Friday, June 24, 2011

Guilt By Association: Part 2

for Part 1 click here

This really IS the front of "The Mansion", creepy as all get out, eh?

I had no choice but to follow the group of girls as we headed across the front field of the school. One of them tried to grab my hand and I shook it off with a look that could have turned her to stone had my eyes not been so heavily clouded with impending tears.

"I have your 'buddy', and the dorm is 'hand held', you have to take my hand" she told me.

"The fuck I do."

 "That'll cost a dollar."

 "Fuck you"

"That's another dollar... KELLY!! I can't stop her from saying the f-word, will I still be charged because I have her buddy?"

Kelly, the DP,  wandered over to me and said "Look, you are not allowed to say the F-word, every time you do, you get charged a dollar.  When a student arrives at school they are buddied. That means someone is with you, at all times, within arms reach until you are un-buddied. Everything that you do, against the rules, is on them. New Girls, the dorm you are in, is currently farmed. We have no contact with the rest of the campus for now. Ok?

"Uh, no. Not okay."

Giggles escaped from the other girls.

"Look, we won't be farmed for much longer, as long as no one screws shit up" said one of the girls while pulling on her bangs as she spoke. She then told the DP, Kelly, that she would take my buddy, and grabbed my hand. I allowed it. There was something about the girl I trusted. Later I would find out that her habit of pulling on her bangs was due to an odd obsession with having them be stick straight. The rest of her hair was in perfect brunette corkscrew curls that hung just past her shoulders... but her bangs? Pin straight. Meh. It was the 80's, we all did REALLY stupid things with our hair. Who was I to judge?

My new buddy turned to me as we walked and introduced herself as "Amy, but that's A. I. M. E. E." She went on to tell me the names of everyone else in the dorm, but at that point I really didn't care. All that I cared about was how I was going to get out of there.

Once we made it to the edge of the campus, my feet on the paved road that could take me out of there... I had no idea if I should go left or right. I didn't even know where I was, or even what State I was in for that matter. In retrospect, yes, I could have taken off running ... but Aimee was still holding my hand, and the DP, Kelly, had taken my other one. In fact ALL the girls were holding each others hands as we collectively crossed the street. Man, "Officer Friendly" would have been pleased as punch to witness that sort of caution while crossing a street.

(photo via my friend Mark, I blurred out Max's face for privacy)
Turned out that the dorm, New Girls, had been placed off the campus, while farmed, in an old house known as Lichtenstein. I still, to this day, have no idea why it was called that. (To be honest, I really don't care.) After we went inside, all the girls took off their shoes; this was something that happened all over the campus. Other than the dining hall, the gym, and the school building, shoes HAD to come off. If they were worn into a dorm, even accidentally, it was known as a turn in. In fact anything anyone did against the rules was a turn in. PLUS, if you knew someone had a turn in, and they didn't turn it in themselves, then YOU had a turn in. If they turn themselves in and turn in the fact that you knew about it... then you have a turn in. Moreover, if you don't turn someone in for having turn ins, which means that you then have turn ins, and they don't turn themselves or you in ... well.. THAT is what let you know who your truest friends were after a while. It's was a messed up way to try to teach people how to hold themselves accountable for their actions. What it really ended up doing was teaching most of us how to hold onto secrets, as well as resentments.

Kelly & Joanna (who at that time was the assistant DP) took me into the living room, they called it "the lobby." I was told to sit on the floor while they emptied my purse in front of me. Any and all make up I had in my bag was taken away, the pack of pills (birth control- what? Like it's that shocking for a 16 yr old to be on them?) was taken away. The pack of gum? Taken. My wallet was opened, and everything was taken out of it, including my drivers license and money, as little as there was. I had 2 cassette tapes as well; Metallica "And Justice For All", & Black Sabbath "Paranoid"... both taken. We weren't allowed to have music. (?!?!?!?!?!!!!!!)

Next up was the duffel bag that my parents left me with. I had no idea what was in there, but soon found out that all the clothes were mostly things I had never seen before, and the tags were still attached. Kelly & Joanna dug through my belongings, confiscating things left and right. I just sat there, pretty much in shock that this was happening. In my head though ... I was planning my escape. I was watching every move they made, trying to figure out where my drivers license was being placed, my money, my make up... the things I'd want once I took off.

Eventually I was taken out of the living room by Aimee. She walked me towards the back of the house where I could hear drums being played, loudly. I peeked in a small window in the door and saw 4 guys in there. I was told we weren't allowed to speak to them, being farmed and all. I also found out that it was the school's band, and this is where they practiced. They went by the name "Misguided Youth", but the other girls said the band was trying to change the name since a bunch of the original members had left school. I offered the suggestion of "Unlucky Fucks"... and was reminded, yet again... that would cost a dollar.

