edward w pritchard
I know I am no two bit writer or anything like that but my new shrink here at the jail wants me to keep a diary of my four days here in the workhouse, which is actually just picking up trash and papers out along the highway. So here is my first attempts at keeping a journal sort of like that Samuel Pepys guy we studied in high school who wrote about being in London in the Plague year of 1666.[ sic 1665]
First of all I am not sorry that I am incarcerated, that's what the Black prisoners always call it and they should know for they get arrested for a lot of little things. I won't go into it again how I got arrested this time but please read below about my girlfriend Rachel and how she got me arrested by coming home drunk and causing a ruckus on a school night.
Speaking of Rachel she is kind of a trashy girl and her life is a real mess but she and me are tight, usually. I like that blues song by big Bill Broonzy that the black guys play here in the workhouse called " the Midnight special" about a guy in the old south being put in prison for just sort of being poor. Well in the song the guy is going to be executed for something or other not too bad and his girl comes in to see the Warden or the governor to " free her man" and the woman in the song is wearing an apron over her best dress when she comes to the jail. Sometimes when I lay here in my bunk I fantasize about my girl Rachel coming down to the jail to just see me once wearing a pink crisp linen apron and being sober and decent to me. But no such luck for me, if Rachel did come down while I was in jail it would be to try to borrow money and she would have a pair of hip hugger blue jeans with her tattoos on her ass showing all the secret messages she had printed on her butt for posterity.
Life's just hard for you once you get involved with the prisons and the legal system. No one comes to see you or write to you when you are in jail and to everyone that knows you are an invisible person. After you get out you are a non- person in the business world from then on.
One thing you can do in jail with no distractions is to workout with weights. A lot of the guys here spend three or four hours a day pumping iron and then a few hours studying the bible to keep highly motivated reading positive and inspirational scriptures. No one comes to see them either, not even the good people from the local churches. It's kind of sad really and that's one of the reasons I don't lift weights or read the bible here in the jail.
They do have a good library here at the jail and I am reading a book called the " prison notebooks" by an Italian Marxist called Antonio Gramsci. It's interesting stuff to me to read Gramsci's book but it makes me so sad not because Gramsci spent so much time in prison for his beliefs but because of his handicap. If I could write so anyone would read it I would like to write to raise normal people's awareness about how people with handicaps struggle to just survive but it exhausts me to think how to go about organizing to get that message out. Most people I have met follow the philosophy of objectivism of Ayn Rand whose book I also tried to read here from the prison library but I got in trouble for flinging Rand's book against the wall of our ward here in the workhouse after I read the first four pages. Just what the world needs another book telling normal people how to be selfish and self centered.
Reading Ayn Rand's books did get me thinking about whether people have free will or not in how to live their lives. A jail is a good place to think about such things, there are so few distractions. I hope I still have time to think a little after I get back to real life.
Well that's the end of daily record four. If I could have anything right now it would be a cold beer in a tall chilled glass served by a pretty waitress. The temptations of the flesh and all, like the weight lifters here at the jail preach about.
three days on a chain gang
edward w pritchard
A woman policeman was responsible for me spending four nights in jail and three days on the chain gang. There are no real chains it's more of a pick up trash detail but even years later I always referred to that week as my time on a chain gang.
I was helping Druanne with her homework, that's my girl friend Rachel's twelve year old daughter; when Rachel came in drunk and hit me several times on my arms. By the time the police had arrived Rachel was laying in on the bed calling me to come and join her. Too late, Mrs. White the neighbor had called the police, Rachel yells very loud.
The policewoman sized up things in about two seconds. Rachel looked exceptionally trashy today and Druanne was sticking up for me and the policewoman said someone had to go downtown. The lady officer knew I was in a jam and had to go to jail so she was very polite to me. Before we left the officer had me and her talk with Druanne about doing her homework and stuff while I was gone. I guess she had children.
Anyway the police woman told Druanne I would call her everyday while I was in jail to follow up on things. The surprising thing was the Judge in Muni court put on an order the next morning to that effect- that I was to call Druanne everyday. The prosecutor objected to that but it was too bad, it was the Judge's home court.
My punishment was four nights in local jail and also picking up papers and trash by day out along 157 west going into Canton Ohio. I was part of quite a team lead by Deputy Willie J. Watkins who used to be a famous football coach in Louisville about 40 years ago. Like all deputy sheriff's Coach Watkins, we all six inmates on the trash detail called him Coach, had about 5 jobs at once and was actually quite wealthy. Now Watkins was old, retiring next Winter at 67, although he would still be a dairy farmer, a debt collector for the probate court in Stark County part time and substitute teacher. Anyway Coach has diabetes and can't walk much, that's why he gets to do the trash detail. The interesting thing about him is he still is an amazing coach and organizer. From us six miscreants assigned to trash detail this fall between Louisville, and Canton Ohio Coach Watkins formed a fantastic team dedicated to the mundane job of picking up trash. Because of his bad legs and knees any one of us could have escaped by walking off the trash detail but none of us would out of respect to coach and because of the fact that the other five guys would beat the hell of them when they were eventually caught and came back.
Well that's how we were over at Walsh college watching the girls soccer team run around in short shorts while we ate pizza courtesy of the oldest guy in our group Ed Williams 61. We were arguing about how old a girl should be for a theoretical one of us to have sex with. As we watched these girls who were very good athletes and looked like nice young girls; poor old Coach Watkins had to hobble over because we were getting a little heated in our argument with the slime ball Pounders who kept saying a girl of 14 was fair game. I guess I was the real psycho in the group because I kept thinking of poor Druanne at home, just twelve years old, the closest thing I will ever have to my own daughter, with a Mother who didn't notice her, and a sleazeball like Pounders after her. Coach doesn't mess around I found out. Just before Pounders started to kill me, I am a little guy, coach grabbed a piece of pizza, pointed his revolver at Pounders and said " where do you want it". Then coach jumped on me for being argumentative. Next day Pounders was off the trash detail, I had to carry water to everyone as well as pickup trash for being argumentative and we had Byron Littlejohn as our sixth team member. I'll tell you about Byron next in part 2.