Native son authors book with life-changing goal


SILER CITY — Darrin Locklear is on a different mission today than he might have been on growing up in Siler City in the 1970s and ‘80s. “People who remember me may remember I was a very troubled youth,” says the 56-year-old Trinity resident, now a real estate broker and auctioneer.

And while he says he’s come a long way through the years, the journey hasn’t been an easy one nor one without some lingering effects. It’s to that point he has authored a book drawing heavily on his life situations in his home town ranging from alcoholism to child abuse to homicides, all told in a narrative form.

“The events are real,” he says, “and while the names of anyone living have been changed, readers may recognize some people and places. My intent isn’t to call anyone out but to point out domestic violence is an awful thing that can have lasting effects and no one should have to put up with it.”

Darrin and his family lived in several places in Siler City. “I was three when we moved into a house on North Chatham Avenue; ‘Cotton Mill Hill’ most folks called it,” he says. “Later we moved into a house on North Garden.” It was during his childhood that Darrin found himself living in a troubled home with an alcoholic father and a mother suffering from mental illness who provoked his father.

“I idolized my father and wanted to be like him,” he says, so much so that when his father emptied a bottle of alcohol, he would fill it with water so Darrin could have his own and have a dink each time his father did. “There would be some left over in the bottle when he filled it so I eventually became addicted at an early age.”

Living in fear of whippings and beatings only added to the tense atmosphere at home that was often punctuated by fights by his parents. “I grew up with a bad reputation,” he freely admits, “and had run-ins with the law, fighting and getting into trouble. Today I appreciate the officers like Steve Phillips and Don Brown and Steve Robinson who tried to help me.” Coupled with that influence, Darrin credits his grandmother Margaret Newsome as the steadying human influence in his life.

He goes on to point out he began writing from memory about many events including his mother’s unfaithfulness to his father, her death from cancer at a young age when he was 16 and his father’s death from a shooting only moments after he shot and killed her lover.

Darrin admits people have asked him how he can remember details so vividly from memory. “I tell them.” he says, “when memories are all you have left, you’ll cling to them like a life raft.”

Initially, he began to write at therapy for himself. “I vented years of anger, resentment and bitterness into the keyboard as I cried, screamed and cursed at situations long past,” he notes in the book’s introduction. Then, over time he says, his perspective changed and he rediscovered his childhood Christian faith.

“I went back and rewrote the book to point people to the cross,” he says. “I wanted people who would read it to see the trauma of a young boy who was saved but always thought God was angry with him because of how his life was turning out.”

Since those childhood years, Darrin has gone through his own battles, including an addiction to alcohol.

“I have to stay on top of it,” he says. “Sometimes just the smell takes me back and I don’t want to go there.”

His recent marriage to wife Christy is another positive influence. “I still struggle sometimes,” he admits, “but I want people to understand it is a daily renewing. God is always present if you’ll come back. Over the past few years, I’ve been able to set the bitterness aside and realize I did love my parents despite how things went”

Although no longer serving a church as pastor, Darrin and Christy have a nursing home ministry and he often speaks in churches to share his story. He’s scheduled to be at Brush Creek Baptist Church at the 11 o’clock service on Sunday, January 11.

Darrin will have a book signing this Saturday, December 16 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Best Foods Cafeteria in Siler City.