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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 whit-superfriends.blogspot.com. Super Friends: Old letters

Monday, February 22, 2010

Old letters

Back in 2007, not long after Whit arrived at Terre Haute, I got the idea to create a blog of sorts consisting of letters he had written me from Dayton Correctional Institution, where he had spent three years from age 18 to 20. This was of course long before Whit came up with the idea for his own original blog. After just under a year of putting letters up and noticing that no one was reading them, I abandoned the project. I thought I'd post a link to that site in case anyone here is interested. It also includes some pieces he wrote from Dayton for an independent newspaper published in Cincinnati by Steve Novotni, who ended up becoming a good friend of Whit. (Click on "More Writing Samples") After he came home from DCI Whit lived with me for a couple of months before moving into an apartment in Steve's house. It was there he last lived, for another few months, before being arrested and sent to Terre Haute.

By October 2007 I had begun putting up a few letters he'd written from Terre Haute. All letters through 2002 are from DCI, anything later is from Terre Haute. The folder/link dates refer to when I posted them, not when the letters were written.

I think all the letters are worth reading, but the one he wrote on October 8, 2002 hits me especially hard.

I called the blog simply Letters from Whit.

8 comments:

Nina the Internet sleuth said...

awww... these were actually the first words I read from Whit (after his ad on LostVault of course). Do you remember, you gave me that blog address when Whit and I were experiencing Post problems at the beginning of our correspondence :)

Anonymous said...

If I'd known the letters were on the blog, I would have read them. Bless you for sharing. Through this past year, you will never know how much your insight has helped one mom deal with her son, who is just about the same age as Whit. His life is much different than that of your son's, but I think he and Whit would have understood each other very well.

Jeff said...

Thank you for those words. It is very gratifying to know that Whit's voice is still touching people;it's what keeps me going. And if, as you say, your son and Whit would have understood each other so well, then I wish I could meet him.

Anonymous said...

Only see him once/year, when I make the effort. He lives in another part of the country but we stay on good, if somewhat irregular, terms.

Jeff said...

Irregular one can live with as long as it's good terms. Keep taking the initiative.

Ray S. said...

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for the reference to "Letters From Whit". They made things much more clear as to how Whit ended up in a Federal Prison.

Much of your life parallels with mine, but my eldest son straightend out when he learnt that his younger brother had been diagnosed with 'cystic fibrosis', a terminal disease.

It's strange how life works. I see similar in Whit's concern for his Grandmother. He must have really loved her.

I did regularly follow the blog, but to this day, I will never forget reading "My son is dead".

Keep up the fight, and celebrate Whit's life on April 4.

Regards,

Ray S. Australia

Jeff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff said...

Ray, I can't thank you enough for your comment. Although it was not Whit's main intention at the time to provide inspiration to others in similar situations, I suspect that was in the back of his mind. That he now does so is one of the only good things that has come of this. I must also say that for various reasons that are easily explained he has had very few male readers. That one of them is a father like you, with your particular set of circumstances, I find very rewarding and comforting. That your elder son turned himself around for the reasons he did speaks volumes for him. Whit too had found himself in prison, but the horror of prison deprived him of life before he could begin to live it. In any case I am unfortunately in a good position to see the irony of having something good come from something bad. I do know how you must feel. I hope your younger son will benefit from the huge efforts being undertaken to find a cure. I'd be gratified to hear from you once in a while as to how things are going. And please tell your oldest that I have great admiration for him.