My nephew, Christopher, my brother's only child, has been either in juvie, jail or prison for more years than he has been free. At the age of seventeen, he began his illustrious life of crime when he mugged an elderly woman for drug money. First he went to juvenile detention, then upon turning eighteen, he landed in county jail. Since that first stint, Chris has bounced from jail to rehab to jail to rehab until he finally made it to the big house, state prison in Hautsville, PA where he currently resides.
Christopher is now thirty-seven years old with nothing positive to show for his time on this earth. His father and mother have passed, his girlfriend is in jail as well, and his two daughters are in foster care.
I received a letter from my nephew last week saying he'd be out in November, 2018, that he has turned his life around but has nowhere to go or no one to depend on. I assume Chris is playing his trump card, 'make Aunt Flo feel guilty enough so she'll let me stay with her,' but I don't intend to cave. Every single time he's professed to have given up his life of crime, he's duped the folks who were kind enough to give him a second, third, fourth......umpteenth chance. I might not be the brightest bulb in the pack, but I'm not that stupid!
Chris was adopted, and from what we were told, his biological parents were addicts. I'm certain he was born with both alcohol and drug syndrome, and has had a propensity for both since birth. I suppose you could say he never really had a chance from the get-go, but I respectfully disagree. My brother and sister-in-law provided a great home, sent their son to a good school, and made sure all of his needs were met. Hell, this kid had everything he ever wanted and then some! His extended family adored him. We were always together for birthdays, holidays, vacations, and ordinary pop-in visits.
He had it all, but Chris chose a wasted life. The first time I visited him in jail, I posed this question, "Will this be the one and only time you'll be here, or will you be like that gray-haired guy down in the common area twenty years from now?" He looked me square in the eyes and promised he'd never be jailed again.
Well it's been exactly twenty years and he remains behind bars. What a waste!