The Sponsors Step Up

Posted: June 2, 2010 in Uncategorized

I’m at the Jackson Correctional Institution (JCI), a facility in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS).  Boy, my sponsors really have come through for me recently.  First, a little background which if you’ve been following along you may not have known.  In my past life prior to coming to prison, I was an Information Technology (IT) professional.  I managed server and information systems and wrote computer programs using a Microsoft environment called the .NET Framework, specifically using the language called Visual Basic.NET (vbnet).  In that world, prior to coming to prison, I had excelled and actually had begun to be known because of my skills.  I had consulted on various projects across the United States and at the time of my incarceration was employed by a Fortune 500 company.  I tell you all this to tell you that one of the things I miss most is the mental occupation a particular issue in software development would cause and the awesome feeling when a solution was found.  But this past week one of my sponsors sent me a book that dealt with another .NET Framework language called C# or csharp.  It’s similar to vb.net, but more like java if you are into that sort of thing.  Anyway, I’ve poured myself into studying this and it turns out I retain it better than even if I had a computer!  But the best part is I’ve been mentally occupied with something useful, something that might be beneficial to me when I’m released hopefully by the end of the year.  Of course, whether or not I’ll get a job in IT is unknown at this point.  We’ll see.  Feel free to email my sponsors if you have a thought on this! 🙂

But that’s not the only thing the sponsors of this blog did for me this week!  One of them actually came to see me! I got paged on the intercom where I was told that I had a visitor.  Who could it be?  All of my sponsors have been added to my Visitor list but I’d never had a clue I’d  actually get one.  JCI is so far away from Waukesha County I figured I’d never get a visit.  So, I went to my cell and changed into my stated issued green clothing and walked up to the main building.  There was one guy in front of me who quickly let me know of a potential problem.  Most of the time when we wear our state issued clothes, we’re allowed to wear our tennis shoes instead of our state issued shoes.  Apparently not for visiting day though!  So I started worrying about this.  After about 15 minutes, the door opened and we all came in.  The guard, whom by the way is the only guard of any kind of color I’ve seen here immediately noticed my shoes and asked me if it was my first time having a visitor to which I replied yes.  He sent the others ahead and told me the rules.  One kiss and embrace at the beginning and end, you can hold hands in the middle and we had to face each other during the visit.  He told me not to “reinvent the love book”, to which I realized my visitor was female.  I could not handle any money.  I acknowledged.  Finally I was allowed in.  Turned out my visitor was someone we’ll call Sophia, a married mother who is in the IT field herself.  I had had the good fortune of working with her in the past and she signed on as a sponsor of this blog soon after I was first arrested.  Sophia had been in the area due to a seminar of some sort and had decided to drop in at the last minute for a visit.  I was glad she did!  We talked about former co-workers, her family and what she is doing now.  Of course, my health came up as I looked a little different without eyebrows!  But the hour long visit was great!  For a little while I joked and laughed with an old friend and got to pretend I wasn’t here.  Man, a normal conversation focused around real life issues.  I just wish it hadn’t ended so soon.

After Sophia left, I began the walk back to my unit.  Spring is so here.  The softball and basketball leagues have been organized and are underway.  I watched the games go on as I walked.  My thoughts turned to how grateful I am to Sophia and the rest of the sponsors of this blog and some of my other friends.  Between God and them, contrary to how I feel sometimes, I’m never truly alone.  That means so much to me.

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