Thursday, May 31, 2012

Chapter Twenty-Six: Zoo – Henry Villas Zoo

Chapter 26 of the Autobiography... Letter Z,Zoo

Chapter Twenty-Six

Zoo – Henry Villas Zoo

  In Madison, WI there is a Zoo called the Henry Villas Zoo. I’ve gone there on a number of occasions over the years including a few “first dates”. I have a lot of fun every time I go to the Zoo. It makes me want to move to some exotic location like Australia. I’ve always wanted to at least go to a place like that for a short while. So when I go to the Zoo, and aren’t being distracted by a new girl, I fantasize about being in a country that naturally has those types of animals. One day when I’m married and have kids I’ll get to take them to this Zoo. The best part about it is you get the same experience you can get at almost any other zoo, only it’s free at the Henry Villas Zoo. It’s a perfect place to take a girl on your first date with her too since you’re not wasting any money getting to know her a little bit. By the time I leave the Zoo with her I know if it’s worth my money and time to have the date continue with movies or dinner.

Chapter Twenty-Five YMCA – Swimming at the Y

Chapter 25 of the Autobiography... Letter Y, Y.M.C.A.

Chapter Twenty-Five

YMCA – Swimming at the Y

  When my brother, sister, and I were all much younger, we spent quite a bit of time at the YMCA. We would mostly be to swim during open swimming hours. My mom would always take us there. I remember my mom couldn’t swim and that was so interesting to me. My brother and I could swim like fish though, so we had a blast. This is where I learned to swim so well. I remember, to swim in the deep end or use the diving board, one needed to swim the length of the Olympic size pool twice. It always scared me to take the test because half of the pool was ten feet deep and I was afraid of drowning of course. The first time I slipped over the edge into the deep water is all it took for me to learn though. At that point it was just like the old times, sink or swim. I made sure I swam too. In the beginning it was mostly awkward splashing, but I got much better at it over time. 

  My brother and I would go all over inside the YMCA at those times. Though our passes restricted us to some areas, mostly due to our age, we still managed to explore the weight lifting gym and the racquetball courts. At the end of every day that we spent in the YMCA, all three of us kids were so exhausted that I don’t remember a single time that any of us managed to stay awake for the whole ride home. As we got older the crime increased at this location and it got to be sort of ran down. Between those issues and scheduling problems we didn’t continue going there. I still miss going there. I was always so active and had so much fun. Maybe one day I’ll purchase another membership and return there for my workouts.

Chapter Twenty-Four: X-Mas – Christmas With My Family

Chapter 24 of the Autobiography... Letter X, X-mas..

Chapter Twenty-Four

X-Mas – Christmas With My Family

  Every year the plan is usually the same. On Christmas Eve we all gather at my Grandpa’s house (Dad’s Dad) and we spend an hour or two there. We chat for a short while and the grandchildren usually end up in the basement where the pool table is. I come from a family of competitive pool players. I never spent a whole lot of time in the past actually visiting with my grandpa on these nights. It always seemed like I was putting on a front for the rest of the family. After leaving Grandpa’s house we would head to my Grandma’s (Dad’s Mom) where the rest of the crazy bunch were located. 

  Her house is significantly smaller and they always try to stuff twenty to thirty people inside. It’s so crowded that it makes me feel claustrophobic. I usually stand in the kitchen the whole time. It’s breathable and it’s within close distance of the backdoor that everyone stands outside of while they’re smoking. Some years we spend more time there than others, but I’ve found myself wanting to be there less and less over the years. Mostly because of the people and how they act while I’m there. It always seems like a big bitch session (sorry for those of you who are reading this, I’m just being honest). 

  Before eleven that night my immediate family usually takes off from there, heading to their respective homes. I usually spend the night out with my brother on most years. We find some Christmas party to go to, or some bar that’s serving. The next morning everyone eventually congregates at my parents’ house. My cousin Mike has spent Christmas with us ever since I can remember too. We never start opening gifts at the time we plan to because my brother is always fashionably late. My brother, sister, and I still get stockings that my mom fills with the smaller gifts. We’re allowed to open those before the main gift opening comes when everyone gets to the house. When we start opening gifts though, we try to spread them out so everyone gets to open one at a time. No one person gets piled on with a ton of gifts at one time then. Dad takes lots of pictures as he’s always been interested in photography and has a great camera. The little ones Logan and Allyson have more fun opening the gifts than they do with the gifts themselves it seems like. After we clean up the wrappings and pile up each of our gifts then the table gets set for dinner. 

