#173 Mother’s Day and Prison Letters

May 5, 2010 at 11:39 pm 2 comments

Mother’s Day and Prison Letters

Today I was looking over my stuff, to see if there was something I could quickly blog about today, and ran across a stack of letters I had written while in prison. These weren’t letters I wrote to the grievance board or some official…these were letters I wrote to my family. It seems that mom saved those, and kept them for me.

These are very interesting, because it gives me a very unique look at how I felt while I was in prison. Granted I kept a lot of other stuff, but these were letters I sent out, so I had no idea they would be kept by mom.

I looked at a few, and wanted to share one with you, and then talk a little about it. I’ll have to edit out some of the personal info, but a lot of this I think we can talk about:

(The following is from one of many letters I wrote from prison to home)

Dear mom,

I’m not sure if you’ll get this before I get the one you sent, but I wrote this on Sunday, June 13th. I got a letter from (my professor) last week and he told me he tried to call you, but couldn’t get through. I tried to call too, and I can’t get through either. Has the number changed?

Other than that, I’m doing ok. I haven’t written in awhile because at $2.00 a week I can’t afford too much. I like to get a Kist soda or two, then a razor, soap and snacks. By Tuesday I’m broke, which isn’t really a great effort. Other than that I am doing alright.

I had to see the nurse a few weeks ago because my sinuses were real bad. It was real hard to breath at night. At first I thought it was temporary, like for a week or so, but after 4 weeks, I decided I’d better see the nurse. They sell allergy pills ad sinus pills in the canteen, but they’re el-cheapo. Plus at the wage I make, I can’t buy but so much.

I went to see the nurse, she found out that I was running a temperature of 100.3! She took it again and got 99 degrees. I didn’t feel bad, except for the sinuses, itchy eyes, runny nose and stuff, but she told me I was running a fever. She gave me an antibiotic shot and prescribed 6 tablets (1 capsule, 2 Tylenol, 2 sinus pills and some yellow pill) plus 2 cough syrup tubes. I had to take that 3 times a day (18 pills a day!) for 6 days. After that, they ordered me some blue sinus pills to take twice daily for a month. I’m feeling a lot better than when those sinuses were kicking me around. I never had it that bad before.

I got my certificate from the computer course I was taking in Unit 2 before they sent me here. They gave me credit for the course, which is good. My average was 89, but I had I taken the last test, it probably would have been between 95 and 98. That was my average in the class, but by missing the last test, I scored a 0 on two parts. But that wasn’t my fault since they sent me here before I could take the test. I’m sending the certificate home to you.

Tell (my brothers) that we’re keeping an eye on the NBA Championships between New York and San Antonio. The guys here are split, though most think that San Antonio will sweep. I saw a World League Football game between Barcelona and Scotland. Lawrence Phillips plays for Barcelona and ran for about 180 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also caught for like 60-70 yards. His team won.

Tell (my brothers) that a lot of guys like watching cartoons like X-men, Ironman, Spiderman and Superman. But they also like “The Young and the Restless”. I’ve been watching it lately, since Victor made his return. These guys almost worship him like a mafia boss. They also watch “The Bold and the Beautiful”. I try to watch it when I can, but I sometimes go to the classroom to help the GED class. This camp won’t hire a tutor, which is sad because over in the “big house” (where I was before) they had 3 for the GED/ABE class I was making $5 a week, which is a whole lot more than the $2.00 I’m making now. But I enjoy going to the classroom because its an environment I’m used to. I can work on the computer, research, write or help the students in what they need. The teacher likes what I do, in fact she was told about me before I came over, so she knows that I am qualified to do what I do.

At any rate I’m fine and I’m sorry I couldn’t get a letter to you sooner. If anything comes up, I’ll try to let you know. Tell everybody I said hi.


(end of letter)

With Mother’s Day approaching, I could have just reposted my short story about Mother’s Day in prison, but I think many of you already read that. I still might, but today I wanted to share something from son to mother, and give you an idea of what some of my time was about.

There is a lot to be said in that letter, but my delay in writing to mom was mainly because I just didn’t have enough money. See, when you are in prison, you have to buy stamps UNLESS you are declared indigent. But to be declared that, you have NO money in your inmate account for 30 days. Even though I was making $2 a week, it counted, so I could not afford to get free stamps.

And I remember quite clearly those days. Those days were pretty tough, because you work for so little, and when you get your little two bucks, you have to be very careful how it is spent. For me, I loved to have a soda every now and then. It’s not like I had 5 sodas a day, I just needed something to take my mind off my current incarceration. Any help was better than none. So when we got “paid” on Monday, the first thing I would buy would be a soda. But with only $2, I rarely had money long, especially if I really needed hygiene materials like soap, lotion, toothpaste and the like.

Times were indeed hard for me, but I tried not to make excuses. I know even as I share this, there are a lot of people who could care less, but understand this folks, the things I share here could very easily be similar to someone YOU love in prison. Most folks just don’t talk about it, leaving their loved ones in the dark.

I also remember quite well the only time I was “sick” in prison. I suppose that being sick for a whole month could have turned out a lot worse for me, but sometimes you try to tough it out. No telling how long I had the fever, I just didn’t feel good, but you make the best of what you can do. I hoped that it would just go away, but it never did, and I realized I had to see what was wrong with me.

