Friday 17 December 2010

A cat called Frances. Possibly.

My correspondent on death row has been waiting for ages to be allowed to keep a kitten. Prisoners are allowed to have a cat provided they can pay for its keep, and someone has kindly offered to do that for him. But there's a snag. The powers that be have decided that there are enough cats in the prison and they have said no. However, he has appealed, and is optimistic about the outcome. He wants a female kitten, and he wants to call it after me. I feel ridiculously pleased about this. No-one* has ever named anyone after me before, and a prison cat's pretty special, thoughI have to admit that Frances is a pretty silly name for a cat (its not that great for a human being, either, but I'm stuck with it).

*My daughter thought of calling one of her daughters after me (second name), but didn't want to upset her mother-in-law. Quite right, too.


  1. Smart call by your daughter playing the politics there. And I think Frances is great name for cat. You should feel pleased to have had that kind of impact on him!

  2. How bizarre. America allows people to languish for years waiting to be judicially murdered in conditions of quite appalling psycho-social deprivation and then they allow pet-keeping. Astonishing.

    I admire your writing to a death-row inmate, Frances. Another friend of mine also does this and I am trying to nerve myself to sign on the line but I fear that I would become far too emotionally involved and end up being more hindrance than help. How do you tread the detachment/involvement line?

  3. Thank you, Nevets!

    And Alis, do it! It's very rewarding, and you form a real relationship over time. Of course it's sometimes sad, but mine has a great sense of humour - I love getting his letters - and the way things are going at the moment he will almost certainly outlive me. Two of his friends have just had their sentences commuted to life after THIRTY YEARS on death row. These people often have no-one to visit or write to them, and it means so much. There's also plenty of help if you need it (end of sermon).

    PS You'd be really good!

  4. What an interesting posting!

    Have a great Christmas and a happy New Year, Frances.

    P.S I think it's a great name and lasting gift from your parents.

  5. Thanks, Jamara! Have a lovely Christmas yourself.