I wrote my story sometime on a very dark day in my life in the 80’s – after my release from prison so I could inspire others to have faith and hope and to Look for the Light in their life instead of the Darkness.
- Featured in: Newsweek, New York Times Sunday Edition, World Magazine, Univision, Telemundo, ESPN, NPR, Fox News, NBC New York, Miami Univision Marta Susana Show, Tucson Weekly Cover Feature 2011, Dallas Observer Cover Feature 2005, In Recovery Magazine Feature, Law Enforcement TV, Radio Unica, etc.
- Featured in THE FLOW MAGAZINE FOR THE INTERNATIONAL GLASS ARTISTS, SCIENTISTS, LABORATORIES, UNIVERSITIES, MAJOR CORPORATIONS MEDICAL AND INDUSTRIAL RESEARCH – SEPT 2022.
- Filmed July 2022 for Feature in EVERYTHING IS STORIES PODCAST AND MAJOR DOCUMENTARY BY New York PRODUCER MIKE MARTINEZ FALL 2022 – Film production crew from HOLLYWOOD, CA.
- Featured 2018 in ‘Tucson Salvage’ Internationally Film Festival Award Winning and Acclaimed Documentary and Book.
- University of Law and Criminology / Monterrey, Mexico 2003
- University Tecnologico, Monterrey, NL Mexico 2005
- 4 TIME PRESENTER TO THE UNITED NATIONS Habitat for Global Safer Cities 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006 - IN MONTERREY, NL MEXICO - ALL PRESENTATIONS IN FLUENT SPANISH
- Member Africa Commission on People and Human Rights Observer Status 311, 2007 - Current
- Member United Way of Southern Arizona ‘Art to Entrepreneur Life Skills Societal Re-entry - Hands On Training’ 2009-Current
- Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Arizona.
- State of Texas Governor’s Award 2002,
- US Congressman Charlie Gonzalez recognition,
- 1996 JCPenny Golden Rule Award,
- Nokia Community Award,
- Transition of Prisoners Award “Most Innovative Prison Aftercare Award” 2005,
- La Frontera ‘Golden Flame Award’ for A Patient Giving Back 2010.
- CLIENTS: Procter & Gamble, Permegear Scientific, Ponton Scientific Glass, Summit Research, Gold Leaf Scientific, Rutgers University Glass Repair Lab, University of Houston Glass Lab, University of North Texas, US Tubes, Bob Snodgrass, Robert Mickelsen, Robertson Glass, Tako Glass, Illadelph Gallery, Fuzion Gallery, Roor Germany, Glass Chem South Africa, TJ Glass Mexico, Kobb Glass Canada, LaSalle Scientific Canada, Tropical Glass Canada, Artistry In Glass Canada,
- Del Hendrixson soon to be featured in The Flow Magazine, a global publication for the fine glass industry, museums and universities.
- We are proud to feature art by prisoners still in prison and talented community artists, tattoo and graffiti artists known only to the urban Americana scene.
Know you are not alone in your battles to survive these streets and other life unfairness and battles.
Bajito Onda continues to walk the vision laid out that very dark day to leave behind the prejudice and belief that the prison number I had become….#12605-077 would surely fail.
Only hope and perseverance has paved the way for all our brothers and sisters to stand shoulder to shoulder UNITED in SOLIDARITY and RESPECT!
DEL HENDRIXSON aka BAJITO ONDA - #12605-077
“When you buy our Products – You are part of the solution to believe in others and help the survivors successfully transition out of the darkness”
BY DEL HENDRIXSON, JR AKA #12605-077 FEDERAL PRISON – TUCSON, ARIZONA USA – MY PERSONAL STORY
I was going to end it all - not only my life, but the lives of many innocent persons when I heard God’s voice speak to me from behind my left shoulder about eight feet away in the darkest corner of my printing studio, and in my saddest and worst hour ever.
