Christella Clear


My sister’s request for visitor status was denied. She hadn’t actually signed her name, she had typed it in a fancy script. I can understand that.

My uncle died. He and my aunt lived three doors down from my family growing up. You might expect me to say he was like a father to me, since my dad had died, but he was an uncle, which is even better. He was kind and loving and innocent and curmudgeonly at the same time. He was a professor of English at a local private university and it was his life’s mission to teach proper punctuation and grammar and an appreciation of reading English Lit.

When my cousin and I were sorting through his belongings, I came across a hand-written thank you note that Vince had sent him for some little favor. It was so cute, so I mailed it to Vince, along with the funeral notice.

There was a postage stamp on the envelope of the thank you letter, so the prison blocked it. Vince got a cryptic notice that something had been mailed by someone and that it had been denied. Did he want to file a complaint, or give them permission to destroy it? After several phone calls we figured out what it was and Vince said he wanted to go to the mat to get it back. He filled out a request form to have the materials sent back to me. The prison accidentally mailed the form to me. I mailed it back to Vince. By then he had filed a second form. Three weeks have passed without a response.  I think they destroyed it and are hoping we’ll forget it.

My niece’s request for visitor status was denied. She moved a few weeks ago, so the address on her application form didn’t match the one associated with her driver’s license number. An honest mistake.

I sent Vince a photo of my sister with her new chemo ‘do:


He and my sister used to be very close. Life intervened, they hadn’t had much contact for years, but now prison and cancer had brought them back together.

I don’t know how it all transpired but a prison mate of Vince did a sketch from the photo, and Vince started asking if I had received a package. This went on for weeks. And more weeks.

Finally I did receive a very large, flat package. Inside it was a sketch:


The return address was in Chicago, and there was a note on letterhead adorned with butterflies:

Dear Anne:

My name is Christella, I am the sister of an inmate that is a Moose Land Correctional Facilitees with your son Zinnce (I hope I got the name right). My brother was asked by your son to draw this picture, but they cannot give each other items so my brother mailed it to me and ask me to send it to you. Please send the enclose picture of the drawing to your son so he can see what Mark did.

I hope you like the drawing. Mark (my brother) told me the person in the photo was ill. I don’t know her name but I will keep her in my prayers, along with Mark and your son.

God Bless,


2 thoughts on “Christella Clear

  1. beckroe

    Anne, For the last four months (10-30-14 actually) I have been reading your blog~ sometimes reading the entries more than once just so I knew I wasn’t missing anything.
    You see, on 10-30 my fiancé was taken to prison for a probation violation (he had about 5 chances before they sent him to do the 13 months he had “over his head”. In the first few days after he was gone I was lost. The “unknowns” of prison life were almost more than I could bear. Then somehow I came across your blog and because I had someone in St Cloud I was hooked. I appreciate the honesty from both you and your son, and find myself looking forward to the next entry. I’m Rooting for your sons sucess in this whole endeavor. Just wanted to thank you for providing an insight to St. Cloud and Moose Lake as well. (my fiancé is there also) it has helped me tremendously.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s