Grand Ol' Duke
Letter from America No. IV
Photography: Georgia Oetker
I hope this letter finds you well.
You have to know how grateful I am for all you did in such a short period of time. Thank you! Yesterday inmate Womack and I were finished working and were walking back to our fire-truck with 12 other inmates. On our hike back we began singing ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’, ‘Love is Not All’, ‘Go to Your Rainbow’ and re-grouting our lines. Our Captain was amazed at our knowledge of Shakespeare. But just a few weeks ago we knew nothing of him.
I don’t know where or if I’d ever have a place in the entertainment industry, but one thing is now certain: I have such an appreciation for the art-form. I know that when I get free of this prison I’ll be taking my girl to see as many performances as I can.
One of the problems that I had before my incarceration was having money and nothing to do with it. I would eventually find myself going to bars to drink and possibly steal a little vicarious pleasure. It never worked though. Now I’m trying to get into the studio here. I’ve written a couple of songs for you, Bruce. Hopefully I can get them taped and send them to you.
Thank you Bruce for your time, energy and for your positive attitude in the face of adversity that you found within our prison system. I’d like to start a group of Shakespearean students here on the Camp. If you have any ideas how to accomplish that let me know.
Please thank Georgia for her kindness and free spirit. It left an impression upon my heart. Let Lucinda and Cornelius know that I’m forever blessed for having met real actors and real people in a time when society shuns our kind.
May God continue to light your way and bless the works of your heart … And what a heart it is you have, my friend.