I served time in Federal prison for a one year of a three-year sentence for making Mexicans instant citizens by counterfeiting of documents to help them cross back and forth to Mexico to see their dying mothers, to enroll their children in schools legally, to work with dignity and to contribute to the country they had come to for equal rights, fair but not rich wages and to perform the jobs Americans would not even do. They built our highways, they worked in dead end food industries so they could serve Americans. I knew it was a crime, but I was badly depressed when my father, my idol in life, Colonel Logan Brooks Hendrixson died in 1980. It was August of 1982 and I had been crying over my father’s death every single day for two years. Well not just that but the fact that my mother and sister stole all my inheritance that my Father left me and they moved to Dallas right under my nose and turned their backs on me so they could spend it all in front of me. It was something I never expected them to do to me – they knew how my Father loved me and I loved him. I badly needed counseling and perhaps medication but nothing existed to help me. Instead I felt that I didn’t care about my future, I was weak and easily influenced to help others even if it was against the law. I flat didn’t care a thing about myself or my future – it had all become a blur. I got arrested by the Feds.
The day I was arrested by the Immigration Department of the Feds I can clearly remember laying there on the floor with dozens of guns pointed at my head, I stupidly tried to count all the agents swarmed in all over me. It all happened so fast. I was actually typing out another birth certificate when they knocked on and then busted down the door. I reached and hid it underneath the typewriter I guess like, ‘oh they’ll never look under here.’ The more they threw everything all over the place and the more they dug, the more they found. I began to think….’what the hell was I thinking anyway? – my whole life fast forwarded in one loud banging on the door. I tried to count them there was so many. I think I counted eight cars outside my business at the time, a paint and body shop, and I counted over 20 agents, all who must have been thinking I was another Al Capone. Once again as I lay there on the floor, I was thinking…’what the fuck was I thinking?... what WAS I doing to cause all of this. I had been sick to my stomach with a bladder infection and had had my pants unbuttoned. They didn’t bother to button up my pants and as they drug me out of my office handcuffed behind my back I remember my pants almost falling off in front of all my business neighbors and onlookers stopping to see what was happening to me, to my business, whatever. It was a sick mess and I was all of a quick sudden the center of all the attention.
I thought it was funny, well not really funny but very strange that it was Immigration was the lead agency that busted me and I was put in the same holding cell that illegal immigrants are put in. I reached into my pocket to see what I had on me and I pulled out even more birth certificates… I remember wadding them up tiny and flushing them down the open cement commode. My pager kept going off over and over because they didn’t take it from me – people were calling me telling me they REALLY had to talk to me about their car or other body shop issues and all I could do was just stare at my pager in disbelief of what was going on that second in my life.
In my short career of making birth certificates for people I remember the guys who told me, ‘Man, don’t even worry about it – if you ever get caught’ we’ll be right here to get you out of the trouble. I felt a bond with them since they were the focus of my problem and my wanting to help them - and also a rejection by my country for doing something for them – that America was not willing to do as it had done for the Irish, the Italians, the Cubans, the Germans, the Jews, the Africans, etc. What was the big deal? We were the melting pot except when it came to the generations of people who had been our brothers and sisters, raising our kids, making our gardens beautiful, feeding us their rich cooking, who built our highways and worked in our fields, raising our cattle, stocking our refrigerators with meat, vegetables, fruit and friendliness. Now all of a sudden it was a horrible crime to help them.
Well my lawyer finally made it to the Federal Building and rescued me from the ‘bad guy – good guy’ team who refused to even let me make a phone call all day long. I had no experience in all of this – but I did know one thing. I was supposed to get to make one phone call – and I never got to make it. All I ever got was bad guy - good guy over and over again. By the time my lawyer did ever show up I was so happy to see him, thinking he could surely make this nightmare go away. We were put into a small room I was sure was being monitored for us to go over what supposedly happened. We both were very surprised because when he opened up his briefcase, right there on top of all his paperwork inside was one of my birth certificates I had made for a client of his. Ooops was the consensus as we both just looked at each other. In one way my lawyer Bill somebody was as guilty as I was. I’d been making them for him for his clients who were trying to report accidents they had been in.
I was finally able to leave the Federal Building with my lawyer only to come have to come back some other day. I went to a friend’s house in East Dallas where I hoped no one was watching me. I just slept for two days exhausted and laid low. My mind raced with all the what if’s in the world. I was just sick not knowing my future. I didn’t even know what would happen to me in the present. I was such a control freak and then the embarrassment of it all hitting my friends and clients in the body shop I had nowhere to hide but prepare to listen to all the comments about it. When I finally went back to my body shop and opened the door – there it was – the mess strewn all over the floor in piles dumped everywhere. It was the same day the notice about my big bust came out in the Metro section of the Dallas Morning News. I could not bring myself ever to read that article. Never. The guy who was my painter came up to the door and screamed at me ‘what’s going to happen to ‘my job?’ I looked at him and said….’your job?’ What about my life? I could see I really was in this alone. And it was just beginning to get lonelier. Soon I started paying attention to strangers coming up to me from the street wanting to know about this and that and they were wearing those shiny reflect back sunglasses even though it was August it made my skin crawl with paranoia. Where did all these people with those reflecting hiding behind them sunglasses come from all of a sudden or was it just my imagination? Were they cops or clients? I tried to settle down and just take it one day at a time.
