May Spotlight: Greg

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I am a former prisoner. I was born in Cape Cod Hospital sixty-six years ago. My parents divorced in 1958, four years after my birth. My alcoholic mother remarried my stepfather who was physically and verbally abusive to my three siblings and me. A tragic auto accident caused my two-year-old stepbrother to suffer brain damage. In eighth grade a settlement from a lawsuit enabled our family to buy a home in Scituate and move out of my grandmother’s house in Harwich. Four years later I graduated from Scituate High School

After graduation, I chose to move out and live with my own father in Concord, CA. In California, I worked at a gas station where I met a girl and moved to Berkley for five months. This lasted a year. In 1975, I moved back to Cape Cod and moved in with my Grandma. She was a superb cook and taught me so many recipes. Even today at HnH at Newton Street residence, I volunteer to cook most evening meals.

One weekend while staying at a lodge run by my stepmother, she offered me a job where I met a man form Stowe. He hired me to manage a lodge in Stowe, VT. I loved being in ski country.

Then Grandma became seriously ill, and I moved back to Harwich to care for her. Now it was my turn. I worked at a local golf course. I met with Judy who had been a high school friend. When Grandma died in 1979 at eighty-nine years old, I married Judy. Then I launched my own business, Shoreline Roofing and Siding. It was successful until I got into cocaine and alcohol. Shoreline suffered, and between that and substance abuse, Judy and I divorced.

On June 12, 2012, I went fishing late one evening and returned home at 2:00 A.M. Mistakenly, I entered a neighbor’s house thinking it was mine. I woke the older residents and scared them. They called the police who arrested me for breaking and entering with intent to commit a felony. I insisted that it was all a mistake: I had not been under the influence as the police and later the judge believed. Apparently, I had been in a fugue state which is an amnesia state of mind and caused me to wander into a house I thought was mine. I was poorly defended by my public defender. I was tried, convicted, and sentenced to twenty-one months in Barnstable County Correctional Facility. After serving twenty-one months, I was discharged. A week later I was diagnosed with prostrate cancer. I underwent radiation therapy and now have been cancer free since. Then I found a job managing vacation cottages on the beach in Truro. I was required to remain alcohol and substance free by probation with random urine tests which I subsequently violated. The judge sent me back to BCCF for another five months. While there I met a woman volunteering from R.E.C. (Residents Encounter Christ) who steered me to Homeless not Hopeless after being in a shelter in Hyannis. Today I’m an assistant manager at Newton and grateful for the roof over my head, the use of my grandma’s recipes, and the company of warm, friendly, and caring men.