Jackson brothers' visit to childhood home stirs warm memories

On Friday June 22nd, Jackie, Jermaine, Marlon and Tito Jackson visited their childhood home at 2300 Jackson St. in Gary, Indiana. The brothers received keys to the city and gave out tickets to their Friday night show at the Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville.

“This is where the magic started; right there rehearsing every day,” Jermaine Jackson said, pointing at the former Jackson home.

Larry Humphrey, 30, of Gary, brought his daughter Larae Humphrey, 5, and his niece Tierny Lockett, 8, “to give them a history lesson” on the Jackson legacy.

“Everybody, even the kids, love Mike,” Larry Humphrey said.

Tierny's favorite Michael Jackson song is “Dirty Diana.” Larae said her favorite is “the scary one,” meaning 1982's “Thriller.”

As the brothers shared their memories of growing up in Gary, Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson spoke about what it means for Gary when the Jacksons come home.

“It's always good when you have native sons come home, especially ones who have done well and made a name for themselves,” Freeman-Wilson said.

Jeremy Horn, 26, came from Forest Park, Ill., to see the brothers. He wore a Michael Jackson T-shirt and clutched the free ticket to the Jacksons' show. He said the brothers' success — especially Michael's — meant a great deal to him as a black person.

“At first I didn't believe it (when Michael died). I just broke down in tears. It felt like I lost a good friend,” Horn said. “He made black music more universal. He made it more colorblind. He made it more acceptable.”

Freeman-Wilson wasn't sure how many keys to the city Gary has given its most famous family over the years.

“You can never have too many keys,” Freeman-Wilson said, laughing. “We all have a ring of them, right?”