However, one day I did notice a little truck parked across the street. West Davis was a busy street so it wasn’t all that rare for someone to have parked over there. My paranoia finally kicked into high gear and I ran across the street and up to the passenger side of the little cream colored truck and sure enough! I had caught one! On the guy’s front seat was a huge pistol, a recorder right next to it and the long mic was aimed right at my shop. I told him ‘who are you and what in the hell do you want?’ I was so mad but so helpless. They still were spying on me. He just sat there – didn’t move – didn’t say a thing.
I called Woody and told him about it. I had been arrested on August 4, 1982. When I called Woody he said, ‘uh bad timing – bad news’. He and I had always had such a kindred relationship that no matter what happened to him it happened to me right afterwards and vice versa.
We met up in person. When I had been out of my paint and body shop I had often stayed over at Woody’s apartment for the whole weekend. Parties, swimming, cooking out – hanging out, etc. What I hadn’t realized was that the Feds were also tapping his phone and I had forwarded my phone going right into his apartment. It didn’t help that most of Woody’s wild friends were fairly big time dope dealers. I didn’t do dope so I didn’t really care what other people did. I figured Woody was dabbling in it because people used to call him up asking if he had any golf balls. One time he told me ‘go figure Hendrixson… a golf ball is white and weighs one ounce’. Either that or since we both moved here from Arkansas – he used to call it mom’s homemade apple pie. Yeah right, he was selling slices of apple pie.
Well his Mother’s apple pie and golf ball business had also landed him in the Federal system four days after me. His happened on my Father’s birthday August 8. That was the worse thing for me. It killed me. It killed me, in fact. It was almost like a sign that my beloved Army Colonel Father was standing there in front of us with his very military arms crossed and shaking his head in disgust.
After I got arrested Woody came and got me every day and would always pat me on the shoulder in the car and tell me ‘its gonna be alright Hendrixson’ we’ll get you through this – we always do. He was my security blanket after my Dad died. I believed him. Now this! When he was released from the Federal building on his own case where there was a sting of 35 people arrested on these drug dealing charges I was there to comfort him. Now it was the two of us as always in a mess together. Since he was defendant number 35 on the case he had, his chances did seem more hopeful than me being the only one they would be looking at.
Soon I had to make the appearances into the Federal courtroom. I’ll never forget the judge’s name, Barefoot Sanders… What a Texas name for a Federal Judge. I was traumatized the whole time I was in that building.
Needless to say, with each time I entered the Federal building thereafter I felt worse and worse. There was a snake of a guy who did something called a ‘pre sentencing investigation’ on me. I had never been arrested in my life. I was a good person with depression problems and I obviously had made some very bad choices. Now this. I remember the day when he told me…. ‘you know what you are? Well you are nothing more than a wolf in sheep’s clothing! Wow! I thought, he is so wrong. I am really a nice person and this is not even that big of a deal for him to think this of me. I was still claiming to be ultra-innocent.
I began attending the hearings with these lawyers of mine. Supposedly they knew so and so and were going to do something about all of this to make it go away. At first they said I had like four charges of counterfeiting citizenship documents or something like that. My lawyers said they were going to throw it in their face and tell them that the word counterfeit only referred to money not to documents – I was so proud of them that they had caught that very important loophole. But when we went back to the hearings in the courtroom, after them asking for a dismissal the Feds came back with another story. This time I was charged with 120 fraudulent creations of birth certificates and 555 possess with intent to sell illegal social security cards. And everything carried a potential sentence of 5 years each. Suddenly I no longer had any faith in my lawyers. I was calling Woody from the pay phone in the Federal Building wondering why he wasn’t there with me. He wasn’t worried about it he said, ‘just keep telling them you’re innocent, innocent, innocent’ was his advice. He never went to court with me. I was scared to death. So as I sat there each time there was another hearing I began to notice a pattern of the other people who were further advanced in the process than I was. Every single one of them was found guilty by pleading guilty. Not one had a jury trial because they were told if they wasted the government’s money they could be stuck with their entire charges and multiple sentences. And I then noticed that every single one of them was sentenced to prison. Not one received probation. Seemed that probation was a thing for the state charges but not for Federal.
