Friends Meeting at Cambridge’s Wednesday evening sharing circle—for the formerly incarcerated and those who care about them— has recently received letters from three inmates currently incarcerated in MA prisons. All three men are looking for people on the outside to write to them—and, no doubt, hoping to establish a connection with someone they can reference when coming up before the parole board: “See? I know this person—who’s not from my old neighborhood, not a family member. ”
My attempts to find interested penpals among the Quakers doing prison work has, thus far, failed. But, meanwhile, those men are waiting for a response. So today, I decided to send something to each of them, myself.
Remembering how much a former member of the circle—who, unfortunately, has again wound up back in prison—appreciated a notecard I’d sent him, a notecard with a beautiful photograph taken by my friend Janie on the outside, I was figuring out where the closest stationary store might be, who might sell something similar when, duh! Of course! I’d order a batch of Lynn Wiles’ incredible notecards. So I did.
I hope you find more people to be pen pals. And wonder if not knowing what to write may be one block. It got easier for me to write to friends (known before they were in) and young men my children grew up with after I learned to find simple common things to mention. Something like water ice or a huge snowfall or funny story of someone who couldn’t tame his puppy. And short newspaper clippings on very neutral topics). This developed to more “real” letters.
You probably have better ideas on how to get started. And can help with worries about too much being asked. (Write to the parole board only the truth. If pen pal is released help as called, but not beyond what is yours to do.)
If your members feel they don’t have enough in common with a prisoner, tell them I know nuns in retirement homes who write.
Thank you, Meg. You’re inspiring me to be more instructive when I invite folks to join in.
And bless you and those retired nuns!
The Circle has help me so much. It has help me look at my life. thank you so much for the Sharing Circle. I met alot of great professional, and non-professional people. I made alot of New friends. Thank you soooooooooooooooooooo much (:>
We miss you, Roland. But maybe you can join up with some other folks and start a circle where you are?!
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