We went to jail this week. Luckily, we were just visiting. My brother, Derek, was in town and during a trip to San Francisco, we took the ferry and landed on one of the most fascinating places I have ever experienced. The stories were told from the people who lived it through an incredible audio tour, as we stood at the actual places of infamous Alcatraz events. We learned what life was like not only for the prisoners, but the guards and their families (children included) who lived permanently on the island- it had a great view, why would they leave? The empty cells, moss covered bricks and weathered buildings are all that is left of the history-laden island.... except for a few of the surviving residents who once called the penitentiary home. The most thrilling moment of the day was when we met the man pictured below:
Darwin Evert Coon- AZ-1422. He served 4 years of a 14 year sentence for armed robbery at Alcatraz and was one of the last 20 inmates to leave the prison as it was shut down. In attendance with the three infamous escapees, he dropped his raincoat and some tools down a drain to assist in their attempt. A 29-day stay in D-Block, the cells for solitary confinement, is where he changed and vowed to lead a life free of crime. If you google him, you can find a bit more about him or buy his book! At the end of the day, we caught up with him sitting on a bench along the Embarcadero and he was gracious enough to let me take his photograph as we chatted a bit about his life now. A conversation I will never forget.