Fortunately, I was able to spend Mondays and Tuesdays since the beginning of February working at Rosie's, which allowed me to buy yarn vicariously by selling it to others. (Win-win.) Though I wasn't making very much money, it was helping out - as it was better than nothing, and it made me get out of the house and participate in the world.
Alas, dear reader, that job is now also ended, as my life has taken another unusual turn. This morning began my first day in prison. Actually, not in prison, but in the penitentiary.
Eastern State Penitentiary, that is!
Today, Friday the 13th, I started my training to be a tour guide at the Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, here in Philadelphia. I will be working there full-time during the "season" which runs from April through November. The site is a National Historic Landmark, and rather than being all spanking-new-renovated, it's a ruin.
Eastern State is an imporant part of history, because it was at the time of its opening in 1829, considered to be a radical place. Because it was a "Penitent"-iary, the idea was that those who spent time there would do their penance, and be rehabilitated into society as contributing and upstanding citizens. It remained open until 1971, and was not designated a historic site until 1994.
Our basic introduction today included a chance for us to have a tour like those we will be giving. At one point, when we were in the central area, our guide was talking about how Eastern State's radial construction (like spokes on a wheel with a center spot) became a model for other prisons, and he said, "It was similar to the design of the panopticon." At which point, I thought, "Franklin?" and then realized he meant "the panopticon," not The Panopticon ...
In any event, I consider this to be a lucky Friday the 13th for me. I have a full-time (albeit temporary) job, and unlike the penitentiary's former residents, I get to go home at the end of the day!