To Noah, From Nate

To Noah, From Nate | Noah Bergland | construction2style

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Noah has a friend, named Nate, that he met in prison. He watched him come in and then leave, like a lot of people…but not a lot of friends.

Nate left Noah this letter on his release date, for him to read after he left. Noah had it clung close to him for awhile, but with permission from Nate, we thought it was important to share with you all. So he mailed it over to me.

I’m sure you’re thinking like me… someone you meet in prison is not your friend. But there are some really smart guys in prison, as I’ve been getting to know through Noah. And Nate, is one of them.

I mentioned in one of my first letters to Noah that a stranger followed me out after saying goodbye while Noah was serving time in Detroit, this stranger hugged and thanked me. Although this has no correlation, it’s just another reminder to me of the lives Noah is changing inside those walls. Just like the inside the outside, minus the “busy-ness” can be pretty much the same. We all deal with judgement, racism, body image, self esteem, trying to fit in and more… and sometimes it doesn’t matter if we’re 15 or 50. One of the many things that I adore and respect about Noah is that he truly doesn’t care what other people think… and he looks for the good in people.

A letter to Noah, from Nate


I’m writing you a letter, so there is no way for this not to look a little gay. But hey…letters are my style…it’s what I now do. 🙂

Of course, I’m excited to get back home and to start putting my life back together. I wish that you did not have to see quite so many people come and go during your time here.

First, I want to thank you for taking me under your wing after I arrived here. It’s very easy for us to forget what it is like being new to a place like this. If a person knows everything about prison when they arrive, they have bigger issues.

I know that guys give you shit about the people you befriend, but don’t stop putting yourself out there with new people. For a lot of people, just having someone who will say hello, or introduce themselves, is such a huge gesture and helps their self-image. So, I appreciate that you befriended me, especially after the way I started out.

I also appreciate the things you taught me about being here, and the level of frankness and honesty that you would give me. I have no doubt that we have a friendship that will last a lifetime.

The other day, I was telling Merrimon how there are elements of being here that are similar to being in college or a sports locker room. Nobody wants to be here, but there is a certain comradery with “being around the guys.”

I will miss getting to hang out with you on a daily basis.

I feel pretty blessed to have made your acquaintance, and I think it is one of the reasons that I was sent here.

Also, I know you’ve heard it before, and that actions speak louder than words, but I am the exception to the rule…meaning you will be able to count on me on the outside.

As for you and the next 3 and 1/2 years. I really hope that you can keep the great attitude you have maintained up until this point. Keep working on little things to improve yourself on becoming a better man for your daughter, your family, and yourself. Always keep one eye on who you will be on the outside in your future.

We become what we think about most, and we live at the level in which we speak.

I believe in that saying.

Circumstances don’t make the man; they reveal the man.

The current life circumstances that you find yourself in have revealed that you are a pretty terrific human being.

Some of your best qualities are that you are humble, friendly, modest, funny, energetic, optimistic, forgiving, loving, smart, entrepreneurial, and despite what you say, deep down, you even have a little competitiveness and “Nasty Nate” in you. Ha!

Stay who you are, keep growing, and keep working on the man that gets to come back and be a daddy to Melrose.

I wish I could take you out of here with me but if I did, we’d both do more time.

I’ll miss you. But, I’ll stay in touch, and you’ll be out before we know it. I think of you as a brother. Do NOT be shy about asking me for anything that you need. Hold the fort down up here, and add my email after 8/20.

Thank you for everything and thank you for being you.

I’ll miss you, man.
Talk to you soon,


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Susan McCulley
5 years ago

Thank you for sharing this! I am grateful for my connection with both you and Noah in that my understanding of what it feels like and means to be incarcerated has been deeply expanded. And questioning the whole system has been quick behind that understanding. I also strongly recommend the Ear Hustle podcast for more on what it’s like to be incarcerated and how important advocating for and supporting those who are inside really is.

5 years ago

Hello I am a friend of Noah’s, I have been telling him about my business that I started and he recommended that I speak with you. I would love to hear from you my e mail is thank you.


[…] My buddies Kyle and Nate, who have both left prison, were the best at this, maybe even borderline making a pass, but hey… I’m not going to turn down a compliment ( really miss you guys in here!) […]


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