I was just a kid, maybe 7 years old, when my mom first told me about my uncle Jimmy. Apparently we met once when I was just a baby, but I was too young to remember. He was my mom’s older brother — half-brother in truth, because he had a different father — and had led a very troubled life.
“You have an uncle Jimmy who’s in jail,” my mom told me one day. I didn’t have the intellectual capacity to understand the implications of what she was telling me at that time, and I didn’t ask many questions, but I was raised with the knowledge that I had an uncle who was incarcerated.