My Uncle Jimmy Lee Goddard

87-A-0947, Wyoming Correctional Facility, Attica, NY

What makes a man "want" to live and plan to die in prison? That's closeness...

He was the only uncle on my mama’s side of the family and he was very special to me in many ways, until one day he just mysteriously disappeared.

It was during my teenage years, because I remember getting a beautiful full length leather coat, which my Uncle Jimmy Lee had sent to one of my brothers. It was well to big for my brother, so begrudgingly, he shared with me one of his most valuable. It was even too big for me, but with a few minor alterations, I felt like “Shaft” dressed in my beautiful full length leather coat. My brother made sure I understood when he got big enough, he wanted his leather coat back. So we agreed and I humbly took the coat he couldn’t wear. You see, it was normally the other way around, my brother was always getting my hand-me-downs.

Even though my Uncle Jimmy Lee wasn’t home, his presence was felt, much like a soldier gone off to war. I kept asking mom about his where-abouts, but she would hush me. That happened so many times till it became a part of my life not to ask. Sometimes I would see the police come to our house, have a serious talk with the adults in our home, then leave like, “we will be back”. So I grew up with that until I graduated from high school and out of nowhere, I received a letter from My Uncle Jimmy Lee, with a crisp new $100 bill tucked inside. I will never forget that and it reminded me to inquire once more about the whereabouts of my Uncle Jimmy Lee.

They said, I am going to tell you this one time and don’t ask me any more questions, don’t say any more about it and don’t tell nobody, “But your Uncle Jimmy Lee is on the run”. Well, it shocked me, but I still had no clue what all that meant. When it came to me, I had a strong urge to ask, “What do you mean and Why?” Getting the answer to those questions meant possibly violating the agreement I made with whoever told me, but I had to get the answers. So one day when I thought the time was right, I very humbly asked, “Why is my Uncle Jimmy Lee on the run”?

Boy, did I stir things up, my mom asked me all kind of questions about, “How did I know”? So, she made me confess, then told me “my Uncle Jimmy Lee was in prison”.

Now, I am wondering why all the secrecy? Why all the scolding when I asked? Then, I learned my Uncle Jimmy Lee was in prison for murder. I could not believe that! Further, he was in prison for murdering a woman. My heart hit the floor. The police finally caught up to him in New York City and my Uncle was serving a life sentence, plus some. That he had very violently murdered this young lady with “a hatchet”. Now, all the mystery about my Uncle Jimmy Lee had come together. For what and why the cops were coming to our house at will? Why was my family so secretive about the where abouts of my Uncle Jimmy Lee.

My life went on and now, the only uncle I was close to had been stripped away. To you, he may not have been much of a male figure or role model, but he was the only uncle I had. Just like your daughter, was too you, so was my Uncle Jimmy Lee to me. I sympathize with you, because of the way things went down, but that does not ease my pain nor does it keep me from wishing my Uncle Jimmy Lee was here with me.

Now, I can make a difference in his life, but he will not come out of prison. What could possibly make a man want to live and plan to die in prison? Why does he keep doing things to mess-up his release date? Is someone forcing him? Has he given up HOPE in the outside world, family and friends? Is it a guilty feeling?

I keep time of how long my Uncle Jimmy Lee has been incarcerated by my adult life and for as long as I have been an adult, my Uncle Jimmy Lee has been imprisoned. Today, I am 53. Does he know how much I miss him?

Lessons you must learn on your own!

(((Your inner

P.O. Box 501

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