The child still remembers the first trip to Kansas. It was an eight hour drive down a long, straight interstate with nothing but farm country on both sides as far as the eye can see. The child was 12 years old and about seventy pounds, soaking wet. Everything around them seemed bigger than they were.
As they pulled into the large black wrought iron gates, the child looked out the window at the top of the towering iron. They looked ominous and gigantic! Looking around, the child saw other children and teenagers, aging buildings and a large teardrop shaped driveway, with a massive flagpole in the center. The other kids, the buildings, it was all a shock for the child. They were absolutely overwhelmed.
The first month at St. John’s was spent as a “newboy”. This basically painted a target on the child’s back for hazing and other pranks by more senior “cadets”. The hazing was brutal at times. As a small child, they were picked on with a special zeal. The child’s spitfire attitude and tendency to start a fight did not help them much either. One such fight stands out from that first year in hell…
Outside one of the buildings stood a massive oak tree. The tree towered over every building in the area and one could tell it had been there for one hundred years. This tree had a large aged knot hollow, big enough to fit a large animal or… a small person. It naturally became the trash hole for the uncaring children of the school. The fight began, as usual, over the child mouthing off and a foot chase quickly ensued. It ended when the child was tackled near the large oak tree by three of the older cadets.
The child ended up face first, stuck in that oak tree for over two hours before an adult supervisor came to the rescue.
After the first few months, the child felt more settled and had made a few friends. Several of these friends would eventually become sexual partners, as the inevitable exploration continued in ferver. The child was surrounded by young, horny boys. These “explorations” would continue regularly throughout the remainder of the year. The barracks, or the ‘dorm rooms’, had rooms set up for roommates of two, four and eight. The child’s first year was spent in a room with one other person, who would often be gone during the long nights.
The campus itself was a sprawling estate. It featured: a High School and Middle School building- both with basements, A dining facility and rec room, with basement, three Living quarters and a Headquarters building for adult and Cadet (kid) staff, with basements, A large sports facility with Basketball courts, wrestlings mats and locker rooms. A football field and a Soccer pitch. It even had some residential housing for executive school staff and the campus priest and his wife.
The chapel stood out the most when entering the campus and was closest to the large entrance gates. Just off to the left side of the entrance, a cozy looking white chapel, with a tower bell and steeple stood guarding the estate. Inside, over three-hundred people could squeeze in and would, three times a week. Episcopalian practices are very ritualistic and participatory.
The hazing, the daunting size of the campus, and student body aside, the child’s first year, their seventh grade year, was academically one of the best years of the child’s life up to that point. They received better marks, and were still in trouble often. Their test scores were high, in fact, the highest in their grade. The child’s parents called it “a good learning year”, when they would visit.
The Teen Years
By the next year, the teen had grown very little but had gained more confidence. They were a returning cadet and knew how some of it worked now. But sure enough, they were in trouble again very soon.
The worst punishment that the Episcopalian military school offered was considered expulsion. The second worst? RAT or Rehabilitation and Training. It was a “Rank” assigned to those that were under punishment and consisted of verbal abuse, constant physical training and public humiliation. The teen found themself lowered to that rank several times throughout their second year at the school.
One of the recurring reasons that they would end up demoted to RAT, was fighting with other cadets. The teen would start fights with the bigger kids and take them on chases across the campus. The teen had something to prove, they just didn’t know what yet.
Several of the cadets that had returned for a second year had taken up exploring with the teen again. The teen enjoyed the attention, even if it was in secret and caused an array of conflicting emotions. But, as things do in schools, word inevitably got out among the other cadets. Not all the teen’s sexual experiences that year were ones that they chose to have. The older teens added sexual hazing to the list of things they enjoyed visiting upon the teen.
The teen also took up smoking [cigarettes] that year. They were busted several times for it and reduced in rank or made to march in circles, hours at a time. The teen was in full resistance mode and was beginning to disassociate. They did NOT want to come back again the following year.
