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I am going to tell you about me when I was a child. I grew up in Baring Maine. There, according to the Census Bureau, there on the plantation, this has a total area of 24.1 square miles. 20.9 square miles of it is land, and 3.2 square miles of it is water.

Now, on with my story, we were poor. I mean, at lest that is what the government thought because we were below the poverty line. I can remember my Mimi and I would pick berries: blackberries, raspberries, etc. We would get as much as we could and take them back home. We made jam out of them and of course froze some for making jam another day. The jam was divided between my families. We all worked together to feed the families. There wasn’t any of this “Oh well, you ain’t got nothing to eat? Well, sorry about your bad luck.”

We had pigs down back in the barn. They would get out and ear the rotten apples that had fallen off the tree which we picked to make things like apple pie and other apple based deserts. The pigs would get drunk from the fermented apples and stumble all over the place. I remember when we got the pigs. I made the mistake of naming one of them. Big mistake. I, being a little kid, had no idea that the pig’s future was they are going to be put into our freezers to feed us for winter.

My Uncle Bubba chased me and my kind-of-cousin around with a pig head. That was very..ahh, shall we say, frightening experience to say the least, considering that I was about six years old. I remember there was a big garage beside Mimi and Bampy’s house. We used to go over to Uncle Bubba’s house to play games and what have you. I wouldn’t go outside and walk past the garage due to the fact that the pigs were hanging upside down out there to let the blood drain.

Well, we had four pigs and we kept one female pig for breeding s we didn’t have e to buy the pigs again because they were expensive. We divided the meat up between the five different houses and that was that for the meat. Of course there were other things that were shot and put into the freezer: deer, quail, beaver, fox – you get the picture. There were not too many animals that we wouldn’t catch to putin the freezer.

Out to Bruno’s house there were three great big gardens for us. He had lots of space for the gardens. Mimi, Bruno and Uncle Jack each had one to take care of. Of course though there were us kids and the rest of the family. We would bring in the crops from the gardens can some of the baggies and freeze what-have-you and once again the product was split between the families.

We made money by raking blueberries and making wreaths. Everything that was made was made by hand. I remember making bows out of spools of red velvet like ribbon. I would make hundreds of them. That is how we got our clothes for school. Or at least for winter. We had hand-me-downs, from Uncles, cousins – you get where I am going with this. We would go to places like Marden’s and hit places like Ames when there were a bunch of clearance racks. I know a lot of people wouldn’t do that, but what choice did we have? We needed clothes for winter and summer.m

My mom and uncles and grandparents all raked blueberries to get clothes and school supplies for all us kids. There were a total of fifteen of us kids to get stuff for school. That was a lot of stuff, you know. Backpack, clothes, notebooks, all that fun stuff and new clothes or clothes that had been made to look like something new. What I mean is there would be clothes that had holes in them in the knees and what have you. My family would cut off the legs at the knees and cut the crotch out of them and then sew material up each side of the legs to make a skirt. You know what I mean, we refurbished material so it didn’t look like we were poor and couldn’t always get the expensive clothing the other kids were getting.

I can remember my uncles, cousins and grandfather would go tipping (picking brush) for people up in other places that aren’t the country. I guess that “tipping” to most people is tipping over cows. They call it brushing up here in the not-redneck land, I guess.Yeah, I am a redneck and I am damn proud to be. You will never meet a better bunch of people than the people who don’t have a whole lot to begin with. I was raised that you do anything that you can do to help out others.

I would even give someone who is much older and smaller than me my sweatshirt when we get called out to do fire drills. She would refuse it most of the time, but I would take my sweat shirt and wrap it around her and kind of like, hug her, for my God, she is over 70, you know? I also string and do facials and stuff like that in here for the women. Some of the other women in here say that I should charge for my services. I say, “No,” that is not the way I was raised. If I can’t do something nice for someone to make them feel pampered and better about themselves where it doesn’t happen all that often.