  We generally have an early afternoon dinner because most of us are so exhausted from the usual holiday stress. It’s not uncommon for a few of us to fall asleep after dinner for a mid-afternoon nap either. I like how we spend our Christmas Day at home with our family. I hope we can continue doing this for as many years to come as possible. This time of year has been a big deterrent of me moving too far away. I’m afraid I’ll miss my Christmas with my family. Now here I am in prison where it is impossible for me to spend Christmas with them. I hope that changes and I can spend the rest of my Christmases with my family too.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Chapter Twenty-Three: Washington D.C. – Visiting Our Nation’s Capital

Chapter 23 of the Autobiography... Letter W,Washington D.C.
Chapter Twenty-Three

Washington D.C. – Visiting Our Nation’s Capital

During my eighth grade year in school we have a scheduled trip to Washington D.C. that we take during the summertime. The year we were to go our class almost had ours cancelled due to our behavior in school. We would have been the first class to have our trip cancelled for any reason, let alone for our unruly behavior. Kids had been fighting on a daily basis, people were continually starting food fights during our lunch period, and people were outright disrespecting and disobeying teachers and other staff. They couldn’t allow a group of eighth grade kids that act like that go to Washington D.C. without their parents. So I think it was much to the relief to some of the staff when my Mom decided to take some vacation time from work and go with as a chaperone. She also went with my brother and sister’s classes too, but I think it was in my best interest that she went with me. I’m not sure how badly things would have turned out if she wasn’t there to keep me in line.

So on the day of the trip we went to the Milwaukee airport and flew to Washington D.C.. We had been warned about a number of things that we normally would never have experienced in our neck of the woods. They said, “Don’t give money to the homeless people”, “Don’t buy from vendors on the streets and expect the items to not be knockoffs”, and “Don’t keep too much cash on you, and if you do have cash on you, keep your wallet in a secure pocket. There are a lot of pick pockets in this area”. So right away I’m thinking, “Where the hell are they taking us?” I can honestly say I had a great time. I know I was thinking at the time that having my Mom there with me was going to ruin my trip, but looking back, I really think having her there made it more enjoyable. If I remember correctly, I think I went through 12 rolls of film all on my own. I had my parents’ camera which took excellent pictures. So I was always asked to take the group pictures of everyone. While we were there we visited places like the Washington Monument, the White House, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Arlington Cemetery, and went shopping at all the little stores in the Union Station. We stayed in the Hilton Hotel, but I was sort of surprised, it wasn’t as elegant as they show it on T.V. At night they would put masking tape over our doors and had a security guard sitting in the hallways to make sure we didn’t sneak into the girls’ hotel rooms. Who knows what would happen if one of the girls came home from D.C. pregnant. We toured all over the area. I would have to go back through all of my old photographs to remember more about the trip. I just know I had a blast and would love to go back there with my family again someday.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Chapter Twenty-Two: Video – Becoming a Movie Star

Chapter 22 of the Autobiography... Letter V, Video

Chapter Twenty-Two

Video – Becoming a Movie Star

  When I was nine years old I wanted to be one of the greatest magicians that ever lived. I would purchase magic trick supplies with almost every penny I had. When my family asked what I wanted for a present, of course, it was always a magic trick of some sort. I had hundreds if not thousands of dollars in magic supplies at one point. But when I was nine I think it was my peak of my infatuation with magic. I talked my parents into letting me borrow their video camera and making a video of myself doing all kinds of neat-o tricks. After I performed my show I was kind enough to go through each any every trick and show the viewers how I performed the trick. If someone wasn’t there to teach people how to perform magic tricks, then there would be no magic. At least that’s what I thought at the time. Later of course I learned that a magician never tells. My parents still talk about that video. They say it’s the last proof of my innocent years. It shows who I was before I changed a couple of years later. That video is of the child every parent dreams their child would be. I wish I had never changed, even though deep down inside I know I’m still that kid.

