Night crawlers, p.3
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       Night Crawlers, p.3

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Sherman worked odd jobs in different towns, as they made their way west. At times they would run low on money and not being able to get enough work, Sherman and Lynn would resort to stealing. They would work as a team, shoplifting in local stores and Sherman would go out at night out of desperation and break into houses. They became very adept at stealing what they needed without getting caught.

  When in a store, Lynn would fake a fall or a fainting spell, and while the store clerks went to her aid Sherman would tuck items under his clothing or in his pockets. It was usually things they could either use or sell on the streets very easy. Once Sherman had the items tucked away and was safely out the door, Lynn would suddenly make a miraculous recovery. She would thank the store clerks for their help and then meet up with Sherman in the parking lot. They had to stay on the move all the time because word spread quickly in the small towns. If they pulled that same type of stunt more than once or twice in any one of the towns they knew they would soon get caught and probably thrown in jail.

  Sherman still had an addiction to alcohol so soon he and Lynn were stealing liquor and getting drunk together at nights as often as they could. When the alcohol got to the point where it wasn’t enough for either of them, they were introduced to the manufactured and illegal drug, crystal meth. They soon starting selling the items they stole to purchase the crystal meth they needed instead of liquor. Within a short period of time they were hooked and their entire world became one of trying to get enough money to supply their habit.

  It was only about a year after they had left Tennessee and during their early addiction when Sherman and Lynn had their first son, Jed. They didn’t plan it that way and weren’t really wanting a child at the time, but once they knew they were going to have one they were excited about it. Lynn tried to stay off the drugs as much as she could during her first pregnancy but her addiction was too strong as she continued to do drugs occasionally. When Jed was born he was a normal child in every way except he was diagnosed as being hyperactive.

  Only a few years after Jed was born, they had another son they named Justin. About a year or so later, they had their third son they named Joshua. Lynn was too far hooked on drugs to try and stop or slow down her habit during her pregnancy with either of them. When each child was born, they both had some type of problem related to Lynn’s drug dependency. Sherman and Lynn saw right away they had some physical abnormalities because neither of the two younger sons looked like a normal child. Both Justin and Joshua were also smaller in stature than the average child of their age and their faces and skulls were disfigured. Joshua was born with a condition called microcephaly and the doctor told Sherman and Lynn it was the result of Lynn doing too much drugs during her pregnancy. The doctor said the drug toxins in her body were exposed to the fetus which damaged his developing brain tissue. His head and brain was significantly smaller than normal. It had caused disfigurement of his face and skull. It had also caused significant mental retardation. The doctor also told them the damage to Joshua was irreversible.

  Although they knew each of their sons were “different” looking, Sherman and Lynn didn’t fully realize they had a learning disability until they were around two or three years old. Joshua condition was even more severe than Justin’s and it was more noticeable. Knowing her drug addiction had caused this condition with her boys only made Lynn’s drug abuse escalate. She used even more drugs to try and drown her pain and guilt.

  When Justin and Joshua were old enough to go to kindergarten, Lynn wanted them to go to school, but it became another burden for her. During that period of her life, she was always either coming down from a high, or wanting to get high, or in the process of getting high. Even though Lynn and Sherman knew Justin and Joshua had mental and physical problems, they still attempted to put them in school with the other kids. Even though Justin was about a year older, they waited until Joshua was five years old and then tried to put him and Justin in the same class for the boy’s own security. On the first few days of school, the other kids just sat and stared at them or made fun of them because they were so different looking. They also laughed at them because they weren’t as smart as the rest of the class. The ridicule was endless.

  After Justin and Joshua had been in school for a few days, the Kindergarten teacher went to see Sherman and Lynn at home. While she was there, she tried as gently as she could, to tell Sherman and Lynn the boys both needed to be put into a special education program and not be in a regular class with the other kids. Even though the teacher was nice about it, Lynn got angry when she tried to tell her the boys needed special education. Though she knew in her heart the things the teacher was saying were true, she just didn’t want to hear it. She knew Justin and Joshua were both slow learners, but knew they weren’t stupid. She pleaded with the teacher, “Justin always follows instructions and does everything that is asked of him and Joshua has a very good memory and especially good with numbers and dates. I noticed when he was about four years old that he had memorized a lot of the addresses where we used to live. He also remembers his birthdate, Jed and Justin’s birthdate and how old each of them are. I believe the boys will fit with the other kids if you just give them a chance.” The teacher was frustrated with Lynn for not listening, but willing to give it a chance. She agreed to let them stay in her class on a temporary basis. She knew it wasn’t going to last, but she had to give Lynn time to come to terms with it herself. She knew she couldn’t force Lynn to see what was right in front of her face.

  After his fifth day of school, Joshua came home crying, saying the kids at school were making fun of him. He told Lynn, “Mom, they called me names. They called me freak, stupid, retard, MR, and other names. I don’t know what those things mean, but it makes me sad and hurts my feelings. All the kids were laughing at me, too. I don’t know why.” It killed Lynn inside to hear those words. She pulled Joshua to her body and wrapped her arms around him. She thought for a moment and then said, “Oh Joshua, those things don’t mean anything, those kids are the ones who are stupid. MR just means Mister. It means you are Mister Bailey and you’re a very special and important person. You’re very special to your dad and me and we love you very much.” He looked up at her and smiled. He liked that explanation, but told her that he still didn’t want to go back to school anymore. He said, “I don’t like the other kids calling me names. It makes me want to hurt them.”

  Lynn knew deep in her heart that Joshua would never be able to fit in with the rest of the kids in school no matter what he did or how old he became. She knew that even if he was as smart as them it wouldn’t matter, because he looked so much different. His face was disproportionate and much longer than average and his head was too small, even for his short statured body. It was at that point, she made up her mind that he would probably have to live with her and Sherman the rest of his life. Justin had problems with the kids at school too, but he never said a word about it. He just kept everything to himself and hidden deep inside.

  After that horrible first week of trying to get the kids in school, Sherman and Lynn were fed up with the school kids and the entire school system. They decided that Lynn would “home school” the younger two boys and it was up to Jed to decide if he would continue in the public school. Jed was in the third grade at the time. He didn’t like the way the other kids treated Joshua and Justin but he liked learning and playing with the other kids. He always got along well with the other kids and made friends easy so he decided to stay in school.

  One of the biggest problems Jed had with school was that the family moved so often he was either way ahead in what they were teaching the kids or he was way behind. Thankfully he was smart enough to always catch up fairly quickly when he was behind and he was able to sit back and breeze through the school work where he was ahead.

  Jed stayed in school until just after his second year of high school. At the end of the summer, he just didn’t go back. It was easy to drop out because he didn
t have anyone pushing him to go, plus he got used to sleeping in every day. He liked staying home and just hanging out with Justin and Joshua, which was a lot more fun than school.

  During the early years with the boys, Sherman and Lynn went from town to town stealing and getting high as often as they could. They were raising the boys the best way they knew how and were just getting by. They never stayed in one place very long. One to two months, was the longest. Sherman would work at odd labor jobs until the job ended or until he got fired for not showing up to work on time. Although he was a good worker and tried to work steady, his addiction to drugs always got in his way.

  Sherman had to constantly steal things in order to take care of the boys and to pay for his and Lynn’s expensive drug habit. It was during those early years that Sherman was caught stealing in Texas. While he was serving time in jail, (luckily it was only a few months), Lynn was forced to live on the welfare assistance program. Although she received the assistance, she continued to go into the local stores to steal things and sell them to support her meth habit.

  * * *

  Chapter 4 – Red Mountain

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