Sunday, May 16, 2010

The story of the teen in trouble who changed his life

Top photo is picture of Dan, Angelina and Dante.
I looked and looked and I find I have no photos of this shy guy Joey even though he has played quite a large part in my grandson Dante's life as well as in his mother Angelina's, and Dante's dad, my son Dan's. Joey is Angelina's brother. When they married and had Dante he was still a young teen but it was not long until he was in trouble. Dan was overseas and I would go over and visit the family when I went to pick up Dante for a day. I had made up my mind that if my son Dan could not see Dante, I needed to go and get him every week so he could interact with me, so at least one member of his dad's family was involved in his life. I always saw Joey there, along with a younger sister known affectionately as "Silver", and Angelina's mother, Cookie, as well as Angelina.

Cookie, Angelina, and Dante in the photo.
Cookie looks very young here as she was, but her marriage had ended in what I thought was quite a tragedy. She told me that her husband, (I believe his name is Joseph Muro, the same as Joey's) was in the service and got into an argument with a guy who was fighting with and threatening his girlfriend. Having been trained in the military to stop people threatening other people, I guess the young soldier husband got quite heated in the conflict with the guy. It ended, her husband thought, by the guy leaving abruptly. But it was only to return with a gun and he fired 5 shots into the young soldier who had three little children besides a wife. Angelina was just six years old I believe. Her father was taken to the hospital but he was shot up very badly in the stomach and abdomen area and he did not survive. The man in the fight claimed self defense and got off with 5 years in prison.
A terrible struggle to survive ensued for the young family, and it wasn't long after I started visiting them that Cookie was telling me that Joey, the middle child and only son, was doing crack and she knew she was going to have to buy him a coffin. Her brother had gotten out of the service and was to Dan and Angelina's wedding before Dan went to Japan for three years. Within a very short time after the wedding he was doing drugs again and was involved in a fatal car crash, so Cookie was very fatalistic about her son's chances to survive tampering with drugs.
Joey was going to school but apparently just going through the motions. I think he had been arrested once and perhaps served some time in jail before Dan came home from the service. He started living with Angelina and Dan so they could keep better track of him. Dan thought he had laid down enough ground rules for staying there, but eventually Joey violated them and was picked up with drugs on his person and this time was sentenced to five months in jail. This time when he got out Dan told him that if he took him in again he was not to contact any of his friends or they him. Joey promised he would not do so. They felt that he might be too tempted to violate his probation if he lived alone and that his friends would find him.
From then on Joey always lived with Dan and Angelina and Dante and became part of the baby sitting crew when they were at school or work. Dan went to school on his Navy college fund, one reason he had joined the navy and pretty soon Joey had been helped by his counselor to enroll in school too. And it wasn't very long until you never saw Joey without a book in his hand. Dan gave him names of fantasy novels he liked and others of a non fictional nature, I believe.
Eventually Joey went out on his own, started working part time while going to school, and bought a car, and then he got a steady girlfriend, and he just kept on going to school. And what do you know, just the other night Joey graduated from ASU with a business degree.
Dan was there of course on his graduation night and took photos for Angelina of the two proud sisters and their children and girlfriend who had gone all out to celebrate Joey's achievement. If you want to you can see these inspiring photos of a family that stood beside their brother through thick and thin and then were able to share a moment of triumph with him. Go on Facebook to Angelina Hitt and see her photo album called Joey's Grad Pictures. The sisters look so proud, I think anyone would enjoy seeing their beaming smiles. This is a very close family and all the children look just about as happy and interested as their moms. The only missing family member is Dante who has gone to live with his Aunt Stephanie and Uncle David in Calif. I hope he is doing all right there, even though I am sure when he sees these photos he will feel a pang of homesickness since Uncle Joey was a part of his home life so long. But when he sees these photos he will almost feel as though he was there with them! I did. I practically cried, and Dante probably will, too! Work hard, Dante! You can escape some of Joey's early travail if you remember how long it took for him to climb out of the abyss to feel at all safe again.
I am positive Joey's dad was there in spirit. I have felt him numerous times over the years, close by, worrying about his family. If there was a wreck or any crisis I could feel him both before and after it happened. I know he is so happy and grateful his son Joey was able to turn his life around!

1 comment: said...

What a great article about Joey finishing college for a business degree. I give credit to Dan and Angelina...even Dante. Joey loved Dante.


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