The teen was anxious and dreading the return to Kansas for their Freshman year. To begin with, each trip to the school was made in a charter bus, with 30-40 other kids from all over the region. Uncomfortable and smelly to say the least.
The experiences of the last year plagued them throughout their summer vacation and they were in no hurry to return to that again. The teen was a lower classman now, fresh meat and a new reason to be hazed.
Surprisingly, the hazing was minimal in the teen’s freshman year and they had the chance to follow some of their dreams. Choir was one of the most positive experiences in the child’s years at the school. They loved to sing. Even though they sang mostly worship songs, sometimes the choir would travel and sing more empowering tunes. The teen was beginning to live for the music. They sang tenor and even became a soloist that year.
The teen’s first brush with complex love was actually just after the school year ended. The teen had returned home to Colorado and was still attending youth groups, to keep the good attention flowing from their parents. That’s where they met Alicia. Alicia and the teen spent the summer sending letters to each other and tied to their phones, fighting their family for the lines. The relationship would end as the summer closed and the trip to Kansas approached.
The teen was offered a chance to return early and take part in Officer Candidate School. This would mean that other cadets would have to respect the teen and the teen would be responsible for guiding a group of other cadets!
The teen decided to go for it and took the chance by signing up for OCS.
The first day that everyone returned the teen knew it would be a different kind of year for them. They were now an Officer and had thirty peers to teach and guide to success. The teen would train with and lead these other teenagers and children throughout the year.
Much like a real military unit, the Cadet corps was broken into Companies, Platoons and Squads. The entire corps (a battalion) was led by a group of seniors, known as the battalion staff. One of the staff members hired the teen to take on the role as their assistant. It allowed the teen to learn the job and they were pivotal in the success of the school’s Annual Formal Inspection that year.
The Annual Formal Inspection, or AFI, was a formal visit by senior military individuals and recurred every year. The entire corps would do drills, drill team presentations, and uniform and living area inspections. The inspectors were always retired Generals and/or Active Duty Flag officers.
The teen’s sixth and final year at the school was their best year there for a multitude of reasons. They did very well academically and won several scholarships to colleges that they had applied to. The teen served on the Battalion staff as the Adjutant and was the Choirmaster that year.
At this point, the teen was finally allowed to go off campus in normal clothes. There was one main mall in Salina, Kansas. Everyone ended up there on the weekends. The girls from all around also knew that this mall was the mall that “all those military school boys come to”. The teen hit it off with a group of these girls and became “one of the girls”, because they thought the teen was “cool and cute.”
At the teen’s graduation dinner, they sat at the head table and five of the girls were up with them. Every one of them stood and introduced themselves as the teen’s girlfriend. The teen will always cherish the horrified looks that showed up on their families faces. In reality, the teen was only dating one of them. In fact, after that dinner the teen would spend their very first night with a woman.
Yes, the teen’s senior year was not entirely sour. They were in charge of two-hundred and fifty other people and they were succeeding and thriving on it. The teen’s graduating class set a record as well. They were the first class to have four consecutive years as the highest scoring school during AFI. 999 out of 1000 points.
Not a small feat.
This all finally came to end at that dinner and aftermath. The teen’s parents had arranged it to be a celebration of their success and progress in life. They invited family, friends and about half the graduating class. This was also to be the first physical reunion with their biological mother, Mary.
There they sat, the five girls beside them, looking out at faces of strangers and friends… and suddenly this lady started singing some churchy hymn to them. After she finished her song, she exclaimed loudly, “Oh hi, I’m your Mom.” The teen burst into tears and giggled almost simultaneously. After some hugs and the exchange of phone numbers, the meeting ended along with the dinner.
After the dinner, the teen went to an after-party with four of their “girlfriends”. They watched movies, smoked cigarettes and got super drunk in the basement of one of the girls’ houses. There were three other cadets there as well. The eight of them all ended up coupling and having sex that night – in the same room as each other.
They were all 18 and headed in separate directions. What would come next?