DONNIE: It looks like I have gray hair.
BECKY: You got blonde hair your mamas got gray hair.
They look at me
like Ive been poor like this my whole life I havent
been. I wasnt always married to an inmate.
BECKY: Your daddy
just got his haircut. He said hes got a new style and were
gonna like it.
gonna like it?
gonna like it.
DONNIE: What does
it look like?
BECKY: He told
me he had it move your head Im gonna cut your ear off!
Alan did have
a job he had a very good job. We were well supported. When
he first started coming into my life. I was in an abusive relationship.
Alan came in to
kind of take care of me I was pregnant and having a rough time with
pregnancy so we did everything. We went out took the kids
to the park, went swimming, did everything with the kids. And he
was my out He helped me get out and stuck with me the whole
thing we escaped he stayed with me. He was there and
he stayed, hes been there for the passed ten years.
you go get your hair off. Cmon Josh!
poor Im very poor now. I wasnt before we had
everything in the world, comfortable, we knew where our meals were
coming from- we knew how the rent was going to get paid. Now I struggle
to cover the rent. I can hope that I keep my lights on we
BECKY: Josh take
it easy now! Hey, hey, hey dont do that. Dont
do that I need to tighten the top up.
a sentence, families doing time right along with their men
if youre sticking it out youre doing their same sentence
family pays he might be paying but I dont think
as dearly as his family is.
Alan always wanted
to move down south. And I wanted to get out of New Hampshire. I
had a bad marriage there and my x husband still caused a lot of
problems for me and I wanted to get me and my kids away and
get a fresh new start.
We knew that we
were ditching everything so we had no money, we had nothing and
then he gotten arrested since we had already given up our
house and given up his job we had no place to live and no
income the courts were kind enough to let us come to Georgia
and set up house before he was sentenced.
the house I used to live in. That was a nice house.
Alan set us up
in a nice house. Doing what we always did living comfortably,
BECKY: That was
a beautiful house.
when he got sentenced all that went out the door. Everything went
down and the house that we had set up I had to move out of.
Me, Alan and the
boys we all went out to Cicis pizza the night before he left.
It was a good night.
We tried not to
concentrate on the fact that now daddy going to be going
up north and not coming home. Alan was real cool about it. He was
more like its no big deal its like Im going on
vacation, you know you know like when I went to work and
youd get out of school and I wasnt there, and on weekend
I was there. He says well Im just gonna be away on weekends
Well we packed
up the next day, off we went and my mom took the kids. And I was
up there for a month. And I came home and as soon as I pulled in
the yard you know the kids are going to run out and give everybody
hugs and the first question was wheres daddy? And I
had to explain, your daddys in jail hes not coming
TRAILER - DONNIES
He broke down
crying Donnie did. His heart was broke. It was broke because
to him it was daddy died. That's what it was to him. Is your dad's
not coming home and whenever you tell a kid something's not coming
home it's usually because it's never coming home. And then trying
to explain to him that your dad's gonna come home when you're eighteen.
You know not gonna have him for your childhood but you're gonna
have him when you're eighteen years old. That didn't work cause
kid can't see that far in the future. So to him Daddys
just not coming home.
DONNIE: I asked
my mom if am I every gonna see dad again. She said yeah when dad's
getting out of jail. When I'm gonna turn eighteen and my brother's
gonna turn 16 or 17 maybe 15 I don't really know. Turn 13 yeah,
yeah I got six more birthdays to go.
He built and built
and built with rage. And he didnt have any place to vent that
anger. He couldn't be mad at the police because the police did their
job. You can't be mad at the court either. You know, your dad did
something wrong and they had to do what they had to do. So you can't
be mad at them.
And couldn't be
mad at his dad and that's the place he kind of would want to be
mad at. He couldn't be mad at his dad either because dad was so
perfect to him.
TRAILER - KITCHEN
DONNIE: I have
to move this over. I bet my dad thinks that Im a great drawer.
Some day Im gonna be just like him.
He was leaning
further and further into psychosis. He was hearing bad voices. Voices
that were telling him to die. Kill himself. Kill his brother. Kill
his family. Voices that had him drawing pictures of himself in a
coffin and the word "die" was written up in the word balloon.
DONNIE: Wow! I
dont think I did a very bad job
how do you think that
He had a suicidal
edge going to him - and a very violent one. I brought him to the
Doctor and this all was enough to put him on anti-psychotics.
TRAILER - LIVING
these and these.
has never improved 100%. He started to go on a very small uphill
grade enough to where he was functional.
