Couple marries after meeting at Muscatine shelter
Theirs is a love story.
And a success story -- a tale of how far up people can climb once they hit rock bottom and decide to change their lives.
John Skidds, 43, and Roberta Cockrum, 37, were married Saturday at Island United Methodist Church, where Collette Gould, incoming president of the MCSA Board of Directors, is pastor. She performed the ceremony, which was attended by about 30 family members and friends.
After the ceremony, the newlyweds held a reception at MCSA, the place where they met and fell in love in 2009.
“He was living upstairs in the men’s dorm and I was in the women’s shelter,” Roberta said of their first meeting.
Added John: “We had a couple of run-ins … The next thing I knew, I had to meet this girl.”
Within a month of their first meeting, John and Roberta were dating. By October of this year, they were engaged. But getting there was a long and slow process -- one in which Roberta:
- Moved in and out of the shelter at least three times, according to MCSA records.
- Spent seven months in the Muscatine County Jail after being arrested in January 2010 and charged with first-degree theft, which is a felony; and obstructing prosecution of another inmate, which is an aggravated misdemeanor.
After being released from jail in July 2010, Roberta moved back into the women’s shelter at MCSA, where she stayed until she moved with John in June 2011 into an apartment at Gateway Apartments, which is an MCSA program. The charges against Roberta were dismissed in September 2011 and she was on probation for a year.
For the past seven months, she has worked full time as a computerized saw operator at HON. Staying sober, working and getting married, show how far Roberta, who grew up in Indiana, has come in the four years since she first arrived in Muscatine as a heavy user of methamphetamine. It was a period of her life in which she feared for her life because of associates she knew who were capable of killing her.
“I still take things one day a time,” Roberta said. “But it doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down. Get back up. If you want it bad enough, it can happen.”
John -- who grew up in Aledo, Ill., and later lived in Las Vegas -- has lived in Muscatine for seven years. He works for Illowa Construction in Blue Grass. This is his first marriage; it’s the second for Roberta.
When asked about his wife’s turnaround, John says with a grin: “She met me. Now, she’s doing better than I am.”
Looking back on her past and the help she received at MCSA, Roberta said: “It could have made me or broke me, but it made me.”