Chapter Twenty-One: Under The Influence – Drinking and Driving

Chapter 21 of the Autobiography... Letter U, Under the Influence.

Chapter Twenty-One

Under The Influence – Drinking and Driving

  During my life I have driven under the influence thousands of times, but I want to focus on the five times I was caught. The first time I was arrested for OWI was in April of 1999, when I was sixteen years old. I was on supervision for a burglary I committed while stealing alcohol from one of my neighbors’ garages. The night of my OWI though, I had been out with some friends and we decided to hit up a party. While at the party I had consumed a couple of beers while I was there. I had been gambling with some older guys at the party and I took the majority of their money. So I offered to give them a ride to a bar on Main St. in Janesville, WI. After leaving the parking lot I headed back up Court St. to go back to the party. My friend Wes was sitting in the front passenger seat and we were listening to some music. I admit I was driving a little fast. But when we got to the top of the hill the street gets a whole lot darker and there is a five-point intersection. When approaching the intersection I noticed an SUV coming up to the stop sign to the left pretty quickly so I hit the brakes. Only the SUV continued through the stop sign and plowed headfirst into my front end.

  I was immediately knocked unconscious. My friend Wes got out and chased one of the passengers in the SUV because they tried to flee the accident. When he returned he and another witness helped pull the driver’s door open to get me out. I eventually had found out I had injured my elbow pretty badly, but at this point the police just wanted to make their arrests. I was revoked from my juvenile supervision and sent to Ethan Allen School for Boys a month later.

  On May 16th of 2005 I was leaving a festival in the area near my home where I had been drinking heavily for a few hours and I had car troubles when slowing down for a curve. At the same time there was an officer who had another gentleman pulled over for a traffic related offense. When he heard my engine rev to the limit, he immediately jumped into his squad car and chased me. By the time he pulled up behind my car which I had already exited and was at the passenger door pulling out a case of beer. He put the case of beer back and told me he wanted to give me a field sobriety test because he though I had been drinking too much. After failing the test he took me to jail. I was on adult supervision at the time for Possession with Intent to Deliver LSD and Felony Bail Jumping, so they immediately put me on a Probation Hold. I eventually was released six days later and was only sentenced to five days in jail (time served) and a fine. I lost my job due to not being able to call in while I was in jail.

  Almost a year and half later on October 12th 2006, I had been working at another job and while out with a couple of co-workers I had a few drinks at the bar. Around 1:00AM I decided to head home. I didn’t even make it out of the city of Beloit before being pulled over for not making a complete stop at a stop sign. When he approached the car he noticed an open bottle of beer in the center counsel. I once again failed the field sobriety test, but since I was doing as I was told and I wasn’t making any problems for the officers, they drove me up the street to the hospital so they could draw blood. After drawing blood from me they called my father to come pick me up.

  Later on September 4th of 2008 I was tubing down Turtle Creek with a few friends of mine. We brought our own tubes along and left a pickup truck at the bar where we planned on exiting the creek. The trip took quite a few hours as the current was moving quite slowly. So we managed to drink all of the beer we had brought along. By the time we exited at the Shopiere Tap I thought I was most likely the soberest one of the group so I opted to drive. When coming into the town limits we were all loaded in the front and back of the pickup truck and the police officer saw me driving of course, and he knew I didn’t have a driver’s license. So he attempted to pull me over, but I wasn’t going to make it that easy for him. I shifted down into first and gunned the engine, kicking rocks all over his windshield. He wouldn’t give up and I didn’t want anyone getting hurt so I just drove to my friend Brandon’s house and pulled into his driveway. He just so happened to have been in the front seat next to me. The officer got me out of the truck and told me I was under arrest. When he decided to give me a field sobriety test I told him I refused. I had three prior convictions and was clearly under the influence, so we could just skip the BS and go straight to jail. He in turn was generous enough to take me to the hospital I went to for the last blood draw and have them draw my blood again. Since he was headed back to my town he was kind enough to drop me off at home then. My parents signed for responsibility of me and as soon as the officer left I walked out the backdoor and went back to Brandon’s to drink some more. 