DONNIE: Dad oh
dad, it makes me sad to see you in jail. But you did the crime so
you do the time and then I will see you again. Oh dad it
breaks my heart to see us apart dad oh dad oh man! PS I Love
You - peace and love forever!
When Alan went
up north everything about Josh got taken away. Josh was this little
pit crew boy with the helmet and the overalls. Who went out and
got all greasy sitting on a car engine. You know he took apart things
and put things together and they repaired small engines. Everything
about Josh that you see is all Alan created and molded it and put
in to that boy.
You know Josh
had the helmet on his head and dad and the racing thing this
kid would come out in the middle of the night, curl up next to daddy
on the couch and watch the race. So now when Josh, 2, 3 oclock
in the morning when hes not going to sleep is gonna
come out, expecting his daddy to be sitting on the end of the couch,
flipping through the TV, having somebody to curl up to watch the
race. Im not dad, I dont fit that spot, Im not
on the right side of the couch thats not what he wants.
So hell put the big teddy bear or the helmet on his head and
hell curl himself up in this one spot pretending that the
picture and the helmet and the teddy bear replaces the dad that
sat there on the corner of the couch and watched the race with him.
He doesn't understand
hurt. Doesn't understand pride. Doesn't understand anything emotional
that we understand. So it comes out to him in misbehavior.
JOSH: Hey! Hey!
And most misbehavior
can usually be translated back to he had this he doesn't. He had
that he doesn't. This was here it's not here anymore. This changed
and it disrupted his life. And now he's responding this way. And
you can usually trace it back and everything about him gets traced
right back to the day his dad left.
So he lugs around
his tools and his stupid little helmet and goes out and takes things
This is Josh trying
to tell you that I miss doing these things. I miss going out working
with dad on the car. I miss going to the races. This is why I've
got this helmet on. I miss the wrestling and the football and the
TRAILER - COURT
DONNIE: Need any
JOSH: Shut Up
Ill do a little bit of banging
DONNIE: Now go
get it. Piece of crap. Hit me again. Give me my shirt back
give me my shirt back!
TRAILER - COURT
- BOYS SWORD FIGHTING
DONNIE: Quit it!
My trailer park
Oh it's run down. It's not a place to show your friends but everybody
that lives there are my friends and they all live the same so I
guess that works.
My street that
I live on is a whole little family community all itself. Um I've
got Joyce down there she lives the next trailer in front of me.
Joyce down there she lives the next trailer in front of me.
Joyce and her son Malcolm are a big part of my life. Joyce is my
best friend and has stood by my side from all of this. I met her
when I came down here to Georgia and she has stood by my
side and Malcolm has stood by my kids.
Dang that was quick.
DONNIE: Hmm that
look good Mommy could you come check on this stuff I think
it might be done.
BECKY: What was
that all about? Go on.
Being a single
mother with two boys is not an easy thing to be. Discipline is a
big thing Moms get walked over real easy. So I want to make
sure for the kids sake, when I say Oh your dads gonna hear
about that they know we dont want dad to be
wrong with him?
BECKY: He wont
come out into the living room. Hes being a brat.
When Josh brings
home a behavioral slip I handle it. But I also turn around
and say this is gonna get sent to your daddy, were gonna photocopy
this and this is gonna get sent to your dad. Report cards are sent
to his dad. Everything good or bad is sent. So he does stay involved
and when he gets that in the mail he'll either try to call and say,
"Josh I just got this thing in the mail you know what's that
I keep it going
even though your dad doesnt live with you. But that doesnt
make him any less your dad and I keep it up and I keep it going.
I'm big on you
write to your dad, your dad wrote you a letter you read that letter
and you write.
DONNIE: Dear Donnie
how are you doing son well Easter is almost here,
I hope that you have a good Easter. I have enclosed your Easter
card and also your birthday card along with this letter oh
I swear I wish I could be there for your birthday but as
you already know I cant I hope that you have a good
birthday and remember that you are always in my heart son. Take
care of yourself and always remember that I love you with all my
heart son. Lots of love, your dad Alan JR thats the
Josh he needs
a man. There's not a whole lot I can do for Josh. Josh needs to
get out there, the riding bike thing you know, have male contact,
swimming, playing ball, wrestling, all these things that I just
physically, unfortunately, can't do.
BECKY: OK Im
getting out of the way. No dont spray up here Im done
I said! Hey gimme my glasses they got me.
