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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

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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

Hi everyone.

I love the sound of doves cooing, and their… I guess you would say their growling noises at each other.  Specially when they are fighting over a cheese puff.  See, my doves loved cheese.  I also love the sound of a loon’s cry and the crow’s caw, the owl’s “who” and the hummingbird’s flutter of their tiny wings as they collect nectar from the flowers.  The talking of my friend’s African Grey.  She whistles, counts and screams at you when you come into the house, unless you give her a Ritz.

I love the sound of a tattoo machine, cuz it means that when that tat is all done and finished there will be a beautiful design.  I love the sound of the bubbler fish tank.  In fact, that is what I used to listen to, to fall asleep.  Now, I listen to my fan.  Te sound of water running down a waterfall.  The ocean crashing into shore as I run across the sand with my son.  The thunder as it rumbles the Earth, and the rain down pouring on the ground.  Each has a different sound whether it is concrete, grass, tar or dirt; I love the sound of it all.

Lastly, I love the sound of All that Remains’ “the waiting one.”  Cross fades: “Cold.  Avenged Sevenfold: “Nightmare.”  Any and all music by Trapt, Nirvana, Cradle of Filth, Five Finger Death Punch, Chimera, Type O’ Negative, System of the Down.  Most music in general, especially music in musicals like “Repo, the genetic Opera,” and “Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.”

Finally, I love the sound and the laughter of my son.

Arline “Mourning Dove” Lawless

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Hey everyone.

If anyone gets to watch the remake of “Hidden Rage,” (featured on the show “Deadly Women.” https://www.youtube.com/embed/kY4aESX6itE?rel=0&autoplay=1 – Rage) including me, keep in mind that it’s all his (the victim’s – Rage)  family’s side of the story.  It just recently came out in the past year or so, when someone asked me why I tried to kill myself (after the murder of the victim. – Rage.)

I told them that I thought that I was a bad mom and that I didn’t deserve to live if I could be with someone who hurt my son.  I guess that is because of my TBI.

That is when my friend asked me why I never told anyone about him hurting my son.  I said I was afraid of what people would think of me.  I figured that I would just eliminate the problem myself.

They all like to tell the story they way they think it happened.  Like, I came in the room and he was standing and I shot him.  Nope.  He was passed out drunk.  But of course they wouldn’t mention anything like that would they?

Anyway, I told you that I was the non-conformist, so of course I had to trace my left foot, right?

Gonna let you guys go for now.  Got to write Robin and Jacobi before I mail this out tonight for tomorrow.

Not quite what my foot looks like, but hey, you try to trace your left foot with your left hand when you are right handed.

Want to get an eye tattooed on the bottom of my foot.  Gonna hurt like a bitch, though.

Love and tight hugs,

Arline

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Hey everybody out there,

I just got done facilitating a class.  I have another class at 9:30 to 11:30.  Then the rain closet.

I just want to talk about some stuff to try to sell on the internet so I can get some money.  I need money in the worst way, too.  My boss is on  leav4e for a while and I am trying to save the stamps and phone time untill next month.  She didn’t put in 9our hours or anything so I don’t even know if we are going to be getting paid the whopping twentyfive hours I got in July.  Fucking sucks.  Got a raise to 80 cents and hour,  but, 35% comes off the top before I even see any of it.

Sorry.  I am bitching again.  Just stressing about stuff, you know.  As far as selling stuff I have: a paintings on canvas: “tulips,”  “space,”  “chickadees,”  “a spooky tree with an evil moon in back,”  “a big eyeball with yin-hang for the pupil,”  “a city scape at night reflecting on the water,” and, last one: “a shack on ocean front with clouds.”

I can also crochet stuff.  Like, to order.  I can bang out hats in two hours with stuff grafted onto them.  Actually, everyone wants hats with their MDOC# on them.  Also with their children’s names on them.

We get two free mailing a week here, but that’s about it.

Hope to hear from someone soon.

Love: Arline

arline.july.2017

Hey, Circle,

Today would have been my Bampi’s birthday.  But, since he has passed on, I guess he won’t be getting older, huh?  I called you guys around 7:30 pm earlier, but no answer.  Don’t know if there is a specific time I should call or what, but I tried and I will again in a day or so.

When I didn’t hear from anyone for a few days I was worried that I had did something to piss you guys off.  But, thank God, just a big worry wart, I guess.

As far as writing goes, I do, or did take writing classes, but I have always loved to write, even before I got arrested.  I am working on a memoir of the Arline Lawless story.

