I was sitting in the library reading a newspaper minding my own business. Teri Absher came into the library to let me know that someone wanted to see me in the office. Teri worked in the office though she was a student in my class. I saw Teri for the first time when I was in the fifth grade. She went to Marshville Elementary. The classes from Marshville came to Wingate Elementary for some reason which I do not remember. I also don’t remember how many came from the school, if it was the fifth grade classes or more. I saw her in the auditorium for a gathering. It was brief, from a distance and then they went home.
I never forgot her and couldn’t wait until middle school in two years to begin my pursuit of her. We did date briefly in the 7th grade and I maintained my crush throughout high school. I was glad she came to let me know someone needed to see me. It created another opportunity or us to talk. When I arrived at the office there were two or three sheriff deputies waiting to take me downtown. It was one of those surreal moments of my life. I was totally humiliated and quite fearful. Teri became the least of my worries at that moment.
They had found our stuff that we had stolen from the high school. The police were looking for something my older brothers had stolen. I’m not exactly what it was. In their search they found our stuff that we had hid at grandmother’s house. They soon arrested Gary and Dwayne as well. I think they let Dwayne go because he was either 12 or 13 at the time. I don’t think they kept Gary overnight and I don’t remember what his punishment was. They searched me, took my belongings including the leather strings to my knee-high moccasins. I didn’t understand why they took my boot strings. After five days in jail I began to understand why.
I wanted to kill myself. I thought about suicide. The days dragged by. I was in a room that was about 10’ x 10’. It was a concrete room with a cot, sink and toilet. There was a very small window in the door and a narrow rectangular window that faced Charlotte. They shoved yellow grits and other foods through the small slot at the bottom of the door. That was the only contact I had with anyone for the five days. I had tickets to see Bachman Turner Overdrive in Charlotte that weekend and was very upset that my brothers got to go and not me. I learned later that my dad made a decision to leave me in jail thinking it would change my life. It did change my life for sure. I’m grateful for his decision. I got a couple of years probation for that event, but the impact on my life lasted a lot longer. I determined that I was done with a life of crime, drugs and my family who were no help in my rehabilitation.