Convicts I have Known

Hello Dear Readers!  Today, I thought it might be fun to talk about convicts I have known. 

When I was 19, I was a waitress in the coffee shop of the Marcus Whitman Hotel in Walla Walla Washington.  For those of you unfamiliar with Walla Walla — besides hearing it referred to as the town they liked so well they named it twice, Walla Walla is also home to the Washington State Penitentiary.

The Walla Walla State Pen
(P.S. I got such a kick out of stealing this picture!)

In the early seventies, somebody (probably one of the “Screws”) said, “I know! Let’s take hardened criminals who have made a few tiny mistakes in their lives like perhaps pillaging, raping and murdering and let them out everyday to go to work as cooks at the Marcus Whitman Hotel!”

The Marcus Whitman Hotel — it’s not really this tall, the photographer must have been lying flat on his back when he took this picture.

And so that’s what they did and that’s how I got to know a few of our nations finest criminals.


George was a sweet little man, polite, personable and quiet. All the waitresses really liked George.  One day somebody got up the nerve to ask George why he was in prison.  Turns out retiring, polite, little George had murdered his wife with a butcher knife.  But not to worry there were extenuating circumstances.

It seems George had been a cook in the army for 20 years where he had developed a horrendous drinking problem.  One morning after a night of heavy drinking, he woke up to find he had stabbed his wife to death and he didn’t remember a thing.  He said he had no idea why he did it — because he didn’t remember having any problem with his wife.

Nine out of ten Washington State Convicts prefer butcher knives for all their murdering needs!”

Unfortunately, George eventually discovered that the Marcus Whitman Hotel Bar was 20o feet away from the kitchen.  One day George went into the bar and squirted the nozzle of whiskey directly into his mouth for a really, really long time.  We didn’t see George anymore after that. On a bright side, he didn’t use any of the kitchen knives to stab anybody.


Pineapple was a big tall guy with a crazy look in his eye who could barely string  two words together.  I don’t know why they called him Pineapple.  Maybe he was from Hawaii, or maybe it was because he had the IQ of a pineapple either way, one day he got a toothache while he was working in the kitchen, and so he decided the best course of action would be to extract his own tooth with a butcher knife.  We never saw Pineapple again after that.

Nine out of ten Washington State Convicts prefer butcher knives for all their tooth extraction needs!


Billy was a smooth talker who got “sent up” for possession of pot or so he liked to tell everyone.  And the pot wasn’t even his, he was just holding it for a friend.  Billy was like the smart prison guy in movies who was the mastermind behind the scenes and who got the likes of Pineapple to implement his schemes.

One day Billy talked one of the waitresses, Robin, into driving him to the airport after his shift.  The authorities were waiting for him when he got off the plane in the next town, and we never saw Billy again.

“No of course the prison won’t mind if you take me to the airport! Trust me Robin!”

Robin said the authorities came to talk to her but she didn’t get in any trouble for helping Billy escape.  Probably because they could see that in a game of Jeopardy between Pineapple and  Robin, Pineapple’s IQ would have won hands down.

Then there was the guy who got drunk, put on a Cher wig and wandered around the coffee shop incoherently until the police finally came and took him away.  Oh, but that wasn’t a convict, that was the hotel manager.  (But that’s another story for another day.)

The Manager of the Marcus Whitman Hotel

Until next time . . . I love you

20 thoughts on “Convicts I have Known

    • Maybe if you brought a butcher knife to work and gave yourself a root canal they would let you out . . .uh . . . I mean off for a couple days . . . or maybe they would just let you go . . . It’s kind of a risk, I suppose.

  1. I enjoyed this! I am reading a book that talks about how in the 1970s it was very popular to give convicts scholarships and jobs to help rehabilitate them. YIKES!

    In something somewhat related, Scott Peterson interned in my dad’s office here in SLO in the 1990s. He told my dad that more than anything in the world, he just wanted to be famous.

    • What a coincidence that you were just reading about that, Erin. I don’t think they had very good results with the program. At least judging from what I saw of it! 😀

      That’s chilling that Scott Peterson interned for you dad and even more chilling that he said he just wanted to be famous! I heard that he might have he might have been responsible for killing a girl who went missing when he was in SLO. Did you ever meet him? I heard that you would never guess in a million years just talking to him that he was so evil.

  2. These are hilarious mom! I am amazed that Robin drove that convict to the airport and that the police could see she wasn’t the sharpest butcher knife in the box. I think you should add the story about the convict who threw the butcher knife AT you. Apparently convicts love their butcher knives.

    • Uh . . .well . . . uh I think you might have heard that story wrong. It was actually just a regular cook who threw a spindle at me. But I did got to the police department (next door) and five policeman came and talked to him. Apparently he had been in a lot of trouble with the law and was not in prison (yet). 😀

  3. Oh man. Do these things REALLY happen in Walla Walla Washington, or are you just making this stuff up? Either way, I’m pretty happy about it. And you know, the Walla Walla library has a pretty darn great selection of music CDs available for checkout. 🙂

    • Unfortunately Sillyliss this is a true story! Walla Walla was a pretty dull town even with the prison to occasionally spice things up a bit! HA! Do you live in Walla Walla?

      • Nope. I lived in La Grande, Oregon, for about 9 months while we tried out Pacific Northwest living. Now we’re back in Fargo, North Dakota. 🙂 But I did like the Walla Walla library and would have lived in WWW if someone there would have hired me. 🙂

        • I haven’t been back to Walla Walla for years, but I hear it’s all trendy and cool now! It was so pretty there in the 70’s. And I hear you about the job thing . . that’s really the only reason we left –no jobs. Sounds like it’s still that way. Was there too much rain for you in the Pacific Northwest? It’s gotta be warmer than Fargo. Still it’s cool to live in Fargo. I loved the movie too! 😀

  4. You and I must be on the same wave length, I was thinking about doing a post on serial killers/ criminals. You have a unique angle here! Haha! Each story is better than the next. The manager wearing the Cher wig, LOL!!!!
    I used to work in a state psychiatric facility that was a lot like the Marcus Whitman Hotel! Haha!

    • Really Lisa? Isn’t that amazing! We are definitely on the same wave length alright!

      Both of my brothers still live in Walla Walla and now I know what I’m giving them for Christmas. T-shirts that say: “I used to work in a state psychiatric facility that was a lot like the Marcus Whitman Hotel!” Hahaha! Maybe I could even get them sold in the gift shop! LOL!! I can’t wait to read your post about the “facility” you worked in! 😀

  5. My roommates in College were from Walla Walla! I wonder if they knew Pineapple?
    I never thought about posting on my state psychiatric experience! Oh, that’s a great idea! The humor is already built in!

    • Really? They probably heard all about it! Walla Walla is pretty small. That’s a coincidence though. Yes you simply must post about your psychiatric experiences! Oh I get you’ve got some really good stories!

  6. It looks to me like Pineapple also used his butcher knife to style the hotel manager’s hair… : )

    One of your most artfully constructed posts, because the final gag somehow managed to eclipse all the devastating humor that went before it.

    And that is saying something.

    Which probably explains why my stomach hurts so much. : )

    • Haha! Mark! So glad you enjoyed it and that I got to put those strange experiences to good use! 😀

      And you’re right Pineapple probably did cut the managers hair! Ha! I bet he was a man of many talents (although we probably wouldn’t want to know what they are!) And that goes for the manager too! LOL!

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