  The last time I was arrested for an OWI I had just attended my grandma’s funeral. After the funeral the whole family went to my aunt and uncle’s house and had dinner and drinks. After having a few drinks I left in my car. When I came to a four-way stop at the same time as a city bus, I waved the bus driver through. When he started heading up the hill much slower than I thought he should have been, I was closely behind him. Apparently close enough to draw the attention of the officer in the car behind. A minute later he pulled me over, and of course, once again, I was under the influence and was restricted by an absolute sobriety law. He eventually took me to jail and booked me for my fifth OWI, which is a felony, and I later was sentenced to eighteen months in prison and twenty-four months of extended supervision.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Chapter Twenty: Tubing – Relaxing on the Sugar River

 Chapter 20 of the Autobiography... Letter T, Tubing.

Chapter Twenty
Tubing – Relaxing on the Sugar River

  So many summers of mine have been spent tubing down the Sugar River. We would start in Albany, WI and pay for our tube rentals there and then get in the river right behind the rental place. The water is usually less than six feet throughout the majority of the tubing area, so it tends to stay pretty warm in the water. Most summers I would go tubing at least a half dozen times and at the peak I was going three times a week. I had so many good times with a number of different friends while tubing down this river. 

  Amongst all the fun in the sun while tubing there were also some bad times as well. The thing about this tubing adventure, as some may call it, is the biggest share of the people come there to get obnoxiously drunk while they float down the lazy river. I haven’t had problems on most occasions while I was there, but where there is alcohol there is usually trouble. On one occasion I got separated from the friends I was tubing with and at one point even lost my tube while I was searching along the sandy beach halfway down the river. When I dove back into the river to try to catch my escaping tube, it managed to get some distance between me and it. I tried so hard for the next twenty minutes to catch up to my tube, but it was no use, it was going faster than I was. Then I came across a fishing boat that was tied to the bank of the river, so I jumped in it. I needed to make it to the exit point somehow. When I got in and untied the boat I realized it had an outboard on it so I fired it up and took off up and down the river a few times to try to find the friends I originally came with. After a few rips up and down the river I gave up and pulled off the side of the river next to the exit point and tied the boat to a tree. I laid in some tall grass at the top of the hill until I heard a bus coming. Then I realized I was a little ways away from the exit point. So I had to run through this field to get to the exit point before they ended up leaving me there. I crossed a few electric fences in wet shorts while getting to the bus. It wasn’t a very pleasant feeling, but I managed to get there just in time. Luckily my friends were all there waiting for me too. For a while I thought I was going to miss my ride home too. That is the last time I went tubing on the Sugar River. Hopefully I can still enjoy hot summer days floating down the river once I find sober people I can go with. In the meantime I think I’ll have to stick to fishing or something else like that.

Chapter Nineteen: Sister – Being Her Personal Bodyguard

Chapter 19 of the Autobiography... Letter S, Sister.

Chapter Nineteen
Sister – Being Her Personal Bodyguard

My sister was born named Rebecca Jo, on April 6th, 1987, in the same hospital as my brother and I were. She is by far the most important young woman in my life and I would die protecting her. While growing up I spent a lot of time hanging out with my brother, but there was a period of time that I hung out with my sister more too. I always wanted to be there to protect her as much as I possibly could. When we were young and she would be in an argument with one of my parents, I would even do something to draw the attention away from her. They would then be all eyes on me and instantly forgetting anything she may have done. 

