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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Mother (as in maternal parent) (04/24/08)

TITLE: Oral Biography of Paul Stenten (cont.)
By Brian Russell


Jeffrey Winston, Son

“I still remember my mom’s face when she heard that guy talk. He said that Paul, the dad I never knew, the man mom never talked about, the guy who walked out us, had said he was sorry for it. The apology didn’t mean anything to me. I never knew the guy, but my mom—I could tell something was up.”

William Forner, Friend

“That was the first time I met Michele Winston. I still can’t believe Paul asked me to do that for him, but what’s a friend to do with a dying wish?”

Michele Winston, Ex-wife

“Jeffrey was angry that Paul would only apologize when he was dying, but it set me back. For so long I had been so angry at him for leaving. I—I had to forgive him.”

William Forner, Friend

“I knocked, and this kid opens the door. I asked to speak to his mom, and he asked who I was. I didn’t know what else to say, so I said I was his dad’s friend. He looked like I just punched him in the gut.”

Jeffrey Winston, Son

“Mom invited the guy in for dinner. I didn’t understand at all what she was doing.”

Michele Winston, Ex-wife

“The poor guy. He’d been given this mission by a friend, and what a good friend he was being. I kept telling Jeffrey that you can’t kill the messenger, but it sure seemed like he wanted to. I just wanted this man, William, I think, to know that just because Paul left us, he wasn’t a bad man. I guess I should have tried that with Jeffrey. I never did tell him about the letters.”

Jeffrey Winston, Son

“After dinner, she starts digging around in her closet for something. I didn’t think she hid anything in her closet, not even Christmas presents, but here she comes to the table with a shoe box. I thought she had just finally lost it. I didn’t know what to think.”

William Forner, Friend

“Can you believe that? She invited me in for dinner. Then, she pulls out this box with all these letters in it. She said she didn’t want me to think badly about Paul because of her and her son. She hands me one of the letters, it was dated two days before he died.”

Jeffrey Winston, Son

“So, here I am, sitting at the table with a friend from my dad’s other life, and my mom hands him a letter from my dad, that I had never seen before. She never showed me any letters. I’m pretty sure some food fell out of my mouth. I was mad at her for never showing me those letters, and she said she was sorry, but I was so mad that I didn’t understand. I ran to my room and slammed the door.”

William Forner, Friend

“The letter said that even though he hadn’t heard from her, he still loved her. It said that he was very sorry for what had happened, and wanted them to come visit him. To let it all out in the open. So he could help with Jeffrey. I was blown away. Then Jeffrey stormed off, and Michele was crying. I was way out of my league.”

Sandra Winston, Ex-wife

“I don’t know why I never showed them to Jeffrey. I guess I figured it would be easier without Paul altogether. I know now that I was wrong. You can’t hold on to grudges, and I realized I had passed mine to my son. I pulled out a Bible and went to Jeffrey’s door. I knocked, and he told me to go away. I tried to tell him that I loved him. I was sorry that I never told him about Paul, but that I had always hoped that God would help me. I read Matthew 6:14-15 through the door. You know, the one about forgiving people when they sin against you so that God will forgive you, and if you don’t then He won’t forgive you either.”

Jeffrey Winston, Son

“I clearly remember something that my mom said through the door that night that changed my whole life. She said, ‘Jeffrey, you have to help me forgive your father. I raised you to hate him and I’m sorry. He wasn’t a bad man.’ I couldn’t believe it. God spoke to me right then-and-there. I opened the door and hugged my mom. Without her, I might never know God’s forgiveness.

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Member Comments
Member Date
nicole wian05/03/08
This was an interesting, intriguing way of telling the story. I was able to feel the emotions of these different characters.
nicole wian05/03/08
This was an interesting, intriguing way of telling the story. I was able to feel the emotions of these different characters.
Beth LaBuff 05/03/08
This is a very creative way to tell the story. I like what you did with this. Your message of forgiveness is good. With your title "Oral Biography", I can picture this as testimony in a courtroom. Good work!