Why don’t you just back off, you know? In return it makes me feel better about myself for changing something about them, like I used to do with tattooing. I mean, what the fuck. Then they say that this is prison and it is a hustle. That people don’t do that shit for nothing. I say that I am not people and if that is what I choose to do in my spare time then that is my prerogative. Correct.

Okay, back to the reason why I started to write this piece. I know that we didn’t always have the latest DVD player or computer or what-have-you, when I was a child, but I can tell you something – though we might not ave had everything that we wanted, we damn sure had everything that we needed. Each of the different families would make sure that if they got one thing for one of the kids then until they had one for each of us, no one would get said item. No one made you feel like you didn’t matter to them because with my family, blood is thicker than water.

Love ya,

Arline

Hello, Circle, so how are things with everyone? You know I just realized this morning that I haven’t heard from you guys in a long time. Hopefully you guys just have a bad case of procrastination and haven’t been kidnapped by aliens, or packed up and moved to Tasmania, which is probably the best place to be right now, considering what is going on in the world. How are you guys doing, anyway, is everyone okay? I haven’t heqrd from any of you in a while and I’m getting kind of worried. I know my letters have been reaching you because they haven’t come back to me. Hopefully the prison mail room hasn’t been doing anything funny with my mail.

Well, I foud out a little while ago that my sister and her husband, who moved to Corinth, Texas are living right below what is know as “Tornado Alley.” Hopefully Tornado Alley doesn’t get wider; don’t think I will be telling her that she lives near it.

So what’s up? Have you guys been playing “Dungeons and Dragons,” lately? Have you guys won the State Lottery? Are you still in Southern Maine? Write back, inquiring minds want to know. Traced my hand on the back of this letter. Well, good night.

Kenneth McDonald
(Owl-Malibu)

PS. Could you guys send me some more of those spells from the Dragonsfoot website and could someone check the internet to see if anyone has created a Wicca and Medium class for Dungeons and Dragons? Hope to hear from you guys soon.

CCI08092017

Hello, everyone. I haven’t heard from you guys in a while. You haven’t been snatched up by space aliens, have you? Well, here it is near the end of the first month of 2018. How was everyone’s Christmas and New Year’s? Did everything go well for you guys? What has everyone been up to these days? I just thought I’d find out what’s up with you guys. Been keeping busy, have you? Still looking for those spells from the Dragonsfoot website. Hope to here from you guys soon.

Kenneth McDonald

Hey, how is it going? Well, the flu season is in full swing here in Maine. It took a swipe at the prison and at least three pods got quarantined. Two pods in medium, and one pod here in the Close Unit got quarantined. We are right next to the pod that got quarantined, here in the Close Unit. All three pods have been quarantined for more than five days, oly one guy in my pod was quarantined because of the flu.

So how did you guys and the rest of Maine get hit? Did you guys watch the Superbowl? The New England Patriots lost and add insult to injury, Grotkowski’s house was robbed while he was at the Superbowl. I think the biggest loser in this years Superbowl are the people who had to go our and clean up the mess after all the celebrating was done in Philly. Well, the Olympics are now on, or have you watched any of it yet? Well, good night everyone, and be well.

Kenneth McDonald

AUGUSTA — A city man was arrested Thursday night after allegedly threatening to cut three people’s throats.

Christopher Paul Lord, 42, was arrested on charges of domestic violence terrorizing with a dangerous weapon and domestic violence criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon after his girlfriend and another victim told police about the threats, according to a police affidavit.

Police arrested Lord at his apartment on 47 Mill St. around 7:48 p.m. Thursday. He is now being held without bail at Kennebec County jail.

When Augusta Police Officer Michael Unterkoefler arrived at the apartment that night, he wrote in the affidavit, Lord’s girlfriend was standing in the driveway in bare feet even though the weather was cold and rainy.

