A Boy Named Jim
A Boy Named Jim
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The silence and reluctance of author James A. Lynch’s youth has been left behind; he has become a storyteller in the true form of grandfathers everywhere. In A Boy Named Jim, he provides a look into slices of his life. This memoir presents the true story of Lynch’s journey from the innocence of childhood in a small midwestern town; through the rollicking good times of the teenage years, college, and navy life; through thirty years of the dark depths of chronic alcoholism; and finally through the process of recovery and sobriety. A Boy Named Jim tells of Lynch’s heartbreaks and failures, as well as the miracles and faith that brought him back to reality to live the life of a spiritually peaceful and gracious old man. That morning … I finally realized what I had become, what I was, and what I probably would always be: a hopeless, helpless drunk. I didn’t amount to anything, never had, and never would. I feared I would probably die in a drunken stupor somewhere, or I would be permanently institutionalized. I didn’t realize until sometime later, lying cut and bruised in a strange basement, I had been granted two important things: a moment of clarity and the gift of desperation.

It was a pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization. It was sometime between dusk and total dark. I am alone, again. It seems to be in the area of West Madison Street in Chicago, amongst the dirty, dark and smelly bars and the rundown hotels and flophouses. Chicago’s Skid Row. I turn in to a somewhat familiar alley, searching for my place. I wander down a narrow alley-like corridor, lined on both sides with coffin-like, open-end structures, housing countless corps-like forms of drunks and derelicts reaching out to touch and grab me. I am looking for my coffin-cubicle and can’t find it. I wander aimlessly.

James A. Lynch was born in Waverly, Iowa, and has spent most of his seventy-eight years there. He still lives there today.

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