Chuck Berry 1962

The Medicial Center

From: Chuck Berry - The Autobiography

Harmony Books (1987)

by Chuck Berry

"When the morning of February 19, 1962, came I took a taxi to the Federal Building in St. Louis. I was fingerprinted, photographed, weighed, wished well, and woed for autographs. Handcuffed from behind in a sedan, I was chauffeured 210 miles to the Federal Penal Institution near Terre Haute, Indiana, by the marshal and a driver. They stopped at a roadside coffe shop, inviting me also, but I chose a cup to go, which they settled forsince they couldn't leave me waiting alone outside the truck stop. When we arrived at the maximum-security institution, it seemed some of the guards and most of the inmates were expecting me and were lined in the corridors, some peeping from behind secured areas but greeting me a welcome. After a half day of paper processing and medicial examination I was settled in a typical jail cell which I thought was to be my home for three years.

On April 22 a federal prison transport bus rode a bunch of us back through St. Louis, to Leawenworth Federal Prison in Kansas. The bus route was via Interstate 70 through Wentzville, Missouri, passing Within four miles of Berry Park, where in my office Francine was no doubt my letters.

The long-timer prisoners at Leavenworth immediately persauded me to do a performance. They knew my stay there would be short since I had requested the federal prison in Missouri and would be headed there soon. Rock was a dirty word around there, due to the stone walls separating the prisoners from the free world and the punishment of working in the quarry, but the concert was billed as the "Leavenworth Rock Festival", and the essembly hall was jam-packed with everyone there in identical dress.

The experience was worth the two-weak whistle-stop, while awaitingt the scheduled north-to-south prison bus to pick up any immates being moved southward. The 730-mile trip finally terminated 225 miles southwest of St. Louis in the Federal Medical Center at Springfield Missouri.

It was spring 1962; I was 35 years old, really set back, out of contact, feeling more black but still intact, and determined to make the best of it. But as I lived, I learned that "Nothing Remains the Same", things allways change, and that every action causes a reaction. I could allways know that something, be it good or bad, would replace what may not be presently desired. So It would only be a matter of time for the different state of of existence to be".