So sure enough, my lawyers brought me into a room with a big burly ‘pre-sentence investigation guy’ and another guy – I’ll never forget - Mr. Shaw. Mr. Shaw had this little meeting with me and asked me about where I would like to request to be sent ‘if’ I was sentenced to prison.
Of course in my heart of hearts, I just knew I would never be sentenced to prison for something this non violent, just a few bad choices which they surely knew I was sorry for by now and would never do again – ever. This was a huge enough wide awake wake-up call for me.
The day of my sentencing Woody did make it down there. So did miraculously enough my mother who admitted to hating my guts and the friends and family I lived with.
With the potential for hundreds of years in prison they gave me no choice but to say ‘nobody had anything to do with my pleading guilty but I plead guilty anyway’ – the deal they finally offered me to stop the mountainous charges from getting bigger and bigger was for me to shut up and admit I did it. Hell they did catch me red handed so there was no need to tell them ‘I’m innocent’ till they gave me a thousand years in prison. I just wanted it to be over and get on with it. They told me if I pleaded (like all the other fools before me) It would only be for one charge of up to 5 years maximum. It sounded a whole lot better than centuries behind bars they were waiting to throw at me for wasting their time.
I stood up with my lawyers and said the fateful words. “I plead guilty blah blah blah.” The judge seemed bored with the whole repetitive thing and said whatever he said and slammed the gavel down. All I heard was something about three years out of a possible five – it sounded okay. My mother jumped up and screamed out ‘Thank God! three years’ probation!’ - my lawyers turned around and told her. He didn’t say anything about probation ma’am.
He said prison time to be served. Whoa! That was a whole new scenario…. Now it made sense to me – why Mr. Snake in the grass pre sentence investigator and Mr. Shaw had taken me into the little room asking me about where I would ‘like’ to go if found guilty. It was because the whole thing was a pre-arranged set up deal. I was doomed from the start. I just didn’t realize it. Now I was ushered off to Mr. Shaw’s office again – this time feeling like I had just been shot with some deadly disease and had it to bear all alone. Now Woody and my mother and my friend just stood there looking at me with a blank look on their faces. I had really done it this time I felt like saying. And where were all the guys who said if I got caught they were going to save my butt?
I really was sentenced to three years inside prison walls. My best friend and sidekick Woody Yates took me over there. I remembered them making me wait in the entrance lobby sign in area long enough it gave me time to think about backing out the door again to the world I came in from. They had trusted me on my own recognizance to turn myself in. I was nervous of course but had no idea of what lay ahead – not even one second of it. Soon a guard came, she was a small Hispanic woman and she motioned for me to come through the heavy steel door she had another guard open. It rolled open clanking as it went and as fast as it slammed open it began to close. I hugged Woody and I walked into the ‘box between the two doors’. I turned to see a very sad looking Woody just standing there looking at me. I was so taken by the whole experience I didn’t really have any feelings about it. I was just trying to get on with whatever would be the first step towards my release someday not really realizing when that may ever be. I realized I knew nothing about this experience because only someone who was going through it could ever know how it feels. It was like dying or something very lonely and alone in a unique experience that others around me could see me going through it but I was the one who had to go through with it – no turning back.
The prison was a co-ed men and women prison, some were even married couples who had been sentenced together. Even a parole officer and one of his clients was there, the client had gotten the officer hooked on heroin and they both ended up serving time.
Men were on different wings from women but allowed to mix together in different areas and zones. It was a twisted environment of taunting torturous behaviors. I found it as sickening and absurd as enticing and fascinating.
Shortly after my arrival onto the unit I remembered the so-called Christmas ornaments every fifty feet or so hanging from the bleak school like tile paneled ceiling. I thought to myself ‘I guess they even have a sort of Christmas in prison.’ The elevator I came up on let me out close to a center area with a big round low table and chairs around it. Prisoners were welcoming back others who had been gone on a special Christmas furlough. I thought ‘welcoming someone back to prison is not happening, but it was indeed.’
