Hey guys, Noah here.
So, ever since I sent that letter from Nate, a past bunkmate of mine for ten months, I have wanted to talk about this topic.
In September of 2013 right before I took off to turn myself in a friend of mine at the time, Jesse Johnson, had told me one last piece of advice…
“you are going to meet good guys when you are in there, don’t close yourself off completely, there are going to be people just like you who just made some bad choices.”
Jesse was my only friend before incarceration that had been locked up before so most of my knowledge from the inside, came from him, and that last piece of advice has resonated with me throughout my time up to today.
Prison and jail are not the ideal places to meet new friends, I guess you could say.
It is similar to finding a girlfriend at the bar, but you can find good ones at both, you just have to be a little more careful. I have been locked up now for 66 months, and I have met a ton of good people and a ton of really smart people. That said, I can count the ones I will reach out to after my incarceration one one hand.
One of those people, on that one hand, is Nate.
I met him just like I meet everyone else, reaching out to the new guys when they come in. Nate was doing one year and one day and most people doing a good amount of time, ten or more years, don’t like to associate with the year + one day guys. Because they are bad news. I get it.
The reason is, as soon as you get to know them, they are going home. It’s that fast. But I like to hang out with these guys because I can do my sentence with them a year at a time.
As long as they don’t complain about their time. However, I do give them a 30 day grace period on the complaining, but after that, they better be settled in, because they should quickly realize nine more months and it’s over.
I knew I liked Nate right out of the gate because he was much like me, upbeat, great attitude, intelligent, and driven. Within 30 days I asked if he wanted to move into the room and be my “Bunkie,” and he gladly accepted.
Over the next nine months, Nate and I got to know each other extremely well.
He has a daughter, Joey, who is about 18 months older than my daughter, Melrose, and I was intrigued by the letters he sent to both his daughter and his son, Cater. He would tell his daughter about what kind of woman she should be and how a man should treat her while she grows up, and at this time she was only 8-years-old, the age my daughter is now.
I honestly wasn’t even thinking about bringing up those topics yet, but as I have read fathering books now, I realize these are the exact things we as fathers should be talking about with our daughters.
One of the most memorable impacts Nate made on me is a the time, my mom was still living in Roseau, Minnesota, and I was thinking about when I get released if I should go to Roseau or go to the Twin Cities to live with my sister and have more job opportunities. Nate heard me out and quickly said, “Noah you are going where ever your daughter is, trust me on this one, if you don’t it will be the biggest mistake of your life.”
That advice still sticks with me to this day too, and if I get out in 18 months and Melrose is out in Wyoming with Debbie (Melrose’s other grandma), then I am moving to Wyoming. If she’s in Minneapolis with my family then I’ll move there. If she’s in Roseau, I’ll be there. Nate made me realize, my daughter is all I need to live.
When Nate was getting ready to leave prison he asked me what I wanted him to do for me, he said, “I know a lot of people make these promises and never keep them, but I am going to be the exception to the rule.”
I told Nate, even though I have given up on asking friends that are leaving prison to do anything, I told him there is one thing he brought up that I would consider the coolest thing anyone has ever done for me, and that is buy my daughter birthday and Christmas presents.
Nate left almost two years ago, and he has sent my Melrose presents every birthday and every Christmas. He even sent my mom a Pier 1 gift card for her last birthday. He got a local phone number, and I talk to him almost every week.
This last weekend he even took his kids up, along with a few nieces and nephews, to meet my mom, Melrose, my brother and sister, my family and their kids; and they all had fun at bowling and pizza. I talked to my mom yesterday on the phone and she sounded like she liked Nate as much as I do. So anyone going to prison, just keep an open mind, but also be cautious, and remember there are good people everywhere!