Part 17: My Friend the Devil
The Christians provided the Cleavers with a nice home in Atherton, near Palo Alto and Stanford University. Atherton is one of the most affluent areas in California if not America. Since I was living in Oakland, Cleaver asked me to move in with them so I could be more accessible, especially since the San Francisco Airport was only a short distance from Atherton. Even then we would often be late for a flight, so I would sometimes drive a hundred miles an hour getting to the airport, and then we had to run like O.J. Simpson's ad to make the flight. Sometimes our lateness was due to Cleaver insisting we do a few lines of cocaine and smoke a joint before leaving to the airport. And then there were times when we would take turns going to the restroom aboard the plane to do a few more lines. Yes, we were flying high in the friendly sky!
Kathleen would usually stay home after I came aboard. The Cleavers were under a lot of stress from all the difficulties they had experienced during their revolutionary days and post-revolution. Being in the house with them exposed me to their marital tension and stress that would ultimately cause them to divorce. I remember their children, Maceo and Joju, asking if it was Christian for a man to beat his wife, since they had observed their parents fighting. Yes, I saw Kathleen get slam dunked a few times. Of course I was not innocent of domestic violence in my life. Now sometimes Kathleen, a most beautiful woman who stuck by her man through endless difficulties, was simply out of line. The occasion I remember most was an interview at their home with European media. Eldridge was in the middle of an interview when Kathleen came into the house and interrupted his interview with her comments. Cleaver had to cut the interview and take Kathleen into another room to get her out of his business. Please do not think I endorse domestic or partner violence. It is totally unnecessary and does absolutely no good. All it does is drain the love out of a relationship until like the sands in an hour glass, all the love is gone, gone, gone. Today I advocate the language of love in male/female communication: keep the voice low, stay away from the bass. The verbal is usually a precursor to the physical violence. And then the children are watching the drama, usually seeing their dad plummet their mother, making them hate their father and wanting revenge. And of course the children will come to see violence as the answer to their male/female problems. As the Cleaver children asked their parents, where is the love of Jesus Christ you preach about?