It was December 27, 1982, while sitting in the guard’s office outside the chapel waiting to be processed I heard a guitar playing and a beautiful voice singing. I asked, who is that? The guard turned to me and said, ‘it’s a nun – Sister Marie’. Wow I thought… no wonder I was in prison if they were sending nuns to prison.
All I could think of was to tell the guard who I later found out was also an ex-convict for killing her husband and spent 11 years in prison herself for murder – I told her mistakenly that I was there just to be good, serve my time quietly and get out of there. She laughed in my face and said ‘we’ll see about that now won’t we?’ I knew I should not have let her see my fear of the unknown but thought I would give it a try anyway.
Prison mistake #1.
A few days into this adventure I was standing at the door to the unit stairway down waiting to be let out to go to the chow hall. It was only 4pm but that was when they were fed us so-called dinner. As I stood there a huge guy came running up on me and pushed me up against the wall, saying ‘you better get outta my face!’ The whole unit was on hand I guess to see my reaction, males and females. Nobody came to my rescue, nobody actually even blinked an eye, they just kept on mumbling about mail call after dinner and who had done what at home.
I was calculatedly taken aback and shocked because I had just been standing there minding my own business and he ran up on me out of nowhere. I quick forgot about the 200 or so other inmates standing around thinking what I was going to do about it and all of a sudden I remembered a Gene Wilder Movie where he and another fool got locked up in jail and they bowed up their chest and I did the same thing and direct from the movie line I said ‘HEY! IF YOU FEEL SO DAMNED FROGGY THEN JUMP!”
Just as fast as he had appeared he was gone. I thought wow that was weird, …and I just got here.
I learned to play lots of prison head and physical games, lie, cheat, fight and to fight back, and most importantly I learned how to become respected and left the hell alone…thru fear and emulating the violent psychotic behavior of everyone around me. It was a whole lot better than what I had been going through. But once I mastered it – that violence and striking fear into the hearts of those who may prey on you as well as others… I couldn’t change back to my old innocent self. I learned what we say now how to ‘rock and roll’ prison style and get things your way instead of being a punk. It helped that I was sort of big to begin with.
Prison soon became the place no one really feared being sent to by society because we were already there – we were out of society’s sight and mind. We were the forgotten ones – the ones who society thinks will never return.
In one aspect – we were the ones free from society – just not back in so-called ‘free in society.’ It seemed the guards were actually jealous of us – they just stood there day in and day out in rain, sleet and snow, heat and sunshine dreaming up new ways to torture, demean and harass us. We, on the other hand, did nothing but waste day after day of our lives doing nothing constructive or rehabilitative. I learned how to play the ‘cat and mouse game’ where mirrors and watch outs kept an eye out while we did whatever we could get away with, no matter the consequences. But they also did nothing to protect us – we were literally on our own day and night. Screams of rape and beatings rang out night after night striking fear into our own hearts wondering when it would happen to us. No one stood up for anyone. I learned what real racism really was. It wasn’t just about black or Hispanic it was white, Asian, gay, bullies and others as well and those with long ass sentences just didn't give a rat's ass. No matter what you were it wasn’t good in that place. The men not able to be ‘with’ their wives or crime partners were inmates who caused many of the fights and made life even more of a living hell.
I was told day after day to allow myself to become ‘programmed by prison’. They just weren’t happy till they drove me and everybody in there completely crazy and made us focus on hating everything around us and forgetting any sort of life we ever had on the outside. I began to worry, was I becoming programmed or was I losing my mind in this place. I would go back to my cell and at night I would have nervous breakdowns of weakness and hopelessness, but in the day or around other prisoners I put on a facade of power and control over all things around me.
I, like all convicts thought that the shoes we stepped out of to enter prison would be right where we left them and we would just step back into them when we got out and continue our life as it was when we left it on the shelf. That is where all convicts are sadly mistaken, because prison is just beginning when they return… and sadly it never ends. No employment for ex-convicts – criminal record. No apartment, home purchase, no credit, no car loan, no voting, no family acceptance, people thinking of you as an untrustworthy person, afraid of you, family rejection even moving away when you are locked up so you return to nothing, the only sure thing was the fear of returning to the unknown. Prison becomes a replacement yet functioning society without bills and responsibility. I became just another number stripped of dignity and a relaxed completeness, like my life before when I was innocent. Sorry, but all that was a thing of the past.
