The rest of the summer went about as expected. I finished summer school Algebra, was arrested while pulling guard duty on 40 cases of beer at some party spot on the Potomac, Found and kept my first job that demanded a Social Security number, and I smoked my first joint. I was successfully burying any thought of my impending incarceration come September.
The good times never last. Right after Labor day, I was informed by my mother we were going shopping. Great. Always a treat to go shopping with you Mom. I was just not sure what we were after. I had my custom tailored uniform that fit like a tent. I had my overseas cap. I had all my brass buckles still shiny and new. And two pairs of highly polished black Florshiems were patiently waiting for my feet to give them character.
Apparently Charlotte Hall had rules regarding just about anything one might need while enjoying their hospitality. My mom pulls out the official list and hands it to me. I could tell it was official. It had "the seal" as it's header.
Underwear. socks and what type. Gym clothes and what color. Foot locker - olive green only. Toiletries, towels and wash cloths. Blankets, sheets and by the way, no fitted sheets, thank you very nuch. I read through this list and observed that nowhere did it mention regular clothing or for that matter anything that was not either white or a derivative of olive green. An asterick at the bottom did say civilian clothing was frowned upon. A knot began to form in the pit of my stomach.
With a sour look on her face, my mother realized I had been a slacker. "Did you read the regulations book they gave you?" My silence was all she needed for an answer. "Go get it and bring it with you."
So we shopped. Rather she shopped and I read. With each page turned that knot grew to finally feel as if I had swallowed a basketball. They had codes, rules, and regs for every conceivable situation. I closed the book. It was now a book, not a pamphlet as it sat heavy in my lap. What the Hell did I do to myself?
A week later I passed through those white pillars for the second time. I was sure my life was over.
End - Chapter Two