Changes Were Coming
It had been about a month and a half since I left the DB for the LPU. After the pen pal incident and completing the two weeks of extra duty, I managed to stay out of trouble. The Disciplinary Board scared me enough to keep my nose clean, as if being in prison wasn’t enough.
My family continued to come to visit me periodically and my sister Dana even brought a few friends from Omaha. It was great to meet some of the people she hung around with. I was surprised that their parents let them come to a prison to visit an inmate. They must have really trusted my sister.
However, as the season changed, the visitations became a little less frequent. When they weren’t able to come, I completely understood. The drive was about three hours and during a mid-west winter, driving conditions could be pretty treacherous.
As winter was approaching, things started to move along at a slow pace. The days were getting darker and there was a chill in the air that bit at my skin a little harder with each passing day.
The Kansas winter was brutal that year, more than I remember from the first and second. In the first year, I never really left the confines of the Castle for any reason. During the second year, I had to walk from B-6 to the Castle every day to go to work.
Walking through the courtyard in the snow was further away than it was at the LPU to get to work, but I just don’t remember it being as frigid. It got so cold, that I only left the barracks to go outside just to get to work in the mess hall, watch a movie at the recreation room or work out in the gym.
Maybe it was because there were no walls around us.
Maybe it was because the wild forest surrounded us.
Or maybe it was all in my head.
Thanksgiving and Christmas at the end of 1991 were pretty boring and uneventful. For some reason this time is all a blur. Prison had a way of doing this to your mind.
The holiday’s came and went without leaving any sort of impression. There were some menu changes to try and make it feel special. This didn’t really help that much, other than having a deviation from the normal food. Working in the mess hall meant that you didn’t get the day off.
There were a few guys besides my work out partner that I associated with. Most of them were from B-6. We would have conversations about each other’s home towns, or what we would do when we got out.
The barber who cut my hair inside the walls was at the LPU which I was glad to see. We had become pretty good friends and I loved that he was able to keep my unauthorized haircut looking authorized.
He worked in the mess hall with me as well but cut hair when people needed it. Maybe I should have paid attention to how he was cutting my hair. It’s possible that he could have given me some tips for when I got out of this place.
There was another guy at the mess hall who was originally from Lincoln, Nebraska. He filled me in on what Nebraska was like, to prepare me for when I moved there. It sounded pretty boring actually and I was more interested to learn that he only got a five year sentence for shooting a guy at point blank range.
The victim survived the shooting and testified against him. So this guy shoots someone and gets the same sentence that I did for selling drugs. One could never understand the sentences each of us received.
My surroundings were comfortable enough and I tried to stay busy with work and working out. The systems and routines worked to occupy my time and my mind.
If I didn’t make parole or count any earned good time, there was still about two and a half years left to serve before my five year sentence was up. So, I did my best to not think about it.
Watching the clock when I was locked in a cell drove me insane. If I could just make it through this season, there were good things waiting for me on the other side.
Escape from the dreary, confined days of winter into the bright and colorful spring.
The freedom to go outside again and experience the openness of the outdoors.
The hope of another year to start fresh and new.
Another chance at getting out of here and going home.
It would be around June that I would be eligible for my second shot at a parole board. In my current circumstances, chances were pretty good that I would make it this time. Anticipation was a killer in this place and so I put it in the back of my mind. Just enough to remember it, but not enough to let it drive me mad.
However, I was excited to learn about a program called Temporary Home Parole. Once an inmate made it to the LPU, he could request to go home for seven days. If it were approved, I could leave Fort Leavenworth and go home to my family for a whole week as early as April.
I submitted the request form as soon as I found out about it, which would have been around November. It stated where I would be going and that my family would be picking me up as well as bringing me back. The amount of time it would take for them to approve or reject my request was unclear.
How they decided who got to go and who didn’t, I will never know. My bunkmate had been approved and was talking about his upcoming trip. He was so excited but kind of nervous. Since he had been at the Disciplinary Barracks for 12 years and stationed at an Air Force Base before his crime, it had been awhile since he had been home.
It always helps keep things in perspective when someone else’s situation is more extreme than yours.
For me it would be different. My family came to visit me and I had only been locked up for two years.
Even though my bunkmate had been approved, I knew not everyone was. So I stayed low, followed directions and did what I was told.
As 1991 slowly began to pass away, many changes were in store for me in 1992.
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