Through individual therapy, Frederick found his voice
Through individual therapy, Frederick found his voice and is talking again.
Frederick was born in the 1950s, the middle child of Pentecostal parents. His father, a Native American Indian, worked as a chemist. He grew up having everything he needed.
Frederick loved his family. He respected and admired his father who always took care of the family. One sad memory Frederick has was the day no one in his family showed up for his performance in a school play at Manuel High School. “I don’t know why they never showed up, it’s not like there was a snow storm or something. I went through so much trouble to get them a seat in the front row, but no one showed up.” Although Frederick is now forty nine years of age the disappointment could still be detected in his voice.
At age eighteen, Frederick dropped out of school and moved to Florida to work in his uncle’s glass factory. “I remember always feeling isolated. I just wasn’t sure where I fit into the world.” Drugs were always around him. “I started doing downers at nights and uppers in the day time...that became the thing to do…that was the jet set at the time.” Frederick liked having money to buy everything he wanted but he hated having to work at the glass factory. “I wanted something where I had money now… money always was a driving factor with me”.
One day Frederick called home to Indiana and discovered that his parents had divorced. He had no knowledge that his parents even had problems. “They never seemed to argue…they got divorced and until this day, no one has ever talked about it.”
Frederick returned to Indiana three years later to take care of his ailing father. To the average onlooker Frederick appeared to be a hard working and devoted son. He would rise early in the mornings, care for his father then leave for work. But unknown to everyone, Frederick never made it to work in the mornings. He would stop somewhere along the way, change clothes then target and rob banks. In the evenings he would change back into his work clothes and return home as if nothing unusual happened. The authorities had no idea who the bank robber was. For two long years Frederick led a double life.
Although Frederick longed to talk to someone about what he was feeling, communicating about feelings was not familiar to him. “I think pride was in the way…I just did not feel good about talking to anyone. I was ashamed of what I was doing. But at the same time I needed cash and big cash. I have always been that way. My jobs have always been high paying and so I kept on robbing banks…I was using the money to make me look ‘flash’.” In Frederick’s mind success meant looking the part and having money to buy whatever he needed.
One day, someone saw a police sketch of him on T.V. and turned him in. That someone happened to be his own brother. Frederick told counselors at Volunteers of America Brandon Hall that he just wanted to be left alone. Fortunately for Frederick that was not an option at the Volunteers of America work release facility. “I would sit through several sessions and listen to different people talk and I would think to myself what a bunch of “bull-x#%x….” One day during an intense group session, his VOA counselor noticed the frustration on his face, and asked for his opinion on the topic they were discussing. After some reluctance Frederick started talking. “That was the day I started talking and I have not stopped since.” To open up and share his feelings was something new to Frederick. He came from a family where no one talked about feelings.
“I learned that I have to rebuild bridges that I have destroyed. I feel ok to be myself. The counselors treated me in a way that I have always wanted to be treated, I just didn’t know how to reach out to people.”
The Volunteers of America employment specialist worked with him until he was able to find employment. “This was not easy, because you must remember I have a record of armed robbery but the counselors knew that I was doing everything they instructed me to do and that I was committed to starting over... they gave me a 2nd chance.”
It has been four years since Frederick Brown left Brandon Hall. “People trust me again” he smiled broadly as he shook a bunch of keys in his pocket indicating that he possessed keys to the private offices where he now works. Frederick would like to retire in a few years and open a restaurant. He recalled one of his counselors telling him about the power of prayer. He said he prayed to find someone who would understand and accept him for who he is. Frederick first met Sherry about six years ago. She is a hard-worker, she is loving and very organized. “You can set your watch by her” Frederick said. She has helped to bring calm and structure to his life. They plan to get married one day in the future.