Darrington To Jester 3 To Allred To Jordan To Roach Units & Points Between…
For over a year now my clients have waited for restrictions to be lifted by TDCJ in order to marry. This past year one of my brides succumbed to cancer before ever seeing her husband during the lockdown one last time. Carmela left behind 5 children. The fundraisers for their graduation were a success but her loss remains significant. I still can’t believe she’s gone.
For months now and in the midst of the prison wedding planning process, my Darrington bride and I have been looking forward to finally getting her married. Her fiancée chained to Jester 3 where I will meet her next Tuesday. Kim and I have talked everyday and she was so excited to finally get a date that after sending me several texts while I was in Dallas parked at a Starbucks with an Ellis Unit bride explaining how to appeal her visitation revocation, finally just called me.
Yesterday after leaving Greenbay Unit I met another client at the Tarrant County Clerks Office to walk her through obtaining her marriage license between my exhausting schedule of clients, visiting Virginia at Harris Hospital as her condition continues to decline and emptying her condo where she has lived for so many years filled with treasures. Virginia was a shopper but also loved the many treasures I brought back from my travels including many oriental art pieces and a massive jewelry collection. This mother figure that I wasn’t born with was found later in life. My trusted secretary and so much more is declining rapidly. Today she didn’t recognize me. My heart broke as she continued to ask “where is Wendy?” I answered “I’m here.”
Five families have been helped with Virginia’s home furnishings and furniture. Three women returning to work will be wearing her clothes.
It was what she would have wanted and instructed me “to help anyone you can with what I’ve spent 92 years collecting over my lifetime. It’s been emotionally draining each and every time I’ve walked into the condo. I remember it as it was and it’s difficult to see it as it is. Empty. Without her many many treasures.
I’m on the road through many of the coming months, weeks and days in State, Federal and ICE Detention Centers and have not documented my travels due to a broken heart facing the end with Virginia. A number of my clients didn’t have wedding rings and I reached out to find that several wore her size and will treasure her jewelry as she did. A number of art and antique items will be auctioned to benefit Belltower Chapel as well as the Women’s Haven.
My twin Grandnieces will be running the office this summer while out of school and my daughter in law is pregnant with my second grandchild. I think this is too soon as young Oliver isn’t yet 14 months old but Cindy and I will pitch in and take Oliver on our travels as we did the twins when they were young and little Maddy who happily reminds Cindy and I daily “I’m a big girl now. Oliver is the baby.”
I’ve not taken on any new traditional bookings in over a year and have no plans to do so unless you are a referral for two reasons. First, my client load had an accordion effect due to Covid and secondly because prison weddings have taken over nearly 90% of all bookings for years now.
The relationship I share with clients marrying an inmate is far more intimate.
Federal Client updates- masks are no longer required once we are through the shake down. Please write down your license plate number. Contact ceremonies are back in place.
TDCJ Clients- please arrive early to self test. You must wear a mask and follow non contact visitation. I have no idea when contact will be reinstated.
Since I was going to be at the Dallas County Jail with other clients, I decided to meet with an Ellis Unit inquiry who was removed from visitation and guide her through the appeal process. You MUST be an approved visitor to marry within TDCJ. I and no one in my staff is a visitor. We have an Approved status that isn’t a visitor status so please do not add myself or anyone on my staff to the visitation list. Doing so involves a long explanation as to why myself or any other Approved Officiant on my staff is listed as a visitor to Access to Court’s.
My phone never stopped ringing during this meeting in the Starbucks parking lot. I spent about an hour going over the process of the appeal.
If you are removed from TDCJ visitation, here is what you need to know:
Individuals who have been removed from an inmate’s Visitors List can submit a written appeal to the Director’s Review Committee (DRC), P.O. Box 99, Huntsville, TX 77342. The appeal must be submitted within 14 days of the date on the written notice of removal from the unit.