After my release I soon realized my other life was over, gone, get over it. I had finally caved in to their ‘programming’ and was now successfully broken at my weakest ever, I had no future and the past seemed like it was miserable, not even worth remembering. My present freed from inside prison walls was black, filled with despair and rage for anyone within a thousand miles of my rejected heart. The only time I could ever feel anything was with pain, sweet pain usually from beating my own self in the face and head often blacking my own eyes, mouth and nose. It was the only time when I was able to cry tears and know I was at least still alive and not totally dead inside. It felt like it was the only time I was in control of my own life and emotions. Without the constant threat of if I did something else I would be sent back to prison. Something else I also wanted to be in control of, not only when but how I went back to prison. The streets of Dallas held only darkness, humiliation and rage for me. Everywhere I turned was more rejection, repeatedly told I would surely go back to prison, it was just a matter of time, they called me a time bomb, while snickering with their backs turned, and the endless feel of free floating hopelessness. I felt no love from any side and I had no real purpose when I said to myself .... There is nowhere now for me where I will ever be accepted.... Except back in prison or in a coffin. I was crying so hard I knew it was my final act in the 'so called ‘free world’ and against society. The same society that had sent me away for helping people who I felt in my heart deserved the right to be treated as humans in our privileged world. That was the same society that never accepted me back - even after I had so-called ‘paid my debt to them’ whoever they were.....
Now all of a sudden it didn’t matter. Now they would all pay. I was in a small shack behind the family’s house where I lived who also rejected me.
I was in the dark and my chest felt like all I had become was a human trash can where in a darkened corner I sat alone while more trash was tossed into me. I never knew a purpose in life. I thought because I was an ex-convict I could fight my way through any battle in life after prison – I had never felt fear and nothing intimidated me – Prison had created exactly what they wanted… I had become known as the fierce ‘Del from Hell’ and I laughed about my reputation as a societal psycho back from prison, smarter than ever before, a product of its cold and furious environment...The only person who would even speak to me, was a sweet neighbor across the street. She was a Mexican lady who always told me she cared about me when the family I lived with would lock me out of the house, nail the windows shut and throw my belongings out into the rain and mud. She knew I went to prison for helping Mexicans because she was there when I was arrested and facing the unknown.
I tried and tried not to believe I was going to commit a mass act but I felt it inside me brewing for a long time – I had lied to her and told her I badly needed a gun to protect myself. I knew as an ex-convict I could not possess a gun plus I had become too crazy to have one but she believed me and brought me an Uzi. In Oak Cliff where I lived drive by shootings are an everyday occurrence. I could see a gun as a key to return to prison and get the hell out of this so-called ‘free world’ once and for all.
I was holding that loaded Uzi close to me – as cold as it was – I felt like it was protecting me from society’s hatred and rejection. It was about to help me get even after all the years of trying to make a painful come back struggle. I don’t even remember the year anymore. I just know it had been about several years after my release.
I was leaning back against a table in the dark building. It was dark because it was the darkroom for the little screen printing business I had started because no one would hire me. I was trying to stop sobbing and crying and wipe away my tears, so I could see to reach for the doorknob and go out into the light with a deadly mission to kill others even if it meant my own dying or being taken back to prison – finally it was going to end. Finally it was going to be over forever. Life in prison, execution or dying. I thought I had no other future – I thought my life was really over.
When I opened my eyes to reach for the doorknob, I noticed a little toothpick size ray of light coming through the wall of the darkroom I was in. I had never seen that light or I would have covered it up. I looked down and the tiny light was shining right into my chest area, into my heart, into my soul. I thought…. ‘a light is coming into my darkness and touching my heart and I’m not a trash can’. I sort of came awake from all the crying and feelings of pain and tho I was still holding the Uzi I stopped when I actually ‘heard a voice coming from the other side and behind me and I thought at first I was really gone over the edge and was insane to be hearing a kind and calming voice….
But I listened and the voice said, “You listened to Man and you ended in Prison, Listen to ME and see where ‘I’ lead you.”
I thought, now that is so weird, especially now at this moment of my worst hopelessness I’d ever known in my life. But I waited to see if there was more...