The girlfriend, who was distraught, told police that Lord had “threatened to slice her throat” after he got angry about one of her friends leaving belongings on his porch, Unterkoefler wrote. The girlfriend also said that Lord had allegedly threatened to cut the throats of two other people: her friend who left her belongings at the home and a man.

The girlfriend “told me that Christopher wants everyone dead,” Unterkoefler wrote. She “said Christopher had two knives on his hips and a flashlight in his hand. (She) indicated that Christopher got inches away from her and threatened to slice her throat. (She) indicated Christopher was holding a flashlight very close to her face.”

The girlfriend also told Unterkoefler she crawled out of the window of the apartment to get away from Lord, he wrote in the affidavit. Police spoke with the woman who left her belongings at the apartment, and she described the same alleged threats by Lord.

Before police arrested Lord Thursday night, he told them he was angry about the woman’s belongings being at the home and said he didn’t want her living there, they wrote in the affidavit. Lord also allegedly told police that he threatened to stab the three people.

“I asked Christopher what was going through his head at the time,” Unterkoefler wrote. “Christopher stated that he did not know and his mind was racing. Christopher advised that he would not harm (his girlfriend) and that was not his intentions.”

Hey everyone.  What’s good?

As always I love your letters.  And, no, I’m not going bald.  Hahaha!  Even though my haters say that they can see where it’s going thin.  I tell them not to put that evil on me!  Hahaha!  Nah, I keep my hair short because I don’t want to grow it out anymore.  Leo got fired from the barbershop, so he can’t take care of my hair anymore.  Besides, I’ve got the waves to make everyone seasick!  Hahaha!  As for getting fat an ounce – never happen.  Hahaha!  I work out, play ball, do yoga, and I have a really high metabolism.

“Hurt not others with that which pains you.” = Buddha.

I am working on that one.  Yeah.

As I am,

Prince

Fortune, Daniel

Daniel Fortune, Augusta, Charged with theft and Guerrette home invasion

Hey,

The first thing that comes to mind is “I want to get High” by Cypress Hill.  That is where I am at as of now with my soundtrack of my life.  Then I sit and think about it and the more I concentrate on my soundtrack the more I begin to realize that there is so much more to my life soundtrack.

I can’t remember the names of the group that sings these songs but I can remember that I used to listen to these songs on the front seat of my Bampi’s truck coming back from blueberry raking.  One of the songs is “White Lightning.”  I used to sing this song every time it would play on the old 8-track.  I remember that we used to sing the song as

“Teaming, teaming, alligator soup, looking for the place where he made his brew, they were looking just a looking but my pappy kept a cooking – phew – white lightning.”

Apparently that is not the right lyrics to that song as I found out when I got older.  I asked my Bampi why he didn’t tell me that I was singing it wrong.  He simply told me that he was just happy that I was singing and that he thought that I was cute singing.  This made me feel loved.

Arline.

CCI08272017

Life truly is a fairy tale, my adventure setting sail.

My triumph like Hercules – I brought Goliath to his knees.

What makes victory ever so sweet, is the learning that comes with defeat.

 

Never life’s mamba scares me a way, never a night without a day.

Never known love without a tear; never known courage without some fear.

Never known conviction without some doubt;

Can’t have “with” unless you have “without.”

Never known magic without some rules; never seen things built without some tools.

Never a full moon that didn’t wane:

If there’s a loss, then there’s a gain.

 

I grew an eye to make me the beholder, so beauty is beheld as I get older.

 

I speak of balance – yet don’t hold back!  If it’s a noble cause, the nobly attack!

One day there will come an end; can you say that you were the world’s friend?

 

There is perfection in the number seven;

I walked through Hell, so that I could know Heaven.

– Kabir

v

Mama Love would cll out to me as soon as I stepped through the door.  I never realized how much this acknowledgement meant until she died and nobody called out to me when I entered the house that used to be my  home.  I loved being noticed and welcomed when I came home.  I know now it was just another way of her telling me, “I love you, I see you, and I notice you are home.  Your presence matters to me.”  I would take my shoes off and make my way down the hallway (a.k.a. the “hall of fame,” named this because fromt he tops of the shoe racks to the ceiling on botrhe sides the walls were covered with pictures and accomplishments.  School pictures, family pictures, action pictures and any plaques that we had won were proudly displayed for any who cam into our house to see.

