Gerry is in school in Dayton, majoring in social work with a specialty in drug and alcohol counseling. Below is the text of an essay he wrote recently for a class. Whit would be pleased and proud to share his blog with his good friend in this way. Thanks for sharing this, Gerry.
I spent nine years in prison. Upon my release I came back into a society that I knew nothing about; it was like being on a different planet. The experiences I have had during these nine months have been both frustrating and rewarding.
My first trip to Meier was especially challenging. I entered the store and was dumbfounded. Before I went to prison, grocery shopping didn’t involve the need of a road map to locate what I was shopping for. I was just trying to buy soap, deodorant, and other basic hygiene items. My plan allowed for this simple task to take ten minutes, in reality it took forty-five minutes to navigate the many aisles of this grocery extravaganza and find the intended items. I am lucky I chose to go during the day because following the sunlight was the only way I was able to locate the front of the store. I didn’t even attempt to try using the self-check out machine, assuming that it was beyond the scope of my abilities. Since my first experience at Meier, I have made numerous expeditions back into the store and have even mastered the use of the self-check out machine, Although it had me on the run for awhile.
The internet was my next endeavor into modern society. I was somewhat familiar with how computers operate but I had never been on the internet. I sat down in front on my mother’s home computer and attempted to figure out how to gain access to the menu. I deduced that the “start” button might be a good place to begin. Through past knowledge I knew that the controller by my right hand was used to move the arrow across the screen and so I used it to open the start menu. Having gotten this far without much difficulty I assumed that the rest of my journey to the internet would not be very troublesome. Looking at the menu I didn’t notice a selection that said “hey stupid, this button will get you to the internet”, so I proceeded to click on one choice after another until I came to right one. Having used such a scientific method to accomplish my last task, I was completely flustered as to what to do next. About this time my brother Chris walks into the room so I ask him”what do I type in to get to the internet.” He finds my question hilarious and after his bout of laughter he says “anything you want.” Seeing the puzzled look on my face he explains that I just need to type in whatever I am trying find out about and click search. So I sat there for a minute considering my options and then typed “time machine” because at that point I really felt like going back in time.
My most rewarding experience thus far was getting to meet and spend time with my nephew. My brother Dan and his family came fromIn conclusion, reentering society after so many years of incarceration has had its frustrating moments. But as time passes I am finding that these discouraging events have less and less impact on my life. My focus is on the future and rebuilding my life out of the wreckage of my past.
for a visit. I didn’t know what to expect because my relationship with my family has been strained because of my incarceration. When they arrived I was gone at a doctor’s appointment, so everyone was a little more relaxed by the time I got there. When my nephew whose name is Charlie saw me he came right up to me and asked “who are you?” I told him I was his uncle Gerry and without hesitation he hugged me. He is only two years old so the only thing I think that mattered to him was that he had another uncle. The whole time they were there Charlie was always hanging on me and wanting me to play with him and it was the greatest feeling in the world as far as I am concerned. Chicago