My son, Damien, is doing good.  He starts tutoring on the 11th.  He is a little handsome devil.  He looks just like me.  When I get rich and famous I will send you guys a picture of our visit in May.

I have P.T.S.D.  When a door slams, it sends me into a panic attack.  Guess that has to do with the gunshot wound to the face, but hey, I am also afraid to get into a relationship for fear that the same thing will happen.  I talk to mental health a lot.  I think I might have sensory problems too.

What do you think of that?

Love,

Arline

arline.july.2017

Hi, Circle.

Here’s more on stress here, and ways of coping.

We have a gym here, the only downside to that is there is only space for about three people to do a workout video.  There is also exercise equipment, you know, like the elliptical, bicycles, tread climber, and of course yoga mats and exercise balls.  Once again, there is not enough room for more than three to four people to work out in there at a time unless you are over in the corner on one of the machines.  We have some very dedicated women who work out faithfully everyday here.  Which is fine, but what about people who want to try to get their body back and just try to be as healthy as they can be?  There is neither time not space for them to do that, and if they work, the net day working out at ten o’clock at night is just not really in the cards for them.

We also have a rec yard.  You have to walk to circle twenty six times to have walked a mile.  WE have a volleyball net and a basketball net.  I like to play volleyball and basketball on the outside but not on the inside.  See, I don’t like to go outside because we are fenced in and we have barbed wire on the top of the fence.  I imagine that it is like that in other prisons (!) However, when you have twenty-five years or so left it can be a little depressing.  We can also play cards and buy our own decks, but how many times can you play spades or cribbage?  I mean, it is fine for the time being, but playing it repeatedly can get a little monotonous.  Don’t get me wrong though, I like to play card games.  We even make up our own card games.

We also have a library where people can take out up to four books at a time.  I have read a good amount of books since I have been here.  I have a big reading list also, but many of the books on my list cost money, which is something that I don’t have for such frivolous items.  Women here have televisions, radios, CD players, and of course there are that few that have Play Station 2s.  Once again, I am not one of those lucky women.  I have a radio, but that’s about it.

I love to crochet; in fact, I was in the process of making thread bags with little pictures graphed into them.  I made blankets with pictures, or words graphed into them also.  However,the thing that I like the most is graphing with thread.  I really like a challenge; the more difficult the task is the more I tend to like it.  That’s a big stress reliever for me.  I am trying to do independent study so I can have a career when I am released.  I love to learn new things (I guess you could say that I’m a bit of a nerd.)  I would love to study ornithology and maybe someday get to work with birds.

Lastly, the ways that most women cope with stress here is keeping contact with the outside world.  I know that I try to keep contact with the outside world a lot.  I just wan to know that someone on the outside is still thinking about me.  It seems like to most women here that they are forgotten about most of the time.  That is why a lot of women look for pen pals to correspond with; that way they can feel like they are still loved and that people actually care about them.  I know that having a pen-pal that would like to get to know me and maybe even go further when I get out has made my stress level decrease a hell of a lot.

Write me!

Love,

Arline

arline.july.2017

Circle,

How are you?  I guess you could say I am okay, but I want  you guys to know you are a really hard bunch to get a hold of on the phone.

I got your letter on Thursday, plus the ones from Arline (Lawless) but no, I never got one from Robyn (aka Snax), but I guess you could say that is Kool (LOL.)

Yes, my ministry is going good, but of course it is still hard when you are broke.  As you know, now, Lori and I don’t speak so I don’t have help when it comes to money.  Why do you think it is hard to get stamps and other stuff?  Well, the Lord will provide; He always does, you know.

I guess I should tell you guys that the Feds are not like State.  You don’t get free anything.  You are on the hook for it all here, so yes, I spend the $5.00 I get a month from my job here on hygiene and a few dollars on the phone for my mom, and if I can, my kids, for Lori is doing her best to keep them from me.

But, yes, I do try to call  you guys, for yes, it would be great to hear a voice from a friend or two.  For you guys are my only friends on the outside.  I guess you could say that D.S. is also a friend, but as you know, I don’t hear from her like I hear from you.  As you know, I only heard from her once in my five years in.  If anyone hears from her, tell her that I am still waiting for her next letter.  She can’t say she is all that busy.  She can write me.

Well, I will let you folks go for now.  I hope that everyone is having a blessed summer.

your friend,

Father Dudley

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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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