, it is the oldest surviving neighborhood in North Charleston, South Carolina. People raised their kids, buried their dead and had a little fun in between without going past the stoplight on one end of the neighborhood or crossing the railroad tracks on the other. But Ruthenna longed to know life outside of her boundaries and decided to pursue it. Obstacles plagued her quest for life beyond The Hill. Being molested was her well-kept secret. Drugs took her brother to prison. An ongoing physical and mental battle raged with her Mama. There were many days she went to school with a battered heart, a bruised body, and a smile to mask it all. Yet, she continued to pursue a different life.
By age 16, she saw a way off The Hill. Contest trophies were stacking up. College applications were coming. There was even a truce with Mama. It turned out to be the calm before the storm.On the way back from a road trip by herself, Mama was sideswiped by a speeding vehicle. Her car flipped three times and she was thrown out of the hatchback. She suffered multiple seizures upon impact. Ruthenna's mother somehow survived. But Mama was gone. With her brother in jail, the teenager became primary caregiver for her grandfather with cancer and a mother who barely knew her name. Ruthenna's path off of Liberty Hill was not so clear anymore. She was ready to settle for survival until a glimmer of hope illuminated a new track.