I heard it again. It was like a Father’s deep voice, strong, wise, compassionate, loving, forgiving, understanding. I know it was God who spoke to me that day. Why had I never heard it before, and why now? My mind was already made up – I had my finger on the trigger of the Uzi and I was ready to lunge out the door as I had countless times before in fits of black rage, running away from whatever it was that haunted my mind at the time.
As he continued speaking I listened that much more, all the while I never for one moment believed I didn’t have a sane bone in my body. I already had battled sanity vs insanity and insanity had easily always won out. I just was afraid to tell anyone. I kept it inside me until pain could release some of it. The real and only thing that kept me going was my printing. It was always a challenge. And I made money in doing something that I continued trying to conquer day by day. Most days it kicked my ass, but at the end of the day I was worn out and I felt good and productive. People of all walks really liked my printing work. I felt good when they did. Proud of myself. Printing had become my comfort zone therapy and it paid the bills. But today was different. I didn’t care anymore – it was a deeper sinking feeling of just giving up than when I was arrested.
The voice told me, ‘I need someone like you to relate to others like you… broken, hopeless, without purpose, psychotic, lost, numb from pain of suffering failure and rejection – to go and prevent young people from going down the same path you have just crawled back up from.’ He said, ‘young people have no life experience or the wisdom to make good choices in their lives’. I thought, ‘oh no’ I can’t stand kids’. But I continued to listen. He said, ‘you need a family, you need love, you need acceptance in your own life that you have waited years for from your own flesh and blood family – so if you go to the lost, and open your heart and your mind to them, you will find those things and much more - and it will become a sort of therapy for you to begin to be whole as never before.’
He said, ‘I’m going to take away all your worldly possessions, but I will replace them with others’. He said, I want you to begin to work on what is like a puzzle with a thousand pieces, but you must build each piece one by one without knowing what the puzzle looks like – you must build it on faith alone.’
I thought, ‘I know now I have gone over the psychotic edge for sure’ – but I kept listening. I had thought I was strong enough to never pray to God, never go to church, and never ask for help. Now I was hearing what made the most sense to me in my whole entire life. I kept listening…
He said, ‘once you have built many pieces of the puzzle, they will begin to fit together and the lines between them will disappear so you will begin to see the picture. I thought – A THOUSAND PIECES?! – there was no way I was going to do a thousand of anything. I was too busy – even if I did lay down the gun and take this ‘challenge’ on. Now was the time to make a choice between heaven and hell.
But I have to admit it sounded wonderful for the first time in my life. He said for me to think of prison as a bridge from my old life to a new one. He said, continuing, “when you have built all the pieces to the puzzle all the lines will disappear and show you the entire picture – at that time, is when life will be breathed into it and it will begin to move on its own and at that time it will carry you with it.” He also said that if I could be the marketing strength for huge corporations who hired me to do their graphics and promotions I could do it to prevent others from going to prison.
I thought to myself, and if I did do this I would also be keeping a victim or victims from harm so it would be a double salvation. But why me? Why such a horrible person like me – that is why I thought for surely I was not worthy of hearing God speak to me – I was the worst person I knew – I did not even love myself and neither did my own family – how then could God love me? I did believe at the time that if there ever was a hopeless, violent person chosen for working with others like me – I would be great for the task at hand. I certainly knew the deep and dark side all far too well.
It was then I took my hand off the doorknob, and I laid down the Uzi – I decided then in my heart that the words I was hearing was truly that of God speaking to a sinner loser like me.
I remember the day I was ‘told by the voice to go before the Dallas City Council’ and let them know of my wonderful work reaching out to young people. I was so embarrassed that I had registered to speak and for only three minutes. There was a kid who had become a boxer and he was also a rapper. He kind of drifted to me and I had bonded with him. He had a tragic story of how he had been shot by a rival gang and was in a coma for nine days. His family was told there was nothing could be done and they gathered to disconnect his life support and face the horrors of losing their only son to senseless violence. His mother held his hand and reached to unplug him and at that exact moment he miraculously opened his eyes and groggily spoke to them. He told me he wanted to help others, like him, change their lives before they were unplugged and perhaps didn’t ever open their eyes again. All I took with me to that Dallas City Council public meeting was a recording of the song we made together, me as ‘a sort of do what it took, producer’ and he was recorded in a friend of mine’s studio. He who sang about how Bajito Onda had given him hope and had helped him stop selling drugs and being with gangs, and how others should follow in his steps in what he referred to as 'Peace Side'.
