i heart learning

i heart learning

Sunday, July 03, 2011

alcatraz alumni

Did you know that Alcatraz has an alumni reunion every year for both the prison guards and former convicts?

Neither did I until I watched a documentary about it today.
Does this seem like a little out-to-lunch concept to anyone else but me?

What makes the organizers of this event think that the former inmates wanna mingle, share cocktails and rehash the good ol' days with the guards who wanted to kill them, and visa versa who they wanted to shank with their toothbrushes?

I didn't even want to go to my high school reunion, so i can't imagine these rough and tough prisoners wanting to play tourist where they were incarcerated. These are not the faces of men to celebrate their shame in getting caught and living in a cell for years...and rub shoulders with the men who ensured they stayed there.

Number 14124 above is certainly not going to be showing up with a with flowers and a smile...maybe with a razor - seeing as he didn't get to use one in alcatraz.

My Dad and Nelson both wear a hat similar to Number 15595 when they are on vacation. You can tell by his stink eye that he'd rather go back to prison as a criminal than go back to visit one for a reunion.

Hats seem to have been a popular accessory for mug shots in the 50's - Whitey Bulger's got himself a fancy one too. Maybe now that he was caught a couple of weeks ago he can make it to this years reunion?

He can have tea with Scarface's smugly smiling ghost....and his pet ghost revolver / signature ghost baseball bat.

But some live ex-prisoners do attend - as the documentary shows. Who knows why - maybe to bask in the glory and cult status they seem to have achieved. It is funny that one of the most evil places on earth has been turned into an attraction seen by thousands each year.

I must confess - there is some sort of allure to the place. I may not have gone to my high school reunion, but visiting an alumni gathering at Alcatraz may have just landed itself a spot on my bucket list.

This August, the island prison is celebrating its 77th anniversary as a federal prison.

1 comment:

  1. Back a few years, I was in San Francisco and just missed the last tour of Alcatraz for that day. Took another tour that circled the island and then went under the Golden Gate Bridge. The island itself was rather spooky, and I thought of all the violence and brutality that had been perpetrated there. On second thought, maybe it is a good thing that I missed the last tour....