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Visiting/Meeting PenPal

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sungirlxo
sungirlxo's picture
Visiting/Meeting PenPal

Hey guys!

I wondered how many of you have met your penpals, be it after they got out or visiting them in prison. Do you mind sharing your story as detailed as you can, because I've been thinking about doing so next year or so. Since I'm from overseas I think this would be a little more complicated. Anyway have you met them? How was it? Were they or you emotional? How long were you able to talk? Do you just sit there and talk? Do you have any pictures you mind sharing? Have you kept in touch after they got released? Tell me as much as you can? Or are you planning to meet? 
 

Love, -S

 

ST4s
ST4s's picture

Yes. On his release day. It was epic beyond all description!!! That story was my first post on here back in April of last year (probably somewhere a thousand pages back if you dig) after lurking here and writing prisoners for years. Another one of my buds will be released next month and you better believe I will not miss that day for the world! Epic is the only way I can describe it, like, biblically epic.

Take, for example, all those prison photos you might be getting in the mail, where nobody’s smiling – you don’t even know what your friend looks like with a smile – and turn that into a smiling-all-day-long event and maybe you’ll get an idea. Maybe you or I take freedom for granted, but when it’s written so indelibly across a dear friend’s face, what that looks like, for someone who hasn’t experienced it in so damn long, I guarantee it will change your life. I won’t be sharing my bud’s and my release day photos here, but if you can picture joy times infinity, you’ll understand it’s a thing that can make grown men cry.

So, while release day is the pinnacle of epicness, visiting day No. 1 ain’t too far behind. It’s a kind of freedom that’s measured in hours, or however long you have together. That person you’ve been writing to, and worrying about, and talking to on the phone, and going through all the horrible descriptions of prison life with, and everything – is there, right in front of you, without the veil of CorrLinks, or JPay, or phone calls, or stamps and envelopes and waiting. Yes, you just sit there and talk, and it’s as simple and as profound as that (and if you’re me, you raid the vending machines too, and turn it into a feast). Covid has unfortunately scotched all that for the foreseeable future, so your plans for next year might just work out. If you and your pen pal truly click, you should make them (after our freakin’ government gets its act together, that is).

There are some very good threads on visiting here that would be worth your while to dig up and read.

wannabeflo
wannabeflo's picture

Yes, I am planning to visit him next year. Actually he invited me to come. He will release (hopefully) in december, so not too long to wait. :) I am also from overseas, but I really want to visit the US, so it's a good opportunity to live with. I am curious and excited. :) 

Zach4567
Zach4567's picture

I'm Zachariah I really need some letters please

Zach4567
Zach4567's picture

I'm Zachariah I really need some letters please

sungirlxo
sungirlxo's picture

Hey ST4s

Thank you for sharing your experience! Wow how was it meeting them and being there for them on their release date? That's beautiful! Were his friends and family there too? Did you spend the day with him afterwards? How is he doing now? Well, I haven't been in contact with my pp for a long time, but I already know that he is one in a million and that's why I already started thinking about visiting. He seems like a great friend and someone I can learn so much from. I have been searching in the forums for similar threads and have found some already, but people never really spoke about the experience in detail. Maybe I haven't found the right ones. If you have links for those threads, feel free to share them with me! 
Greetings - S

 

ST4s
ST4s's picture

Hey sungirl, I’m sorry I don’t have links to the super-detailed visiting threads, but they’re worth digging around for. Mjuran started a good one a few months back. My big epiphany was how underwire bras set off the metal detectors and that women should consider sports bras instead for visiting day. (What do I know about such things? I’m a guy :-)

To your questions – being there on my friend’s release day really was a life-changing experience. It focused a brilliant light on what you or I might see as normal or boring day-to-day things – that are exquisite and precious in the eyes of another, someone who has been denied “normal” and “boring” for far too long. And there he was, in the midst of all these places and circumstances we take for granted. Just experiencing that overwhelming joy, even second-hand… it changes you.

He was released to a bus station with a cross-country ticket and not much else – the clothes on his back and a duffel bag with a few books. Nobody was there to meet him but me. I got myself a ticket for the first leg of his journey so we could spend the day together. Never once, the whole time, did we run out of things to talk about.

Too many tangles with the law and too many trips to prison had rendered his family distant and numb, yet he was returning home, to a halfway house not far from where he grew up. I packed some luggage for him ahead of time, with street clothes and travel things so he could focus on the big picture, himself, instead of drowning in the details. My partner got him a new smartphone, fully loaded and ready to go (my partner is awesome).

His first few days were anxiety in the extreme, new everything, no sleep, getting accustomed to the speed of modern life, but he hit his stride, got a job, and started to reconnect with his family. We were in close contact for the first few months after his release, but that tapered-down as his family became the center of his life once again – and as it should be. He’s doing phenomenal and I’m so proud of him. Just seeing another’s success, after so much hardship and shit… that changes you too.

jen2534
jen2534's picture

Here's a link to the Mjuran thread ST4s mentioned: https://writeaprisoner.com/prison-forum/general-prison-talk/whats-it-vis...

AnnyR
AnnyR's picture

Photos??? Why photos...

Are you looking for someone lol 

Jeanne555
Jeanne555's picture

@AnnyR I think OP just wanted to see happy reunion photos.
I haven't made plans to visit my penpals but I'd love to do it if opportunity would present itself, especially when it comes to my favorite penpal. Would be awesome to see that person who wrote me all these letters. Maybe one day...

sungirlxo
sungirlxo's picture

No not at all, but as Jeanne555 said, id love to see happy reunion pictures and hear those stories, cause I find them really interesting. 

 

AnnyR
AnnyR's picture

Gotcha! Just curious :)