Back to the Future

Posted: September 22, 2010 in Uncategorized

I’m at the Fox Lake Minimum Correctional Institution (FMCI), a facility in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS).  In my communication with the social worker, Ms. Greer, it was confirmed my bed date to start my ERP program at Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF) remains Dec 13th, not anytime in September as I had hoped.  This of course, doesn’t necessarily mean all hope is dead because as we’ve seen, it can all change quickly.  But I’ve resigned myself to the idea I’m going to be here for awhile.  I ordered canteen today thanks to a friend and in another week I can ask for all my property, including my electronics.  That will help a lot.  Things have cooled off quickly.  We have an inmate here who we know as “The Maytag Repairman” who tries to keep the two old washers and dryers running as well as other maintenance tasks.  They had him up cleaning the vents in the dayroom.  They tried to get him to wear a mask but he wouldn’t have it.  He should have.  It was nasty.  The following morning we found out why this was done, only after quite a few of us had assembled in the dayroom due to the smell of smoke and burning eyes.  It seems they decided to activate the furnace for the first time this year.  Even the guards were surprised.  One of them commented it was a poorly built building.  I don’t know, I don’t care.  It’s just not important to me.  I’m sure that would change if it had been a real fire.  But it wasn’t. 

I did have an interesting blast from the past.  I told you earlier in a very summarized fashion things were difficult as a kid with my biological parents.  The foster care system was a nightmare in the mid 1970’s.  As I got older I began to get angry.  As a child I wasn’t able to give voice or meaning to the images and videos that replayed in my mind over and over again.  The only constant was a system that took away those I depended on and loved over and over again.  As I put the pieces together, I became rebellious and didn’t trust anyone, including my adoptive parents.  I ended up in a group home in Appleton, WI with 5 others.  One of the other youth there was named Paul.  We rarely talked. In fact, we fought over the TV once.  But for a few years afterwards I kept up with that group as best I could.  Two of the six were dead by my 25th birthday.  But I lost track of Paul.  I didn’t give it another thought until I saw his name on the sign out list.  I asked and sure enough it was him.  He was there on his 7th DUI and would get out in December.  We both looked radically different.  I was thinner, he had aged hard, we reminisced briefly about the group home.  But after that, we didn’t talk a lot.  Neither of us are close to the people we were then and we just don’t have a lot in common.  What were the chances I’d run into him in prison after all these years?  A smart aleck now would say they saw this coming all the way back then.  I know better.  I went on from that group home and carved out a career as a computer program and Information Technology professional.  If I’d followed my instincts and gotten help, I’m not in prison.  It was my fault.  I had plenty of chances to do just that.  Let’s hope when I get out, I can build on those accomplishments and have a family again.  I’ll work hard and leave the rest in God’s hands.  I do admit to wondering if I’ll find a job, and if employers will still be interested.  I wonder if any woman will have me, much less one with kids like I hope.  I’ve got a lot of work to do on myself, and on my situation before any of that can happen.  But I hope at the end of the day, the world will find me worth taking a chance on again.

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