I remember how shocked their faces were that I had done something so seemingly ignorant and out of place I began to cry. I could not even speak my entire three minutes because I cried the entire time – knowing that what I had done was so ridiculous yet I felt God needed to send them a new type of message from the kids dying in the streets and I was his only messenger trying to serve my calling, that I didn’t know any better and I was on a mission. They listened indeed to the song and went ahead and granted me another three minutes and they even applauded me for my boldness for standing up for youth. I was so relieved it was over I practically ran out of there and spent the next many years working in private with kids and others on probation, parole and even created programs called ‘Prisoners for Progress’ by returning into prisons to reach and teach lives behind the walls. Whatever I had I gave it back to those forgotten as I had been, behind the walls of hopelessness.
This work in serving only God, my friends has fully replaced the so-called family that abandoned me when I was in prison, like hundreds of thousands of others just like me. Nothing will ever come between my God-given Family of Bajito Onda. My violence has been replaced with peace. My worldly wants and needs have been replaced with being thankful for progress and yes personal things, travel to far away lands. My less than liking for youth has been replaced with love and passion for others to listen to their young voices.
My belief that prison only happened to someone else but could never happen to me led me straight into the cells of hell.
If you will only ask yourself. WHO ARE YOU SERVING? IS IT YOUR FAMILY? IS IT YOUR FRIENDS? IS IT PERHAPS YOURSELF? OR IS GOD?If you ‘worry’ about heaven or hell, if you worry about trying to control and conquer your life and all the obstacles in it – then perhaps you are not putting Spiritual first in your life. You could be doing what I was doing…. ‘listening to man – and can most probably lead you out of God’s path and the light of His love and Grace.’
Although my mother RIP and sister RIP never accepted me into their blood family again – I used to I languish horribly over it, now I have moved on and made a new family that doesn’t reject me, hurt me and belittle me - I could not be happier, I could not feel more loved, If I just stay focused on all Bajito Onda Many Ministries of global works and peace in prisons and communities, I will receive far more than I will give, because without Peace and God in my life and in the lives of the entire Bajito Onda Family we would not have all the many blessings we have received. When you walk away from man, you will find God. When God speaks and you listen, God will listen to you.
I leave you now, and I tell you that I have about put the thousand pieces of the puzzle together. It has taken me about fifteen years or maybe even more. I’ve lost count. But so many miracles have happened in my life I have seen lives I never believed would ever stop selling drugs or being lost and violent animals turn into warriors for peace. I have been inside prison with men serving eight hundred years – sixteen life sentences – tell me that Bajito Onda is their family and they have hope and love in their hearts because I took the calling that deadly day in my life. They wish they had done the same but they did not hear God speak to them or until it was too late.
I have since been led by Him to Africa to help the beggar children of Senegal by forming Bajito Onda Africa Foundation of Senegal. I have registered the Trademark of Bajito Onda and then travelled to London to launch the Bajito Onda Prison Art Fashion licensed trademarked brand wear at the International Brand Licensing Expo. I have travelled to work with the priests of the prison ministry of Brazil. I’ve spoken to over 30 Major Universities, Corrections Conferences as well as over 30 prisons and juvenile facilities of all levels around the world,
And I have worked with the Government and Law Enforcement Gang Prevention / Youth Violence Prevention, Global Crime Prevention of Mexico to speak to the United Nations 4 Times about my work with migrants and the oppressed lives in society, and today Bajito Onda Community Development Foundation aka Bajito Onda Street and Teaching Ministry is located in Tucson, Arizona since 2009. Here I teach persons on parole or probation, wounded warriors, veterans, homeless, victims of life violence, Native Americans from the Reservations, lives in recovery, sufferers of PTSD, such as myself, and others desiring to learn screen printing and glass working skills hands on, with no prior formal education or experience. We have affected the lives of over 10,000 persons on the fringes of society with our creative art to entrepreneur programs that uplink them into corporate or other desired positions or even having their own businesses.
It is never too late my friend to support justice and societal integration,
Thank you for your time in reading this message. I wrote it from the heart.
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I and members around the world of Bajito Onda Wish You Many humble blessings,
Del Hendrixson Jr / Global Founder and Spanish / Portuguese & English Hands-on Learning Program Developer
TUCSON, AZ, 85733 USA