Went to Prison, Spoke With Some Teachers All In the Same Week

Not too many people think of spending their anniversary at the local prison, but that’s exactly what my husband and I did. No, we didn’t get arrested (though that would probably make for a more interesting blog). We went to the Eastern State Penitentiary, now a historical landmark but formerly a maximum-security prison that was fully operational until the 1970s. Romantic, right?

What can I say? We’re fans of the macabre. We visit Paris and go to the catacombs, travel to Prague and see the church made out of black plague bones, and spend our anniversaries at 19th century prisons. And it was really cool.

We got to see Al Capone’s cell, which was decorated like a luxury hotel. We saw some old escape routes and tunnels. And we got to visit the original solitary cells, where in the early days prisoners were kept completely isolated. They ate, slept and exercised alone in their cell without communication of any form, ever—for years! That’s my version of hell. I don’t think I would’ve lasted a day. Charles Dickens even agrees with me. After visiting Eastern State in 1842, he wrote that, “the System is rigid, strict and hopeless solitary confinement, and I believe it, in its effects, to be cruel and wrong.” I think me and Charlie would’ve gotten along well.

If you haven’t visited Eastern State, which is smack dab in the middle of Philadelphia (near the Art Museum), ‘tis the season to check it out. They have one of the coolest haunted houses in the country going on right now, Terror Behind the Walls. It takes place in an entire wing of the prison, lasts 40 minutes and it’s completely awesome. This is mostly because of the built-in creep factor. Let’s face it, if Eastern State isn’t haunted, then no place is.


And after my spooky stint at the local, historical prison, I spent Saturday at Barnes & Noble in Rittenhouse Square doing a panel discussion for some of Philadelphia’s fabulous public school teachers. It was wonderful that these hard-working teachers showed up on their day off to talk about books.

And it was great meeting children’s book authors Gene Barretta (Jack the Tripper) and Judith Kristen (Henley the Old English Sheepdog). Their books are fabulous and I picked them up for my niece and nephews—check them out!

And don’t forget to enter this week’s installment of the Amigas and School Scandals October Extravaganza for your chance to win an ARC of Amigas and School Scandals! This week’s Question of the Week is…

In my Amigas and School Scandals flipbook, it says that Mariana has “auditions” coming up. What are the auditions for?

E-Mail me your answers via MySpace or my Contact Me form for your chance to win! And if you post a link to my Flipbook on your site or blog, you’ll be entered to win the Grand Prize in November! So send me those links! Good luck!

POP-CULTURE RANT: My Own Worst Enemy

Besides having one of the most clichéd names in television, the show is rather interesting. I’m all for complex plot lines (I’m still following Lost and I loved Alias), but I hate the fact that I missed the pilot and I’m already having trouble following the story. I didn’t really expect to be lost by picking up a new show with episode two. How the two personalities came to be is still beyond me, and I don’t get why some coworkers are helping him and others not. Though I do think it’s funny that when his “other” personality sleeps with his wife, he feels like she’s having an affair. Hehe. Also, I think Christian Slater has one of the coolest voices ever, so I plan to give the show a fighting chance just to listen to him speak.

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One comment on “Went to Prison, Spoke With Some Teachers All In the Same Week
  1. TruBlu93 says:

    I would not be able to visit a jail/prison, especially one like Al Capone. It would scared me really badly. The closest I’ve ever gotten to a prison was read I read Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko and when I watch Prison Break. hehe. Sounds like you had fun though. Happy [belated] anniversary.


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