I ended up digesting over 100 pills from those people, I am surprised I have not sprouted horns or something unique because of it. I just can’t help thinking they gave me way more than they should have, but under the circumstances, what was I supposed to do?

I realize that me telling mom that may have freaked her out, but you also read that I shared this with her AFTER the situation was over, or I had control of it. Had I sent her a letter in the middle of this, she would have been very afraid for me. This is something I want to point out to you folks, that often times inmates don’t always tell you what is really going on, for fear that it might upset you.

Some folks assume that their son or husband ALWAYS tells them everything…uh, yeah right. Its like a lady on a site for mothers with sons in prison; she assumed that when her son told her that they are always very happy after a visit, and everybody he knows is happy, that it must be true. I won’t argue that it CAN be true, but I did time, I saw how crushed some guys get moments after a visit. When your loved one walks away from you and you are still in the prison clothes, it is not a good feeling, because you miss them.

So often times guys tell their loved ones what they want them to hear, even if there are clearly some negative issues going on.

You can easily date the letter by the things I talked about. Any sports fan can quickly find out what year I wrote this by checking to see when the Spurs and Knicks played in the NBA Finals. I loved watching sports and cartoons (when I could) while in prison, it was the best way for me to forget about all the stress of prison, and find something neutral to focus on. At the writing of that letter, I was at Pasquotank Correctional, the minimum custody unit. In that dorm, there were actually two separate day rooms, one had a tv for sports, the other for movies. When I say “movies” I mean that if later in the evening there was a movie or tv show on that was non-sports, it would be watched on that television. If there were any sports on (no cable) then it would be watched on the “sports side”.

What I also talked about in that letter was another way for me to escape, that being the classroom on the camp. The prison I was at had a small classroom, for those who wanted to get their GED, or just study up on stuff. By that I meant that even though they had computers, there was no internet, and trust me folks, these computers were OLD. I’m talking GREEN AND BLACK SCREEN old. It was like relics of the Apple museum.

I think they had 5 computers, two were ancient, the other three were serviceable. I used that time to learn Powerpoint, work on my typing skills with Mavis Beacon, and do other things. It was also my haven, to be surrounded by books, tapes and the like. It also had air condition, which was great too. And because many inmates avoided it like the plague, it was also very quiet. The teacher there was one of the nicest people you could meet, and she had a heart better than gold.

People like that make you wish you could just say a prayer and instantly that person would get blessings from the sky. She really, really was a nice lady, and had the loving respect of probably every inmate in that class. I don’t recall her having to ever throw anybody out, or even get upset with them. She didn’t pull rank about being a teacher, or use that “direct command” rule that other employees of prison use on inmates. She was just a very nice lady.

Just sitting here, reading that letter, takes me back to that camp, and many other memories come when I think about it. Yes, it was hard, it was difficult because I was broke, and at that time, very sick, but I could also talk about many other things that made that camp not so bad. All things considering, it was indeed a decent camp. I made many friends there, the food wasn’t so bad, we had two day rooms per dorm and I often was able to watch sports all day on the weekends with almost no distractions, since most other guys were out on the yard.

If I had to think about giving that camp a grade…I might say it was slightly better than average. I mean, you make the best of where you are, so even though it was tough, you have to find ways to stay encouraged. For me on that camp, it was sports, the classroom, cartoons and making a few friends. If you can find a way to stay positive, it is the best way to do your time. It helps so much if that support also comes from family and friends. When I know that mom was doing fine, I could relax a bit. And in a funny way, I am glad mom was never into writing letters, no telling how stressed she MIGHT have been. She liked to send cards, and my brother would write something funny on it to make me laugh, so on that end, they kept it positive.

Anyway, something to share with you guys, I have lots more letters many I have not looked at since I wrote them, so I don’t know what the mood would have been on some of those. At any rate, email me to ask about my free encouragement certificates or questions about prison, I am only offering the prison encouragement certificates free for a very limited time, and only for those reading my blogs off Blogspot, since that is the anchor blog for me. Although WordPress seems to be far better in word search, I may need to reconsider it. But until then, email me to ask about the free prison encouragement certificate. I am making my cards, certificates and books available as of May, but you’d have to ask about it, or check some of my older blogs. Again, my warmest thanks for those who have emailed me about supporting my blogs, I am very grateful for that.

Until next blog….


Entry filed under: girlfriends with boyfriends in prison, God and prison, inmates, jail, LostVault, mothers with sons in prison, prison, prison abuse, prison blogs, prison books, prison cards, prison food, prison jobs, prison mail, prison pen pals, prison support sites, Prison Talk Online, Prisonbid, rehabilitation, son in prison.

#172 Lost posts on Prison talk: Anniversary #174 Prison Works Now Available

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. janesaddiction22  |  May 6, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    sorry hit submit button by mistake i would like to e-mail you ask you a few questions if that is ok ~ i love your site !!

  • 2. nolaw97  |  May 6, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    Hi there janesaddiction22, I gladly welcome your email, please feel free to email me at derf4000 at embarqmail DOT com. I put that in broken form because a lot of spam comes from people who crawl the internet looking for email addies, breaking it like that cuts it down by a lot. So simply type it out with no spaces, using the @ and the “.” where I wrote it out, and you got it. Hope to hear from you soon, and best wishes.


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