  One afternoon while at my Grandfather’s house, we were all hanging out in and around his new in-ground swimming pool. At the time my sister didn’t have too much experience swimming on her own yet. Somehow while alone, she managed to slip out of her floating inner tube and sank to the bottom of the pool without anyone noticing. Luckily a moment later I saw her at the bottom of the pool. So I dove in and pulled her out of the water. She gasped for air a few times and coughed up water, but all in all, she was okay. Beyond scaring me half to death, everything ended up fine that day. All through her life I’ve tried to stay close to her so I could protect her. If she had problems with someone at school she would simply ask them, “Do you know who my brother is?” and nine out of ten times it would stop and I wouldn’t have to intervene. There had been a few other times that she’s called on me to handle some out-of-line person who was disrespectful to her too, but it never ended up being that serious. I’ve always respected my sister’s choice in boyfriends too, but not a single one went without a sit-down with me. I simply would warn them that if they gave my sister problems, they would have to deal with me, and if they hurt my sister, I would hurt them worse than they could ever imagine. She never had any issues with any of them really… She was the heartbreaker. When she met the man who is now her husband, I let her tell me all about him, then I got my own first impression. He never needed to have that sit-down all of her other boyfriends had, because I could tell he wasn’t like the rest. He was respectful, honest, outgoing, caring, and that he truly loved my sister, and her son. When she chose to marry him, I couldn’t even question her decision the slightest bit because I knew they were meant for each other and that he was exactly the kind of man she’s always deserved. Since their marriage, her husband has legally adopted their son Logan who is four years old, and they also have a daughter together name Allyson who will be turning two in July. These two kids mean the world to me and I hope they will learn from my mistakes and that I can grow to be a great role model for them as well. I see so much of who I used to be as a child in my nephew Logan.

Chapter Eighteen: Rooster – Time on My Uncle’s Farm

Chapter Eighteen: Rooster – Time on My Uncle’s Farm

Chapter 18 of the Autobiography... Letter R, Rooster.
Chapter Eighteen
Rooster – Time on My Uncle’s Farm
When I was growing up I spent a lot of time on the farm owned by my Uncle “Butch”. I was always excited when my parents planned to go to his farm to visit. He had dairy cows, beef steer, chickens, and even a goat in his front lawn at one point. As much as I grew up around people farming and whatnot, I still didn’t spend much time on farms outside of his. It was the one time I could go and explore the world on my own terms. I could get on his four-wheeler and take off to wherever I wanted to. He lived on a dirt/gravel road in the middle of nowhere outside of Marshfield, WI. So I could even ride the four-wheeler down the road as long as it was at a reasonable speed. Behind his farm property he owned some wooded land that he used during hunting season, and I would go exploring in during the non-hunting season. I could spend all day out there depending on the amount of gas I had in the tank. Worst case scenario, I’d just ride back and get some more. I got to ride on tractors, four-wheelers, three-wheelers, and even drive a truck once when I was really young. I don’t recall how old I was exactly when I did all of this stuff, but I know I had a great time. 
 My Uncle taught me how to milk a cow when I was pretty young too. That skill just kind of stuck with me and I’m glad for it too. Since then I’ve worked on a couple of different farms and had to milk cows on them too. 
 One summer when I was really young my Uncle told me that if I went out to the chicken coop and caught a chicken, then he’d give me ten dollars. So I went out there and was chasing chickens around for what seemed like forever. When I finally got one of them cornered I started to close in on it and it was hopping and flapping and scratching and squawking and screeching like all hell broke loose. I managed to finally close my hands around its neck, but not until after it had scratched and cut me up from head to toe. After that I took the chicken to my Uncle up by the house and told him I finally caught a chicken for him. He told me to go ahead and just set the chicken down on the ground and he’d pay me the ten dollars he promised. I argued right away that I had spent almost an hour trying to catch this chicken, but he stood his ground and asked me to put it down anyway. When I put it down he handed me a twenty dollar bill. Then I asked him why he gave me a twenty instead of a ten and he replied, “Well, that’s because you brought me a rooster.” Ever since then I paid more attention to the difference between a chicken and a rooster, and during that time, I realized how unbelievably mean his rooster actually was. I’m surprised I still have both of my eyes today. 
 Now, as much as I enjoyed spending time on my Uncle’s farm when I was growing up, I also had one of the worst memories of my life happen there too. It was November 21st, 1997, and my Brother, my Dad, and I were all staying at my Uncle’s for deer hunting season. It was a Friday night and the following morning was opening day. It was a typical “guy’s night out” for those times. We didn’t have very many times that we were all hanging out together anymore since my Brother and I were growing up and had our own friends. So when the three of us would go out for deer hunting season, we would have as much fun as possible. Well this year it included us meeting at a local bar and having some drinks. But for whatever reason my Brother and I had been taking our time with meeting everyone there. By the time we had decided to go by there my Dad’s truck was gone from the bar. Instead of looking for him, my Brother and I decided to just go back to my Uncle’s house and call it a night. Shortly after that we were sleeping in the living room when I heard my Dad stumble into the living room and plop down in the recliner sitting next to me. When I asked him where he had been and he replied with some slurring nonsense, I knew something was wrong. I was dreading turning on the light, and when I did, I don’t think I could have been prepared for what I was about to see. He had blood running down his face, blood on his hands, and blood running down his leg. His pants were tore wide open and the little bit of his leg I could see on the inside was tore wide open. I immediately woke my brother up and then my Dad starting asking me where his truck was. So I had my brother look after him while I ran outside to see where his truck was, but all I could see was his foot tracks through the fresh snow. So I ran back inside and told him his truck wasn’t out there. He still couldn’t remember where it was either. My Brother and I agreed that he needed to go to the hospital so I ran upstairs to get my Aunt, and was surprised to find my Uncle in bed with her also. I had thought all along that my Dad was out with my Uncle and that the truck was wherever my Uncle still was. Now things got confusing for me. I told them that my Dad had walked back to the house and was covered in blood and we didn’t know where his truck was, but I needed someone to give him a ride to the hospital. My Aunt told me she’d taken a prescription sleep aid, and my Uncle had been drinking, neither one was able to drive him. I’m unsure exactly how my dad got to the hospital after that. I think I was somewhat in a form of shock. But I think my cousin came by the house and drove us there while my Brother went out looking for my Dad’s truck. 
  When we were at the hospital they were asking all kinds of questions about how he had been hurt and no one had any answers. No one knew anything about how it had happened, yet. Next thing I knew a couple of Sheriff’s deputies walked in looking for my Dad. I didn’t know what to think at that point. All in all they told me he was involved in a high speed chase with a civilian, had crossed the center line, exceeded one hundred miles per hour, driven through some people’s front lawns and finally ended when rolling his truck a number of times into a corn field. No one found either him or the other man who was originally seen in the truck, until then. By now it was November 22nd, my fifteenth birthday, and I was so scared for my Dad at this point. I didn’t know what was going to happen after that. It became a turning point for my Dad, but unbelievably it didn’t phase me into even considering the least bit that maybe the same thing could have happened to me when I would drink and drive after that. I consider myself a lucky person today and will never forget my fifteenth birthday for the rest of my life.