As I walked into the kitchen it was my habi to immediately go to Mama Love and give her a hug and kiss.  Mama Love was a big woman.  Her size was comforingly soldid.  You felt her when you hugged her or she hugged you.  Her love surrounded you.  She was warm, alive.  She would then pull back and looking into my eyes ask, “How are you?”  If I said I was good she would not respond, just continure to look into my eyes.  Then, if she was satisfied I was telling the truth, she would turn back to her cooking.

In my house, meals were made with love.  We were not rich, and with four or more boys at any given time eating, simple, less expensive meals were the norm.  Yet, in the years since her passing whenever I have eaten the same hamburger helper meals, they have never been able o compare.  The only thing I can attribure this to is the absense of Mama Love.  I think it was becauise of how much she loved us.  Her cooking was an expression of this love and wanting us to be happy and healthy.

The people that suffered the most from my learning how to cook were my brothers.  We didn’t waste a lot of food in our house so even if I messed up on the measuring of ingredients the meal was served, and in the beginning I messed up a lot.  Mama Love was not one for measurement utensils.  She was from the school of eyeballing it.  What she neglected to mention was that her skill at eyeballing was acquired through years of practice.  Needless to say, in the beginning as loath as she was to throwing food away, sometimes we had McDonald’s, or cereal, or take-out.  Like the first time I made one of my favorite meals, tacos (with soft taco shells of course, because who really likes hard taco shells which crumble or break, and generally are more frustrating than enjoyable) and I “eyeballed” the amount of seasoning, which resulted in taco meat that was inedible and identifiable as taco meat only to me, because I was the one who cooked it.

The next step after the measurements was the amount of time that the food cooked for.  Just as she was not a believer in actually measuring ingredients, she also did not believe in timers.  This was evidenced in her multi-taking abilities.  She would put the food on the stove or even the oven, then give baths, correct homework, coordinate rides to or from practices, dispense discipline and whatever else needed to be done.  No matter what she was doing she knew when the food needed to be stirred, when more or less heat was needed, and even when it was done.  I can’t tell you how many times she would be in other parts of the house and would call out: “Mark/Dan.Leo – stir the food, take it out of the over, turn the stove off.”  It took more time to learn this skill than it did to  measure-to-eyeball ingredients.  I would put food on, then get distracted by my phone or the t.v. or a book.  I would remember what I was supposed to be doing when I smelled the food burning.

This lead to a rule: “If you’re cooking, you’re cooking; everything else can wait.”  The implementation of this rule lead to a dramatic and immediate improvement in the meals I prepared, and my brothers were very appreciative of this.  As my skill increased I began to understand why my Mama Love liked cooking so much.  It felt good to feed my family, to know that they relied on me to provide for them and to make sure that not only it was filling but that it tasted good as well.  On nights that I had successfully made and served dinner I would sit and eat with a deep sense of satisfaction that I had never felt before.  I had accepted responsibility and was helping my family.

Later on, when Mama Love became sick, cooking turned from something I did because I wanted , to something I did because it was needed.  These were some of my first lessons in being a man.  I learned that responsibility meant doing the things that you needed to do instead of only doing things that you wanted to do.  Since Mama Love died, I cannot cook without thinking about her.  The times that we spent in the kitchen are some of the best memories of my life.l  In fact, I don’t like cooking if it is only for myself; for me, cooking is intertwined with family and love.

As I am,

Prince

danny.graduation

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Political Prisoners

Welcome to the blog from inmates of Maine's jails and prisons.

In collaboration with the Holistic Recovery Project, the Political Prisoners Blog provides a prisoner's view into what's happening at Maine's correctional facilities.

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