Creative Commons License
Super Friends by Whitney Holwadel Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at Super Friends

Thursday, May 18, 2023


Welcome to Super Friends

   This is still my son Whit's blog. His contributions to it ceased when he took his own life at USP Terre Haute. At 21 he had been sentenced to a 6 1/2 year sentence for unarmed bank robbery, then inappropriately remanded to the maximum security federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana. Halfway through his sentence, six days before his 25th birthday, he left us, after having spent the previous 15 months in solitary confinement, from where he wrote this blog by mailing me the handwritten entries for posting.

If you are visiting here for the first time, I hope you will take the time to read it, and be witness to what he experienced. He'll make you laugh, and he'll make you cry. The entries begin in the folder named "2008" (see "Archive" at right). Click on the arrow to show "November" and "December," and then on the month to open all entries for that month. Scroll down to the bottom and read up to follow them in chronological order. Repeat for 2009. BUT, if you get through a few of the first blogs and know you want to read to the end but don't want to get bogged down in all the scrolling needed to read in chronological order, just send me an email at and I'll send you a PDF file of the blog that's already in correct order. You can keep it for reading over again or passing along.   

A YouTube video I created in which I read a Father's Day letter Whit wrote, with still photos and video, can be found here. Also a Scottish tune I commissioned in his memory with the well-known fiddle player and composer Fiona Driver here       

  In 2014 I commissioned the script for a play, Blogging Behind Bars, which got produced for the 2014 Cincinnati Fringe Festival, where it won the Audience Pick of the Fringe award. One of the performances was video recorded and can be seen here. The dialog is heavily based on word-for-word excerpts from his blog and interviews with people from his life; some scenes actually happened, others are imagined but true to the people involved and the circumstances. Run time is almost exactly one hour. 

  And finally, consider ordering the book "Super Friendsfrom Amazon. I published it, but it's really Whit's and my book. It contains his full blog along with letters he and I wrote to each other during the five months he was blogging, interleaved with the blog entries. Also some background chapters and a lot of additional material. I donate all proceeds from sales of the book to Prison Writers, an organization that publishes (online) writing by inmates around the country in both the federal and state systems. They have also been gracious enough to publish a number of Whit's blog pieces.

Jeff Smith

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

   Whoever you are from Kilwinning (or near), I hope you visit again! Scotland is close to our hearts, so much so that I placed a memorial plaque on a wee plot I purchased in his memory in Glencoe Wood (Duror, along Loch Linnhe). 

Thursday, April 4, 2019


It was 10 years ago today that Whit left us.

We've all experienced grief, or will, and it's different for us all. None of us does it perfectly; what an implausible concept that is. One of my own imperfections is that I experience something that would ordinarily be felt - by me, at least - as a 100% gratifying, exhilarating thing of beauty and admiration. And then the appreciation is immediately compromised, diminished by the thought that Whit will never be able to share in it, knowing how much he would have appreciated it as well. It happens all the time, though I'm getting modestly better at experiencing my definition of beauty in nature,  music or whatever, without letting what's not overwhelm what is.

Below is a link to nothing more than a contemporary bluegrass song by a band that's stretching and enhancing the definition. If you don't like bluegrass as much as I do, that's absolutely fine, totally not the point. I just appreciate the newness, the freshness, the absolute pinnacle of musicianship that's represented here, I could watch the video 50 times, and I wish Whit could see it too. I KNOW he would love it. It just hurts knowing everything he will never have gotten to experience. And I know I'm not the only one. I can't have thoughts like this, especially in the month of his death, without the feeling of sorrow over Esme Kenney, whose death at 13 preceded Whit's by just a few weeks. I remember attending her memorial service and not comprehending how Lisa and Tom were even able to stand, much less interact with people. A few weeks later it was my turn, and I had to do it myself, even if I didn't understand how. Still don't. Guess it's a bit like Mark Twain wrote on the one year anniversary of receiving - from across the ocean - the news of his daughter Susy's death at 24, the same age as Whit: "It is one of the great mysteries of our nature, that a man, all unprepared, can receive a thunder-stroke like that and live. There is but one reasonable explanation of it. The intellect is stunned by the shock and but gropingly gathers the meaning of the words. The power to realize their full import is mercifully lacking." That last part comes later, and lasts.
Anyway, here's the video, for what it's worth. Perfect, it's even a prison song!

Jeff Smith, Whit's Dad

Monday, January 12, 2015

Blogging Behind Bars

If you're interested in seeing the play based on this, Whit's blog (see below), I had one of the performances video recorded and have DVDs available at no charge. Let me know and I'll send you one.
It's also viewable online at Vimeo. Contact me or leave a comment for the link.