Dinner arrived via two of the girls in the dorm, they had gone up to the dining hall to pick up the food. Each of us took one of the styrofoam containers, sat on the floor in the lobby, and opened them up. I think I ate once over the following two days, purely out of starvation, but to be honest, the styrofoam containers that our food arrived in would have been tastier, and probably more nutritious.

(NOT me, but it could have been...)
My next day, a FULL day in hell, was a crash course in what to expect. Non-stop dorm meetings where people dealt with whatever bullshit drama they felt the need to talk about and lots of petty nit picking. I was not allowed to wear the clothes I had worn the day before, and instead had to rummage through the bag of new clothes that were left with me at school. I'm sure telling you I had a duffel bag full of new clothes sounds fantastic, but let's put this in perspective for a moment: it was 1988... & MY MOTHER (who used to be REALLY conservative) picked out these clothes.Throw in the fact that there was a dress code (more on that later) we all had to follow at school, and... well... it's no wonder that to this day I despise being told what to wear, how to wear something, or any pants other than jeans.
oh yeah, if you lived through the 80's you TOTALLY remember Merry Go Round & their craptastic clothes.

By the time New Girls was allowed back on campus, and after we had moved our measly possessions to our dorm, known as "South", we were able to join the rest of the campus in the dining room for dinner.
 I actually remember what was served that night, as I sat in the far back corner with my back to the entire room. Deep fried popcorn shrimp. I almost puked at the smell of it, I never liked seafood and to this day I still won't touch it. I existed on some slimy string beans that evening, and a glass of milk. At the end of the meal there were "announcements" and one of them was that it was a person's birthday. The entire campus sang a pathetic "Happy Birthday to youuuuu" song, and got a sugar rush from the nasty Sysco® ice cream cake that was sliced up and served to all who wanted some. (It had chocolate in it, I declined.)Shortly after, the guy whose birthday it was ran away from school, and never came back. Can't really blame him, it was his 18th, he was a legal adult. I never met him.
*side note... YEARS later (like 20 years later) I had started dating a person that went to this same fucked up school, and it turned out that birthday we "celebrated" that evening was HIS. Life is weird isn't it?
("thanks" to my friend Seth for this picture)

The following afternoon, after I learned about the birthday boy running away, I started counting the days till my 18th birthday and trying to figure out how I could fake it for a year in the real world till I was 18. How I could exist as a minor and live as an adult. Eventually I had a plan.


  1. Darling girl, this is like a suspenseful train wreck movie... I'm afraid to find out what you had to go through, and yet I can't. stop. reading.... I can already understand a bit of why you're the wonderful quirky person you are. c:

  2. Wow! What an ordeal! I'm thinking it's not for me!

  3. This is so crazy! I've been waiting forever to hear the next part of this. I hope you write the next piece soon.

  4. Writing these posts gives me such a headache during the process, forcing myself to try to remember the details.... but once I hit "post"... it's all over. So I will keep it up till I'm done. Only problem is I am working three jobs this summer and don't seem to have the kind of time I had in the winter & spring, so... I can't say how often I'll be able to get them out, but I do want to.
    Thanks for reading it & stickin' with me, all of you. ♥

  5. Did your purse have a feathered roach clip attached to the strap, too? The contents certainly read like what was in my purse 'round that time. :)
    Thank you for posting what is surely difficult to dredge up.

  6. I'm excited to hear the rest of this. still sad that you of all people had to go through that though. Guess that's why you're so awesome! They just coudn't handle the AWESOME! ;) *hugs*

  7. Haven't been by for a while. I've really enjoyed parts 1 & 2 of this story. That blows me away that parents would forcefully 'abduct' their own child and put them in a setting like that. Useually they are trying to break teens out of cults...

  8. Thanks Alan. Still blows me away too.

  9. I was there too. Got pulled out in 2002 after couple weeks in psychiatric hospital. I spent 1.5 year. The worst of my life. So many bad mémories. Still have nihhtmares of being retain ! Running away in the Berkshire wood and coming back cuz there was nothing around reading u is like reading my diary from when i arrived. I was from Québec. Didnt speak a word in english. Believe me. I had to learn quick cuz they didnt believe me. Im all grown up now and became somebody i like but my weaknesses are due to desisto time. Still shaking when i see pictures and think about it. I appreciate that one of my DP appologized 15 years later to me. It dis matter. She tought she dis the right thing and she realised that she have been f*****ed too