Chapter Seventeen: 1-800-QUIT-NOW – Quitting Smoking Cigarettes

Chapter 17 of the Autobiography... Letter Q, Quit smoking Cigarettes.

Chapter Seventeen
1-800-QUIT-NOW – Quitting Smoking Cigarettes

 I’ve tried quitting smoking cigarettes a number of different times, but it just has never worked out in my favor. I’ve always told myself that I would completely quit smoking when I got out of jail, but of course, I always went back to it. The few other times that I actually tried to quit smoking while I was outside in the free world and was able to smoke if I wanted to, it all came down to some girl. Why I would do something that I didn’t want to do for some girl I just met, I’ll never know. But I did. I called 1-800-QUIT-NOW just like on the commercials. I sat on the phone with them for hours doing some kind of oral assessment and then was put on hold for a while. When they came back on the phone they had me schedule a follow up appointment before discussing them sending me something to help me quit. When they finally got around to discussing what they should send me I asked for Chantix, but of course the funding for the program wouldn’t pay for a new drug that was so expensive and in it’s early stages of use. Both my sister and my dad used it to help them quit, but I didn’t have insurance to pay for it. Instead they sent me nicotine patches and nicotine gum. The patches helped me but they caused me the irritation on my skin. They gave me a small rash and the skin surrounding it itched so bad. The nicotine gum helped some too, but I had a bad habit of chewing on it way too much. You are only supposed to chew it when you have a craving. When the craving goes away you’re suppose to stop chewing on it, but I just couldn’t. All in all I really was doing this for someone else when I did it. Every time I got out of jail I’d light up a cigarette right outside the front doors, and as soon as I’d get stressed out with the girl I quit smoking for, I’d light one up too. I never saw the benefits of quitting smoking for the longest time. Sure, the smell of stale cigarettes is disgusting, but I never saw the health benefits firsthand. I wasn’t noticing negative consequences to me smoking cigarettes at those times. Now that I’ll have been without a cigarette for a year when I get released, hopefully it will be easier to not go back to smoking cigarettes this time.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Chapter Sixteen: Police – My First Arrest

Chapter 16 of the Autobiography... Letter P, Police.


