Not All Turn-Abouts Are Fair Play
By Bob Tennison
Living just below the poverty line, the last thing the Marshalls needed was a fifth child, but it happened. An extremely handsome boy made them very proud, but also made them realize he had to be the last. The father was lucky enough to be employed, even if it was driving a garbage truck for the city. None of their other children would tell any of their friends that their father did this, as they considered it to be a very low occupation, not considering the fact that he was very fortunate to even be employed in their day’s economy.
They named him Donovan and enrolled him in school as soon as he reached the allowed age. He enjoyed going and was a quick learner. He wore hand-me-downs from his older brothers and took his lunch in the same brown paper bag daily, always knowing that it would be a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, Once in a great while he would find an apple or a banana inside and often a cookie, which was a real treat
He had no trouble swapping his sandwiches with some of his classmates, as his mother’s homemade jellies were a real winner. He enjoyed tuna fish salads, ham and cheese, and once in a while after holidays turkey and roast beef, which he would never have had otherwise. Some of his classmates made jokes about his clothes, and he always made mental notes of those who did knowing that someday he would somehow get even.
His life did not become a problem until he entered High School and his personality changed from being a gentle boy to becoming one with a quick temper and ready to fight at the simplest provocation. He spent many hours in the Principal’s office being lectured to about his violent behavior, and it soon got to the point of his being expelled. His parents had no telephone, but they received a letter informing them of his dismissal and the reasons why.
His father pulled a few strings and got his son a job working on the garbage trucks, which he considered too far below his ego to even consider. Without any consideration for his parents, he left home and moved into a house with a well-known group of gang members whose reputations left a great deal to be desired. One of his older brothers took over the job of helping his father, hoping Donovan would change his mind and come back, but he didn’t.
The morning following a PTA meeting at the school, the body of the Principal was discovered still in his car, but he had been murdered. The first thoughts, of course, were that it was Donovan’s handiwork. However, he was serving a three-day sentence in jail on a DWI without a license. The father, considered the next possibility, was away on a long awaited three-day fishing trip, so the quandary began.
As luck would have it, a female detective from FBI Headquarters in New York was in town on another case. She was called in for help, and her first comments were that the method used was more like that of a woman than a man. The mother? Bingo! Her only comment over and over was “That man ruined the life of my baby boy.” It took very little time to reach the proper conclusion that she was definitely the guilty one. Going to prison did not seem to faze her even a little, as her mental balance was not one hundred percent in working order, and had not been since the expulsion from school.
The local librarian was the only one who had been aware that this elderly woman was reading nothing but books about women criminals and suspected what she was obviously planning but made nobody aware of her thoughts. She was shocked beyond words when the news was aired on TV and in the local paper.
The violent weather outside was perfect for the execution about to take place in the prison. The entire family was there, still unbelieving what was about to happen to their mother who had always been so gentle and kind. Donovan was almost hysterical when the switch on the electric chair was pulled, but it was definitely the reason for his making a complete turnaround in his way of life. He reentered school, graduated with honors and joined the police force when he graduated, all in honor of his mother and her love for him.
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