This is Part 2 of five-part blog series, continuing the life story of Northeast girls basketball coach Londaryl Perry, who I featured in Tuesday’s newspaper.
Today, I’ll focus more on Perry’s relationship with his mother and two brothers. Here is the full blog schedule:
Tuesday: Perry’s basketball career
Wednesday: More on Perry’s mother and two brothers
Thursday: Perry’s first coaching job
Friday: Perry’s military career
Saturday: The state of Perry’s family today
At age 13, Londaryl Perry almost decided life was too much.
“Who gives a damn about me?” Perry thought as he briefly considered suicide.
“Who cares if I live or die?”
He watched his uncle die with his own eyes after a drug overdose. His father died after overdosing on heroin.
But the continuing nightmare was the home life with his mother, who regularly called him a “bastard” and “ugly.”
Yes, Londaryl Perry’s mother wasn’t just dismissive and unattentive. She displayed a genuine disdain for her oldest son.
Londaryl’s mother has claimed for years that she was raped as a 16-year old, which is how she became pregnant with him.
“She says she wasn’t sexually active (when he was conceived),” Londaryl said. “My mother has never changed that story after all these years, that he raped her.”
Because he shares some physical features with his father, Londaryl believes much of the anger his mother showered him with is because of the alleged rape.
“I feel like I was a reminder of him, and all that hatred was taken out on me,” Londaryl said. “To know you’re born out of that, and to be treated like that …
“I was like, ‘What do I do?’”
Even though his mother’s addiction resulted in her often neglecting his two younger brothers, they never got the insults that Londaryl did.
“For both of my little brothers, it was different,” Londaryl said. “She cherished them, and she resented me.”
Perry’s wife Shana, who he’s known since he was in the eighth grade and dated throughout high school, remembers coming home with Perry after a game one night.
There was a house full of addicts, getting high with Londaryl’s mother.
He kicked all of his mother’s friends out of the house, and the two began arguing.
Perry’s mother picked up his basketball, clutched it between her hands and said she was so upset that, “I wish I had a rock this big that I could smoke.”
“You think of home as being a safe place, and it wasn’t for him,” Shana Perry said.
Still, he made sure to come home every day to look after his brothers. After a two-year career at Seminole State junior college, he walked on to Central Oklahoma’s basketball team. A short while later, he decided he’d had enough of his mother’s treatment of his brothers.
No food in the house, a lack of clothing. It had to stop. Shana, now principal at Del Crest Middle School, and Londaryl had just gotten married and were both in college to become teachers.
Londaryl and Shana, now the principal at Del Crest Middle School in Del City, were both in school to become educators.
“The conversation we had was about how we are both wanting to be educators so we can make a difference in children’s lives,” said Shana Perry. “Here are his brothers that need someone to make a difference for them right now.”
The difference they made was substantial. Clifford, then 13-years old, and Jermey, then 10, suddenly lived with adults who cared about them. Who asked questions about what they were up to, and made sure they were fed and clothed.
“As kids, we would just leave for seven or eight hours at a time,” said Jermey Perry, now 25-years old. “She was more worried about her friends than us.”
Both of Londaryl’s brothers are now married with careers and children.
Jermey Perry admits he’d “probably be in jail” without Londaryl and Shana taking custody.
After Londaryl Perry graduated from UCO in 1998, he took a job as an assistant coach at Putnam City West under Mike Nunley, who is now the athletic director for Edmond Public Schools.
Nunley thinks Londaryl Perry did more for Clifford and Jermey than keep them out of jail.
“He didn’t save them from a life of crime,” Nunley said, “He saved them from death.”
Nunley remembers things being very difficult for Londaryl as he tried to be both a parent and a brother to the two kids.
“It was super challenging,” Nunley said. “One of his brothers played for us, and that was really hard on Londaryl. He had huge expectations for him; he wanted his brother to experience the success that he did.
“He wore every single hat. He was his big brother, his coach and his father figure.”