Freed At Last
I am a volunteer at Folsom State Prison, where I taught Franky Carrillo Jr. ’16 (“Freed at Last,” Summer 2015) a Qigong form of exercise and movement called T’ai Chi Chih. I remember meeting him on my first day at the prison in November 2009. He wore a white shirt and white shorts and looked like a tennis pro. He participated in class and then walked my teacher, Judy Tretheway, and me part of the way out. I was puzzled when he stopped at an inner gate, and I turned to Judy and said, “Isn’t Franky coming with us?” She smiled sadly and said, “There’s something different about him, isn’t there? That’s because he’s innocent.” I couldn’t fathom that Franky was there as an inmate. Not that I believe in stereotypes about inmates, because most of those stereotypes are wrong. But with Franky, it was the way he walked, the way he carried himself. He never let the prison own him, in body, mind or spirit. He never got a tattoo. Even after all that time, he never agreed to fulfill the role he’d been assigned. Franky graciously went back to Folsom State Prison this past March to attend the annual banquet of his old T’ai Chi Chih class. Many of his old friends are still in the class, and they were so glad to see him. He stood on the stage in the old Greystone Chapel and spoke to them about his journey as a free man. He spoke of his decision to forgive those who had wronged him and to reach out to his “enemies.” He shared that this has been his chosen path of healing, as a free man. He set such an inspiring example for the men there. And I will never forget when he said, “On the outside, I often introduce myself as a former inmate. I am your face and voice out there. I am working for change, and that is not accomplished with anger and resentment, but by being able to forgive and work with others.” Franky is a model of love and compassion for us all. I am a better person for knowing him, and the world is a better place for his presence here.
El Dorado, California
The Dry Years
Your article on “The Dry Years” was very informative. Much of it I already knew because I have lived in California all my life, and I understand where our water originates. Still, it is good to have current numbers to go with the facts. There is a great deal of misinformation being circulated along with a deep pessimism. The good news is that we will develop the needed water resources. The bad news is that they will cost more. Time to get over it. Demand our leaders take action and move forward.
Charles Donaldson ’64
Regarding “Finite Questions,” by Caitlin Hicks ’74, I was a Jesuit scholastic studying communication arts from 1973–75. Dining in the faculty Jesuit residence at the time, I got to know and appreciate Thomas Higgins, S.J. personally. I even drove with him to Las Vegas and back once on one of his brief sojourns to “refresh” his pastoral skills to the gambling community. He was a Jesuit imbued with the living practice of “seeing God in all persons and things,” which accounted for his tremendous connection with the students at his impromptu booth on the plaza. I did not have the pleasure of knowing Mr. Amalfitano or Mr. Stiver but kudos to Ms. Hicks for her moving tribute to all three. Her article reminds us not to regret the passing of former colleagues and friends but to be thankful that we enjoyed their company, their insights, their love of life, and to take comfort in those memories.
James Fitzpatrick ’76
North Hollywood, California
Meet George Jetson
Thank you for the story about my father, Leonard Malin, “Meet George Jetson” in the summer 2015 issue. It’s a great tribute to him as an engineer and visionary. My brother, Robert, and I would go around on the outside ledge of the house, not running, but rather to wash the windows. This did indeed terrorize our mother. The running around inside the house caused the house to sway as if during an earthquake. That was also disconcerting after the 1971 Sylmar earthquake.
Donald Malin ’78
Grand Junction, Colorado
In “Meet George Jetson” (Summer 2015), the name of Leonard Malin’s second wife is Barbara, not Diane. Leonard Malin’s daughter, Judith Malin, goes by the professional name of Shana Helena. Her first name was misspelled in the original article. We regret the errors.—The Editor