Here is an entry I wrote on my personal weblog dated Thursday, September 22, 2005, before this site was created.
Eight Pages of Goodness Graciousness
I received an eight page, handwritten letter from my jailed deaf dad. He received the five postcards and two letters I have sent since August 5th and the $50 I deposited into his inmate trust fund.
With his money he bought:
A new fan - $20
Radio with awake shaker - $13.60 (He means a vibrating alarm clock)
Sport watch - $4.00
Double hygienes - $7.00
Pint of Blue Bell - $1.50 (Texas brand ice cream for all you yanks)
24 oatmeal pies - $2.10
He has a grand total of $0.21 left in his account. (Don't know where that other $1.59 was spent).
As for the last item above, he said, "Guess what I got 24 Oatmeal Creme pies and I ate all in 2 days -- Damned it. But I feel good to taste real sweeting foods." That's totally worth $50. I sent $40 more yesterday so he can buy two sets of dominoes ($9.50), a new padlock ($10.50) and still have $20 to blow on oatmeal pies and other "sweeting foods". I also bought him this book and a six month subscription to the Seminole Producer for which my cousin Wil is a writer and photographer.
There was his usual ranting about the thieving, cheating, lying troublemakers in jail and an entire page about the real origin of the HIV/AIDS virus. That it originated in Middle Africa around 1957 but they didn't call it HIV at the time. Much of what he wrote was pretty accurate, but based on theoretical conclusions. Read the history of AIDS here.
Finally, he addressed a question I posed in my last letter to him. Figuring the reason he didn't write more often was that he felt like he didn't have any new information to share, I wondered if he would be willing to answer any questions I posed to him in the form of written interviews. I proposed that I could compile his stories and perhaps publish them on his own website, create a manuscript or any number of other avenues for writers.
His reply was an emphatic "YES!" The pages nearly caught fire with his rapid writing and his language became nearly indiscernible. His excitement at my idea has him charged. Here are excerpts from his reply:
"Kambri, Yes Many years ago, I always want to writing a story about fiction and nofiction with my real life and make up a story. published a book. and make millions dollars." [Excellent. This is something he has wanted to do and I can help make it happen.]
"Of course I will write a story every weekly and send you and you make good languages and add more ideas...Yes I will tell you every things about real life of myself. And your mother still not know about I gone to old Mexico They arrested me for possession of Dope. They sentenced me lifetime but I only stay in prison 28 days. That awful story..." [WTF? A Mexican prison? My mom doesn't even know about it?!?!]
"Kambri I will write you every weekly 2 different story about real life and nonfiction. One best story is happiness and fun in Paris, France. Bad story in Old Mexico...My Worse life is that I hated being deaf & mute...I will explain you mail order. Its is best fast profit and lots million dollars in few weeks. Its better than published books." [Mail order? I'm going to have to tell him about the internet.]
He then switches gears and complains about a guy who wants to fight with him. "Don't worry," he assures me. "I will whip and real good bruises & maybe break his teeth. He really need get lesson..." [ARGH! How many times do I have to tell him not to get into trouble! If he gets solitary, he can't enjoy the commissary, get visits or write to me.]
"Kambri you know that I"m good gentleman real man -- No fool No play -- I love you my daughter. Daddy. P.S. I'm happy that I can help with you will make & published book. please." [Me, too, Dad. Me, too.]
So there we have it. It looks like we'll be collaborating on the story of his life. It could be sad, shocking, embarrassing, angering, frustrating but is guaranteed to be interesting.
Now, what should I ask him first?