As I continue writing about my childhood years and my battles with Obesity, I realized more and more the battles I had with FOOD. At the age of 12, I was slowly approaching 200 lbs. My mom decided it would be best for me to attend Military School. I attended Gulf Coast Military Academy in Gulfport, MS for my 7th & 8th Grade Schooling. I went there not because I was a bad kid or a poor student, she just wanted me to have the male discipline. You see, my mom and dad never lived together at all. Soon after Mom and Dad married, my dad was given orders to go overseas to Germany and Austria. When that news came, my Mom was 5 months pregnant with me. Dad wanted her to go, but she did not want to give birth in a foreign country. I guess you can’t blame her for that call!! If she would have went to Germany, this Cajun Coonass would be speaking German!!
Late that summer in 1970, I arrived at GCMA, Gulf Coast Military Academy. I remember meeting a Major an active duty Officer in the United States Marine Corp. My mom liked him at first sight. I never forgot those words he spoke. Mrs. Lorraine, he said in a very Military Commanding Voice, “Send us the Boy and we will return him a Man”. OMG, I was never so scared. After saying my final goodbyes, I hardly remember the Major saying you could have no contact with your parents for 6 weeks until you become very comfortable with the regiment at Military School. After the first 3 nights, I became homesick. I missed my Mom and her roommate. You see, I had never stayed away from home more than 1 or 2 nights in my entire young life. I was scared to death. I would cry myself to sleep. How embarrassing in front of all the other Cadets. I didn’t care. I wanted to go home. Well that wasn’t going to happen. Suddenly, I finally overcame this homesickness. I found a friend – yes – a new but familiar friend. It was called – THE MESS HALL. Yes, I found my comfort zone. Food was my new best friend!! You see in Military School, we visited the MESS HALL 4 times a day. Started in the morning at 7:00AM for Breakfast, 12:00 PM for Lunch and 5:00 PM for Dinner, along with night time snacks at 8:00 PM before lights out at 9:00 PM. As a Bonus, we had the Canteen. Now this was a favorite place for me. Kind of like a Double Bonus Round. The Canteen was open mid-morning from 9:30 AM until 11:00 AM and mid-afternoon from 2:00 PM until 3:30 PM. It was sweet, pardon the pun. Each cadet had an advance spending account anywhere from $50-$100 per month. At the time, that could buy a lot of treats. I never missed the Canteen. My go to snack was a Dr. Pepper in the bottle, bag or 2 of Peanut M&M’s, along with a Chocolate Moon Pie. I was Happy!! I found my Heaven on Earth. When the monies would run low, the School would call Mom and she would just send another Check – How simple was that?? Only one small problem. I was gaining weight at the fastest pace ever. My eating habits were spinning out of control. Know one ever said a thing. I had total access to food just about anytime. By the time my Mom saw me for my 13th Birthday in December, I had gained roughly 30 Lbs. in 4 months. My uniforms were so tight, the school had to call her for me to get a larger size. The sickness continued. I found comfort in food and food found comfort in me!!
Will To Live – Gluttony – Part 3 – to be continued!!