In August of 1971, at the age of 13, I was off to a new Military School known as Marion Military Institute, MMI for short. As a freshman on a large Campus, it was absolutely overwhelming. These Cadets looked so much older. MMI was not just a High School, but also had a 2 year Junior College Program. Cadets ranged from a young age of 13 years old like me to as old as a young adult – ages between 19 and 21. After graduating from Junior College, some of these Cadets would go directly into Officer Training School in one of the Military Branches. I was absolutely scared to death. What the heck did my Mom get me into now?? Instead of open barracks like GCMA, MMI had semi-private rooms with 2 Cadets per room. It was very similar to college dorms. I had a footlocker in front on my open shelves, where everything had a place and all items were fronted. Not only were our clothes color coded, but all toiletries were alphabetized. If it were not bad enough that I a Compulsive Overeater, I now had another obsession to become a neat freak. OCD in Full SWING!!! I struggled my first month in school. I was picked on constantly due to my weight. They called me FAT PAT and nick named me TINY to be cute. I hated it. I was so not into this school. I was BULLIED constantly by the older Cadets. If you dared think of ratting on an Older Cadet with any Rank, OMG, you would be scheduled for the almighty Blanket Party, which was not too good. You would come out with Black & Blue bruises all over your arms, stomach and back, not to mention a few bloody noses. Yes, this was known as HAZING or introduction to manhood. I was also known as a Grunt, an unskilled cadet soldier with nothing to look forward to except meals. After having been a Company Commander at GCMA in 8th Grade at my last school, I was a lonely Private. No rank at all. I was so depressed. But as usual, I found my comfort zone between the Mess Hall and the Snack Bar. My closet eating was in full swing. The footlocker in my room was a second snack bar. I would literally buy food at the snack bar and bring it back to my room. Cookies, Chips, Popcorn, Candy, Jelly Beans, you name it – the sky was the limit. It mattered not to me. As long as I could get a Sugar or Salty fix, it was pure satisfaction. When all the Cadets would head to sleep, I hit the Footlocker, my prize storage spot. My roommate at the time was from Mobile, AL. We got along pretty well. He was not a large guy, but he was 3 years older than me. He made excellent grades; always had his head in the books non-stop. As for me, my mom knew something was wrong, I went from being a mostly straight A Student receiving the Torch of Knowledge just 5 months earlier to becoming a B and C Student with more C’s than B’s. Mom finally realized this school was not for me. I was still gaining weight and she finally admitted I was homesick and depressed. I missed her and her roommate as well as my friends. I was way too young and immature to be in this type of school environment. So after my Freshman (9th Grade Year), my Mom agreed for me to go to Jesuit High School in New Orleans, LA for my 10th Grade Year.
Will To Live – Gluttony – Part 5 – to be continued!!