The later warped perception of Neverland shows how Michael was judged on the face value of his world and, in many cases, on the claims of others. There only ever seemed to be lurid judgments about him and his ranch without any attempt to figure out the more complex "why?" As with everyone, his background shaped him. But fame—especially the iconic status attached to my brother—built a public barrier as big as a dam in front of his need to be understood. But to understand him, we need to walk in his shoes and see life from his perspective. As Michael said in 2003, in a message to his fans via Ed Bradley at CBS: "If you really want to know about me, there's a song I wrote. It's called 'Childhood.' That's the one song people should listen to . . ."
Michael's honest awareness that he was a grown man with a kid's mind shows in the lyrics: "People say I'm strange that way because I love such elementary things . . . but have you seen my childhood?" His way of saying, this is the way I've been made. This is who I am.
Many people have attempted to look through the window of our childhood, and see past the smears of media coverage and the persona of a pop icon. But I feel that you need to have lived it, and shared it, to truly know and understand it. Because ours was a unique world, as brothers and sisters under the roof of one big family. It was in a small house at 2300 Jackson Street—named after President Andrew Jackson, not us that we shared memories, music and a dream. It is here that our stories and his lyrics begin, and where, I hope, a better understanding of just who Michael was can be found.
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