I grew up in a good family—well known and respected in the community. We lived right across the street from Riverside Park, at the time known for the duck ponds, McKellear Lake, and the golf course. I was loved by my family, trained in righteousness, succeeded in school, and dreamed of being an anesthesiologist. In 8th grade I was still dressing like a little girl in dresses and ribbons in my hair, and was befriended by a girl who was a lot different from me. She wore elaborate wigs, short shorts, and thigh high boots with tall heels. Her sister was a veteran prostitute, and my friend would borrow her clothes. She would get sent home for not dressing properly, which was alright with her. She had a plan for us to cut class to get with the boys. I didn’t understand the plan, but went along with it, despite what my family would think. Soon came the marijuana, then harder drugs. I would throw up all the way home. The new friends I hung around would smoke a joint every day on the way to school. Once I graduated I wanted to get my own apartment with my best friend. To try to afford it, I did amateur dance night at the shake joints.
My boyfriend from high school and the father of my first child introduced me to snorting cocaine. That was my cup of tea. I wanted all he would give me and then some. I remember sitting around him and the experienced prostitutes, pimps, and boosters, and just listen to them talk. His whole family were cross-country boosters. I learned the ropes from them. I’ll never forget that first time in Lowenstein’s when nobody was around. I just had to go get those expensive jogging suits I saw. I would take everything I stole and sell it at half price to high-rolling clientele and was making a fortune, then would smoke it all up.
Well, I managed to pick up six theft charges, making bond each time. I had no problem with the money because if I wasn’t making enough from selling stolen merchandise there were certain other services I could perform. When I got out of jail I could even “pay” the bondman that way, if you know what I mean. The sixth time, the judge mercifully gave me probation. Of course all I heard is that I was going home. After four months I violated with another theft and had to serve my time. The whole time I was incarcerated one of the old gangsters kept big money on my books, sent me long letters, and talked to me on the phone. My mom kept my apartment for me all that time and was willing to help me out if I would only do the right thing and raise my daughter. When that dude picked me up I remember riding down Poplar crying. He said, “Why are you crying? You’re free.” But I knew I wasn’t really free. He had brought me an ounce of cocaine.
Two days in I had hooked up with one of the biggest dope men around and quickly wound up back in jail. I was sick of it, and knew I needed to stop stealing somehow. I was going down, down, down. One day after I was released, I was out walking and met the sweetest, most handsome man of my dreams. I ended up living with him and got pregnant, and my sister suggested I married him so the baby would have his name. He agreed, so we had a nice wedding at my sister’s house, but in our marriage I was never really there for him or the two children. He always wanted me to come home and help out, saying that raising the children was too much for him to handle alone. With help from the Lord he became a good father, and did a fine job raising the children. They are a family, and I just wasn’t around when they needed me. This was such a great loss for me, but I know the children suffered most. I made so many false promises and told so many lies. I later had a son outside of our marriage, and he is still to this day in and out of jail, showing me the consequences of not being there for my family.
I lived in a hotel full of prostitutes right there on the track. We knew the police captain was watching for us and sure enough I got caught. Not just once, not twice or even three times. I just kept going back to jail. While living there I endured several beatings, rape, attempted rape, and even got run over by a car. I had to get out of there. I began to cry out to the Lord. I picked up the phone and called A Way Out, which I had heard about from an old jail bunkmate. I was high when Mrs. Jackie called me back and I didn’t even know who she was or why she was calling. Back and forth to court I went for shoplifting, so tired I would pass out on the front row right in front of the jury. Once when the judge called my name my attorney kicked me and I jumped to consciousness. The judge said there was obviously a problem here and ordered me to be drug tested. It came back positive for cocaine and marijuana, and he revoked my bond and got six months. When they stripped searched me and found a crack pipe and crack, I landed three years in the Penal Farm. That ended up being a real blessing.
At that point I made the headlines for my 117 arrests, and District Attorney General Amy Weirich called me loopy. I carried that story around in my pocket while I was locked up. With God’s help, the story didn’t end there. I contacted A Way Out again this time and they accepted me into the program. I told them that I really wanted to live my life for the Lord and hoped that maybe one day someone would write a different story about me. The people have given me so much love and are so committed to Christ. I’ve attended classes and Bible studies and am learning to live and love and walk and grow in peace and happiness in Jesus. I have gotten a good job and even have my smile back thanks to A Way Out providing me with dental care. I know now you can’t hang around chickens and expect to soar like an eagle. I am learning so much from these people of faith, and thank God for victory. I have wasted so much time, but with God’s help now I want to redeem the time. I have live a life that made no sense, but now I want the Lord to use me for His glory and for good. To be continued…