Jim Daly began his life in Yucca Valley, California. As the youngest of five children, his earliest memories are good compared to those that would soon follow. He talks of waking up to eggs and bacon almost daily, giving the dad hugs, and going to the store with his mom. Things were good, at least from his perspective. Christian Retreat California Unbeknownst to him, his family had been struggling financially for some time. The result was a move to a lower standard of living in an area that was supposedly less financially draining – otherwise known as Compton. At the early age of eight, Jim and his family packed up and moved to the rough and wild streets of south Los Angeles. Things seemed normal at first. Dad continued to wake up and make breakfast, and mom continued to go to the store and drag me along. Maybe it was a little harder to sleep with the new and unending noises of the slums, but all in all things were ok, the family was still together. However, Jim’s life was about to change quickly and drastically.
As is the case sometimes, when the snowball begins to roll, an avalanche may be around the corner. So was the case in Jim’s life. He recalls an event one day while he was playing baseball in the courtyard of the apartment complex his family was residing in. He and his friends were having fun running the bases when a large man covered in tattoos asked if he could play. They thought nothing of it and actually decided it would be cool to have an adult join their team. The game continued, but soon afterward the manager of the complex came out to keep his eye on everything. He soon felt it necessary to stop us from playing in the courtyard. The tattooed giant didn’t seem to like this very much, and before Jim could look the other way he was witnessing a full-out violent assault. The man had taken a wooden bat and began beating the manager with it.
Jim hadn’t seen this type of rage before, but it would not be the last. A short period after this, Jim was woken in the middle of the night by gun shots. He was, of course, told to stay in his room. Soon the police arrived on the scene. Unable to sleep, Jim laid in his bed all night, but the next morning he saw something he would never forget yet again. As he walked outside to go to school, there it was, the chalk outline of where a dead body lay just a few hours before. He didn’t understand exactly what death was at the time, but he knew it wasn’t good. Soon enough though, the sting of death would have its toll on little Jim Daly.
The stresses on Jim’s parents didn’t subside with the move to Compton. His dad soon began to resort to old habits, habits that Jim’s siblings remembered all too well, but habits that Jim had not ever really known. His dad began drinking heavily again, after he hadn’t for many years. During this period of Jim’s life, he compared his dad to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. With diminishing quantity and quality his dad would be who he was the first eight years of Jim’s life, but with a steady increase his dad would be a selfish tyrant and angry abuser.
As a recovering alcoholic, Jim’s mom knew what had to be done, so she told her husband that if he didn’t change quickly, she and the kids would be gone. And that’s exactly what happened. Jim and his mother and siblings moved a few miles away. Meanwhile, Jim’s dad searched for his family, and it was weeks before he found them. Unfortunately when he did, he decided that he would let his wife know of his dissatisfaction with the whole situation with the swing of a steel hammer. Jim knew after this episode that his family would never be the same again. Soon his mom and dad would be divorced, and he and his siblings would be under the rule of a different kind of tyrant.
“Hank the Tank,” as Jim called him, became the children’s step-father, and he ran a tight ship. He was a military man, who would make the children do push-ups as punishment. Also, Jim remembers sometimes having to hang up his jacket a few hundred times if he ever left it lying around on the ground. Jim knew that this man didn’t care for him or his siblings. It was obvious though that “Hank the Tank” did love his mom. Through all of these hardships, the move, the divorce, and Hank, Jim was comforted by the love and his mother and siblings showed for him daily. He constantly mentioned his strong relationship with his mom, as a source of inspiration and hope. Sadly, this too would soon change.