JOYCE: They got
BECKY: I lost
cut the water off!
ever went wrong in my life there was always an animal that I can
BECKY: You barking
I found that animals
dont betray you like humans do, most animals dont leave
you they certainly dont get drunk and commit stupid
Walk through my
house and you know animals live there I have them on my table, theyre
on my cupboards theyre everywhere! They run the home. But
for us its a happy home. If my animals were to be gone the
home wouldnt be happy.
BECKY: What Josh?
gonna show you where that hole is ok?
BECKY: Yes thats
where were going.
BECKY: Yeah I
want you guys to move. Move away Josh. Move that way!
Sammy my cat had
some up missing. Not uncommon he was a tomcat he was the
most adorable cat and he followed me form place to place. So I had
him the whole year that Alan was down there and he was just a family
guys. Boys come here. Come here! Sammy is not coming home.
DONNIE: It was
JOSH: It is Sammy?
DONNIE: It really
was him? Oh
to New Hampshire yoo hoo
BECKY: Where are
going to New Hampshire.
going to New Hampshire? What are we going to do there?
DONNIE: Oh were
gonna go see daddy.
BECKY: In this
thing? You think itll make it?
JOSH: No were
JOSH: No were
BECKY: What are
we going to do?
JOSH: Never mind.
BECKY: Never mind
DONNIE: I really
JOSH: Ain't you
I sad about what?
DONNIE: He was
a very good cat.
BECKY: Yes he
have one more look at it.
JOSH: Donnie will.
DONNIE: I sad
I wanted to have one look at him.
still the same?
DONNIE: Is he
all tored up?
just not pretty anymore. Okay.
DONNIE: He must
have had bugs coming out.
BECKY: Uhh no
DONNIE: He didnt?
DONNIE: Was he
still in his bones?
he just wasnt pretty anymore. You guys think of all
the morbid things.
DONNIE: Was his
eyes falling out?
BECKY: No that
was the cat that was the first cat me and Daddy got when
we got down here stop OK.
DONNIE: Now hes
JOSH: Now we have
to tell dad.
DONNIE: Can I
cut an onion?
JOSH: Can I cut
BECKY: You can
wait one minute. Alright just a minute Donnie. Donnie.
DONNIE: I got
BECKY: No look.
Wait, wait, wait.
What kind of meat are we gonna use?
gonna use onions for protein, iron actually.
DONNIE: Ooh I
dont want regular old potato.
I aint got no groceries in this house. And I have to stay
off my feet today so I cant go down to the store and get nothing
right now. We got potato thats what we eat. Do I have any
green pepper or yellow pepper or any kind of pepper I dont
JOSH: no, no,
go see Josh how do you know?
JOSH: I looked
in the refrigerator.
DONNIE: We have
BECKY: No in the
BECKY: No Donnie!
In the fridge Im looking for a green a pepper
DONNIE: We have
BECKY: No, no
Donnie, Donnie those are spices I want you to look in the fridge.
Daddys going to be calling pretty soon.
is a collect call from ALAN. Who is an inmate incarcerated at Concord
mens Prison. To accept charges press zero.
There's a phone
connection and every week they wait and Daddy's gonna cal.
The only father
to those children, the only husband I have is a voice, once a week.
when they get split up and you gets parents in another town there's
usually just a weekend visit and maybe once a month or sometimes
they can spend a school year. My kids don't have anything like that.
All they've got now is one hour a week and not even that because
we have to split it up between the 3 of us. So in order to keep
the family together, you figure thats all there is.
JOSH: Dad what
are you doing next week? You gonna send us one of those pieces
of papers that you always do?
I've got one child
who can't read. Letters for him are completely meaningless. You
know you can write him a ten page letter telling him everything
that happened and Josh isn't going to absorb that. Josh needs something
real and grounded, something he can grasp on to and the only thing
he's got is the sound of his dad's voice.
DONNIE: Hey Daddy.
Um were gonna go swimming and have a cook out tomorrow. Its
gonna be fun too. What are you gonna be doing tomorrow?
It gets expensive;
I mean that's half the reason why I can't get a better place to
live is because the only way to keep the marriage together is the
stupid telephone. I mean I've paid a lot of heavy-duty bills. My
past bill was an $850 bill.
DONNIE: Love you
And people are
thinking that I'm on the phone all the time which I'm not. We're
very good. He's got a watch and uh as soon as we pick up the phone
and we're connected he starts timing and in an hour the phone gets
shut off not because the prison does it because got to keep the
phone bills down.
BECKY: We made
a round so its just about that time so. Ill let
you go until Saturday then. OK? I love you. Happy anniversary again
oh we just got disconnected.
you for using Sprint
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