I graduated with honors from a correctional boot camp in Wisconsin when I was 15 years old.

And on my graduation day my father didn’t show up. He called in to say that he’d remarried and him and his new wife decided they didn’t want a kid after all.

Among other things, he complained that I was (at the time) a vegetarian and they didn’t know what to cook for me.

He said I don’t know just put him back in jail. The staff and social workers were stunned. Mouths fell open.
Some of them cried.

On went the cuffs and shackles.
And back I went.
They totally thought I was going to snap. I didn’t.

I sat in there alone and just broke down and decided the only thing I could do was forgive them.

There was discussion about where I’d go from there.
I didn’t want to go to a foster home and play “family.”
That ship had sailed.
The concept of a family was ruined for me.
I didn’t have one up until that point and now I didn’t even want one anymore.

I said if you put me in another group home I’m going to run away and you’re going to sanction me and when you find me I’m going to come right back here. Send me to my mom’s, I’m going to run away and I’ll just be another face on a milk carton.

Three days and many hushed whispers later they came back and said they decided that was actually probably the best possible outcome.

I got a little graduation certificate signed by some of the staff.

Sandra Jennings wrote “You have the ability to move mountains. And if you can’t move them, then just walk around them.”

My high school tried to get me in trouble for truancy, they tried to have my license suspended… and really … hadn’t they already done enough to me?

I got even with them.

Thankfully some people in the probation office said nope, we heard he has a job in Madison and he’s doing great. We’re not touching him.