After we moved down to central California I finished the last half of sixth grade- all the while to rumors of deadly and horrific fates which should await me at the middle school. Normally this would have been viewed with a certain skepticism but I had just come from a new pilot program where the last sixth grade HAD been part of the middle school and those were some mean bastards lording it over the young kids. My parents graciously offered to allow me to attend the Catholic school which went K-8. At the time I had no clue but this was when they were agreeing to divorce so it was cool they took time from that to focus on my worries ( no sarcasm- my dad was one of those old school dads I could never emulate and did a botched job myself, although I think I did great my kids first year as far as total immersion in their lives. I just dropped the ball after that in my own divorce ). And I’m sure it was a money hassle for them. But even if I didn’t fully apply myself- even then I refused to try if the subject bored me- those folks did such a great job I was able to skate through public high school afterwards not even trying and getting a B minus average after passing a lot of required classes with a D- which gave you credit if nothing else. I might hate the Papists for a lot of their historical abuses but at least I admire their schools.
I had one best friend through High School, a fellow cops son who also was devoted to carrying on the family trade. He went through the Explorer program ( on the way to the Academy ), a subset of the Boy Scouts, they were junior LEO’s. Back then mainly they did ride-alongs and directed traffic during events. I think nowadays the little jerks are just narcs setting up grandma’s clerking at drug stores for underage sales of cigarettes. I wasn’t THAT dedicated, pretty much having decided right away I was going to the MP’s in the military. That way I got to be a cop AND kill commies. High School was bearable with that buddy, using the weekends to decompress from school. I had a few casual friends for D&D but as I lived out in the boonies it was a hit and miss affair. I enjoyed the solitary creations of worlds anyway to regular games ( I think I bought a copy of nearly every role playing game there was, just to create adventures nobody ever played ). High School also saw me turn into a medical disaster which really killed any social life I might have had ( I was flirting with the pretty Mexican gals as a freshmen but soon retreated to my bubble world ). About fifteen I got braces on my teeth, a brace on my back and my face got pretty bad acne. I stayed a pariah until graduation, gladly signing up on my eighteenth birthday to ship out a few weeks after I was set free from compulsory indoctrination. I thought trading one dictator for another meant freedom. Oops. Next up, misadventures in the military.
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