From Rage to Redemption
This is a true story written by Robert C. Cline (1935-2007)
Robert aka Bob Cline was my fathers youngest brother. The last of 10 kids. Hence his nickname "Runt". The following is an excerpt of the Forward for his book:
Bob never had it in his mind to write a book about his life as a Texas farmboy any more than one about his life of crime and prison experiences. Whenever the family would gather around the kitchen table, they would each have stories to tell about growing up in a family of ten kids to poor parents struggling to survive on a little Texas farm.
One day, Uncle Ken told about the time the older boys were able to talk their little brother, “Runt”, into peeing on an electric fence. Trusting his older brothers, Bob did just that; and of course he got quite a jolt. After we were finished laughing, I threw my hands up and said “Well, that explains it”. “Explains what?” Uncle Bob asked. “It explains your life.” We all had a good laugh and moved on to another topic. My point is that we can’t really explain why any sane person would make the choice to pursue a life of crime. So, peeing on an electric fence when you were ten years old is as good an explanation as any other.
During one of our deep discussions I suggested, as a means of therapy, that he write his experiences down and I would help him process the emotions that might be released as a result. This assignment took him several years. Then one day he was finished. The story itself wasn’t finished as he could have written much more, but emotionally, he was just done with the process and wanted to move on with life. I got that.
As I read his writings, I suggested he turn it into a book. He didn’t think anyone but his crazy niece would be interested in reading it; but to please me, he agreed to meet with a coach that suggested he intertwine his prison experiences with his life as a Farmboy in Texas.
It’s not a literary masterpiece written in “sophisticated prose”, but as you read it you will get the flavor of a wild Texas boy that grew up in a harsh world, yet intertwined with deep family love and loyalty. This was a Texas family from the 1930’s to the 1970’s and that country way comes across clearly in his expressions.
My biggest regret working on this project is that I didn’t get it done before my Uncle Bob’s life was over. You would have liked meeting him and he would have died with a greater sense of accomplishment.
Jeannette Cline – 2020