The other wes Moore
Chapter 1: Is Daddy Coming with Us? (1982)
During a game of chase with his sister Nikki, three-year-old Wes caught her for the first time.
Without knowing what do to next, he punched her. His mother Joy’s angry and sudden reaction to
him hitting his sister was confusing to him. While Wes hid in his room, he heard his father, Westley,
trying to calm his mother down. Westley reminded Joy that Wes did not know hitting a woman was
wrong or why Joy felt so strongly about it. Years later, Wes would finally understand why his
mother reacted in that way.
Joy emigrated to the U.S. from Jamaica with her family when she was very young and had to
learn how to fit into American society: “she studies the other kids at school like an anthropologist,
trying desperately to fit in.” The things she experienced as she assimilated into a new county and
culture created in her a passion for justice. She joined an activist group while attending American
University in Washington, D.C., where she met her first husband, Bill. Though their relationship
started off well, it went downhill when Bill’s recreational drug and alcohol use became an addiction.
Even though they had a child together (Wes’s older sister, Nikki), Joy left Bill after a particularly
violent encounter ended with her battered, but determined. Joy met Westley, her second husband,
when she was hired as a writing assistant for his radio show. They married, and had two children
together, Wes (the author and Shani.
Wes’s father coming to speak to him that day about punching his sister is one of the two
memories he has of his father; the other is from the day his father died. Westley had not been
feeling well all day, and eventually had to be taken to the hospital. The doctors however did not
know what to do for his symptoms and sent him home. Later that evening, he collapsed and
ultimately, passed away from acute epiglottis. His death affected the...