Stories of Lives Changed

ďSecond ChancesĒ-Bruce


ďHey as long as you never give up,

You always have a chance thangs are gonna get better.Ē


With all rights, I guess I shoulda, I guess, check on that when I was sixteen and had a car wreck and stayed in the hospital for a couple of months and I got to come back, and I get back and the doctor saw me and told my family well uh, thereís ten percent chance out of a hundred that heíll ever have a normal life and I worked all my life up till right now.My mom and dad divorced when I was twelve, and uh, my grandparents adopted me and I lived with them till I was grown.Actually when my parents separated and divorced I just, I didnít really care.I was a perfect student in school and everything and after that happened, I started failing in school, one thang lead to another and I ended up, when I got about fifteen I decided I wanted to work for a living instead of going to school so I quit school and I been working every since. Never have been able to get a real job, not what I call a real job anyway.I just always doing odd carpet work, farm work and stuff like that.

In ninety-one I had a real bad timber cuttiní accident, and I stayed disabled for almost four years, for I could get back to work.Had a tree that fell on me when I was toppiní hung off the ground, laid my head four inches into the ground, tore all the muscles loose from the bone on uh, the right side from my tail bone to my right elbow and uh, had to have knee surgery done, uh, run a stick through my jaw, lost a whole lot of time, I donít remember, maybe six months of stuff thatís gone.

A lot of little problems I had it uh, the accident caused me to have seizures uh, up until, [silence] well I had one up in January, it was the first night out of three years but hey, it took um five, six years to get them under control and uh, they said it was from getting hit in the head so hard, scare tissue, so that kind of limited me on jobs too.After that, couldnít get a job working off the ground.It started changiní a lot of the way I did things.The way I thought about things.Back in the fall, well it was October uh, got outta work again, like I do about every winter, and um, got on the Families First program and one of their offers was for me to get my GED.So if thatís what I need to do then, then I started thinking all kinds of possibilities and hey itís the fact of never really having nothing and I donít want my kids to have to be like that.I wanna do better for them.They ten and thirteen years old and they got a lot ahead of them, and I know both of them gonna wanna go to school, they gonna wanna got to college cause ainít neither on of them wanna have to work like I have, I mean Iíve worked until Iím 38 years old now and some mornings when I get up it takes me fifteen minuets to stand up right just from the way Iíve worked all my life.Using my back and using my muscles when I have enough intelligence that I shouldnít havenít have never been doiní it in the first place, and uh, the teacher I had this winter taught me that one morning, she inspired a lot of that.I was just doing it in the beginning I would not tell a story, I was doing it to participate with the program so we could get the help that we needed, you know, and then uh, she kind of inspired me to. ďWell look man why do you just keeping trying to kill yourself to make a living when you could be doing other stuff?Ē

And uh, it really got me to thinking and me and my wife did some serious talkiní about it, and uh, I got a older daughter, she just graduated from college, me and her talked about it and she told me what she was going through with her computer courses cause she majored in computers and uh, she told me ďwell it ainít gon be easyĒ, she said ďbut I think you can do itĒ.

Right now Iím in the process of trying to get enrolled in vocational school to try to do industrial maintenance, which right now from what I checked into, itís one of the best growing careers there is cause it offers computer courses, and in all your factories now everythingís computerized, and it pays the mega bucks.I had four or five factories I could have had employment if I had of had the skills to do it, and all of them has consisted of having computer training.I think uh, I done stayed in there back during the winter and all trying to get my GED passed, yeah I think I done got back in the routine of it now, and I got two children that help me.Everybody is kind of standing behind me on it too, and uh, itís keeping me, my head up about it, but uh, I really, I just, I really think that uh, the main thing making me wanna do it and want anything is my kids and uh, that and my wife also.Sheís kind of like me, she never really had much, so I figured if I can do this and get through this, itís gonna make a lot of difference.I wonít, I ainít giviní up, sure thatís something I learned, as long as you never give up, you always got a chance thangs gonna get better.Thatís something that uh, I uh, I been told that all my life but I never really realized it.I donít think until lately, and uh, Iíve got to where Iíve been telliní some of my friends that.

I got some friends thatís been haviní some problems with this and that, and I said remember one thang if you donít never give up, it will always get better cause if you keep trying its got to get better.And I hope Iím still here, working a 9 to 5 job with some major benefits, thatís what Iím hopiní for.I figure it will take me at least [silence] eighteen, twenty months of that to get out of school and get my training done.Iíve traveled working, I donít know, I just never have felt comfortable anywhere except here.I like it better where Iím at now better than anywhere Iíve ever been before.I ainít claiminí that itís because Iím out here in the country and it ainít nobody out here to bother me and itís also the first time I ever had anything of my own, well it ainít mine yet.Iím workiní on that.I was informed uh, last week that uh, as long as I was a full time student I could uh, I could still be eligible for the Families First program, so that means if I stay in the Families First program thatís my house payment made every week, every month that I donít have to have a nervous break down, how are we going to pay this house payment and me going to school.I probably wouldnít survived this long without it, considering the way works been.I mean itís uh, itís kept me and my family, itís kept my bills pretty much, I not going to say caught up, but itís kept me from losing everything I had.Whenever I started in Families First, we was totally without transportation, and uh, they helped us get a vehicle going.Uh, itís just opened up several doors that Iíve never had before.Itís uh, really given me somebody to lean on, several times it has, it sure has.†† Itís uh, kept groceries on the table, and electricity turned on for us this winter.

Take advantage of the opportunity while itís there [silence] cause it ainít everyday you get a second chance.If you reach out there and take advantage of it, it will make a difference.If nothing else in the motivation you have, the way you feel about yourself.Uh, just knowing I got that diploma in there hanging on my wall means a lot to me.If you canít be happy with yourself, you canít be happy with your family, you canít have no friends you feel happy with.And thatís, I guess thatís one of the thing living life the way I did teach me, you know, try to be satisfied a little bit, if you got to do anything else just be happy with yourself.Iíve had so many of my friends to tell me, and its something a lot of them never said before, so I got to finally gear up, and I believe, uh (silence) if I hadnít of realize that, I probably wouldnít have ever had nothing if I didnít get my diploma or a GED.I just, itís gotten to the point to where itís impossible to find any kind of job, except a minimum wage job without a GED or a diploma.And with two kids to raise itís, and grand baby, itís just uh, you got to have all the education you can get to survive in this world, I believe that with all my heart now, if not ever.