Grandmother of Lester Street survivors talks about challenges

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- "I thank God for the health I have now because I am able to keep up and take them to school everyday. They go to three different schools. We have to do that and of course cooking and cleaning."

Ida Anderson finds herself doing what many Mid-South grandmothers are doing-- raising a second generation of children. Nine-year-old Ceniyah, 14-year-old Cedrick and 18-year-old Cecil, Jr. legally became her children after the Lester Street Massacre.

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"I don't think you ever move past it. You just learn how to cope with it."

It's not always easy to cope. The children have been through a lot both physically and emotionally after the witnessed a mass murder and survived a brutal attack. Their uncle Jessie Dotson beat and stabbed them, and killed six others including their mother and father.

"I was laid down at the time but trying not to look toward that direction, but I heard my momma, she was yelling," said Cecil Jr. "She was like 'Please, don't kill me,' and then next thing you know I heard a pow."

The kids needed years of medical attention afterwards along with counseling.

"I don't know what we would have done if we hadn't had it because, of course, I can only do so much from the grandmother instinct. Professional help is what helped them including myself."

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Anderson said they've outgrown her small two-bedroom home. What once was the den is now the boys' bedroom.

"I can't get them everything they want but I get them what they need. It's still a struggle because I had to leave my job so I haven't worked in nine years. What money I get for social security and what they get, that's what we live on."

The grandmother said it's rough but they learn to cope.