Chapter Sixteen
Police – My First Arrest

 When I was thirteen years old I was sneaking out of the house at night all the time. I had a paper delivery route for a few years and I was at that time where I wanted to give it up and pass it on to somebody else. Around this time my parents weren’t letting me hang out with my friend Travis. They thought he was a bad influence on me, but on the last night of my paper route I managed to talk my parents into thinking he wasn’t getting into any trouble anymore and they let him stay the night at my house that night. 

 That night we both went out and stole quite a few hood ornaments off of cars around our town. We didn’t get much sleep that night and had to fold and deliver papers by 5:30AM. I was passing the paper route onto my best friend who lived two houses away from me. He and I grew up together for the last eight years or so. He was a good kid and hadn’t been in any trouble so it was unfortunate that I involved him in what happened next. All three of us went off on the route to teach my best friend the layout of the route. We walked it for the purpose of learning it, but on a normal day I’d fly through and deliver the whole route on my bicycle in less than an hour. Walking it would take up to two hours. When we started walking the route we came across some cars with ornaments still attached to the hood. Some we pulled off, some we skipped by. But when we were nearly finished with the route I was showing my other friend where the deliveries went in the trailer park and I heard a “SNAP!” behind me. The next thing I knew was one of the people that lived there came outside yelling at us like crazy. Apparently he had seen Travis steal the ornament. So we took off running and we couldn’t think of anywhere to hide the ornaments, so I stuck them into my newspaper bag. A few blocks up the street a police officer pulled up next to us and asked us what we were doing. I told him that I was showing my friend how to deliver the papers on the route because he was taking it over. The officer asked us if we had anything on us we shouldn’t have and of course I said no. He looked through our pockets and when searching in my jacket he found an ornament I still had in my pocket from the night before. After that he told me I was under arrest and handcuffed me. I told him there was more in the bag and he took those too. All three of us were taken to the police department but I told the officer that the others didn’t have anything to do with it, that I had stolen them on my own. They took statements and my two friends were picked up by their parents. My parents were called down there as well and they said they were going to investigate it a little further. 

 A few days later I was at a track meet that I was participating in when four officers crossed the field and handcuffed me for the second time that week, only this time it was in front of five different schools and hundreds of parents. They took me to the police department again. This time they asked me if I had anything else I had stolen in my home and I told them I didn’t. They asked me if I had put anything in my attic that I had stolen and I again told them I didn’t. Then they pulled out a box of hood ornaments that I had stolen over the past month. It contained forty-six hood ornaments of all makes and models. I rode in a police car later that day and pointed out each house I could remember stealing an ornament off of a car at. There were too many to remember, and the rest were from cars in a municipal parking lot. 

 I was charged with multiple theft charges and was able to obtain a list of the confirmed victims of the thefts. I wrote letters of apology to all of the people on the list and all but two didn’t reply. The ones that didn’t reply ended up dropping the charges and the two that did reply accepted my apology and said I could do yard work for them as repayment for what I had done. I was still put on probation for something but don’t remember the details of the reasoning. Apparently they found cause to put me on probation, and I definitely needed it. 

 Only, when I was put on supervision they found I had been smoking marijuana, so they started drug testing me. I found out I could drink alcohol and it wouldn’t come up in the drug tests, so that was the beginning of my first stages of heavy drinking. I would drink almost every night for a while, just so I could sleep at night. It wasn’t long after that and I had a panic attack and finally broke down and told my mom everything. She had me see a psychiatrist who eventually started me on some medications that helped very little. But at least they got me started on something and recognized something was wrong with the way I was thinking and acting.