Visiting Memories of a Time Best Forgoten….




Today I took a trip down memory lane…. A little look back at some of the things that have shaped my soul. Some of the things that have warped my soul. You know…. Just a few short seconds of uncontrolled lust as a young teen cost me almost four years in California Youth Authority and a life sentence of shame and exposure to potential danger. So many decisions have been made since then, good and bad. I can’t say that I am a good man that deserves none of this. All that I can say is that the weight of all things considered has left me alone and devoid of any real, lasting peace. I lived among those who enjoyed their lives as predators and can say with much resolve that I take absolutely no pleasure in harming or controlling another human being.

After my reception into the Youth Authority at NRCC I was sent to Karl Holten. Karl Holten is one of four youth prisons in Stockton, California known collectively as NCYC. I would later be paroled from another part of NCYC, N.A. Chaderjian which we call simply Chad. At the reception center all the parole violators and second or third timers were quick to tell how laid back it was at Karl Holten. They were pretty much correct, but the first crazy shit I saw was there on my first day of school.

 

second stop on the long black train

Mono Hall

 

I had chosen auto shop. Shit, all the men I knew could work on cars and motorcycles. Just in front of me in the classroom sat two Crips… Blue Eyes from Stockton and Maniac from LA. It was pretty cool and laid back just like everyone told me. Well just about the time the teacher finished taking count, Green Eyes stood up looking out the window and said “Hes killin him cuzz..”. I stood up to see what was going on.

Next door in the Masonry class one of Maniacs home boys was beating another inmate down with a masonry crow bar. Now a masonry crow bar is more than 1” in diameter and about 5′ long. After swinging it over his head a few times, knocking his victim out and waking him up a couple of times. He left his class room to enter ours through the bay door. Maniac wouldn’t even get close to him. He repeated over and over. “I hope I killed him cuzz.” Maniac convinced him to lay down and drop the bar before staff had to gas him and the rest of us.

 

School and trade line.. KH

Let class begin...

 

So welcome to Karl Holten.. How was your first day of school.? Now this wasn’t terribly traumatic, especially when you consider the fact that I was not the one being hit with the bar. But if it hadn’t had any effect on me at all, it would be a sign that I was right where I belonged. In fact I was not. My soul is not at home in a place of such senseless violence. (The crip was getting revenge for a fight he had lost, that ensued because he owed ramen noodles from a lost handball bet.)

I saw and felt much more. My every day was consumed with the thought of my own safety. And I really didn’t have to use much imagination when thinking of what could happen. I know….. The home boys will say I’m weak and on and on. Well check it out home boy. I have no problem with smashing anyone who tries to harm me or those I love. Violence for the sake of violence is equal to cowardice. So there you have it. Just my first day of school in a world that is not mine. While contained there my soul was constantly at odds with the place of its dwelling. Most important to me though, is as the light of my own soul was at its darkest I lost also the light of my life Helen Duggan. My saintly grandmother….

JT

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