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Rock Sweet Rock: A Children's History of Alcatraz 

Wednesday, Apr 17 2013
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Page 5 of 5

Beginning in the mid '80s, and continuing today, is the unlikely gathering of both ex-prisoners and former guards at an annual reunion every August. Stucker says that in the reunion's heyday in the '90s, 40 or 50 "island people," including half a dozen inmates, would all return to the island together. "That's when the guards and prisoners really started rubbing elbows again," says Stucker.

But two decades on, the reunions have been reduced to a handful of Alcatraz alumni. Stucker gets sad thinking that a rich history is fading so fast.

"The majority of people at the reunions now are the kids who grew up there on the island. And you have to be in your sixties to have any memory at all," he says. "We're down to one last convict. The reunions won't last too much longer, I don't think.

"The average age between convicts and guards was only one year apart," he continues. "They were contemporaries in every sense of the word. No, they're not so much friends, but they became closely connected in later years because they had a common denominator. The camaraderie between former convicts and former officers was remarkable.

"If you can walk up to someone and talk about people and situations they know and you know, they open up," he says. "The information is dying with our group and we're trying to tell every story ... and the convicts are part of that."

About The Author

Katie Tandy

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