THE CRAB DIARIES: PRE-BASIC TRAINING

Baltimore-Annapolis Metro Area

I graduated Largo High School in June of 1997, and most of the people I graduated with went to college the following fall.  For me, I just didn’t have the desire to keep going to school after I just finished high school, so I took a year off to figure out exactly what I wanted to do.  The one thing that I was definitely positive about was joining the Maryland Army National Guard and begin my law enforcement career with the 290TH Military Police Company.  Unfortunately, I was not able to join the armed forces until March 1998 when it wasn’t necessary to have parental consent.  The previous year of my life after high school was just pure hell in trying to my father to sign for me to go into the army, but constantly pushed for the U.S. Coast Guard.  Well, all that finally came to a head with my mother and I will just leave it at that for now.

While that was going on, my mother discovered a school called Fleet Business School, based out of Annapolis, Maryland, that had a legal secretary program and that it ran all year round (January 1998 – January 1999).  I went through the financial aid portion of the application, and fulfilled all the necessary requirements to be accepted.  Although it was not the normal four-year institution that most of my high school classmates were doing, it fit perfectly into my lifestyle.  I’m glad I didn’t force myself to attend a four-year institution because I might’ve quit after the first year and not completed my education as I am now doing.  I don’t regret that decision at all!  However, while going to school, I believe it was my uncle and dad, that purchased a late 1970’s Dodge Dart for $300, pea green exterior and interior, slant six motor with a carburetor.  I’ll admit when I first saw it I wasn’t all that impressed, but slowly I began to accept it.

To be quite honest I don’t quite remember if it was the Dodge Dart I had or the Plymouth Valore, but I’m almost positive it was the Dodge Dart I had.  Well, one morning while I was on my way to school, running late during the fall-winter season, I was hauling ass down U.S. Route 50 heading towards Annapolis.  Since the car had no workable heat, I only got warm by opening up the vents and allow the engine heat to come through, which at times took a long time to warm inside the cabin.  Also, my car had issues of keeping oil in the engine and I had to make sure that I refilled it every week so the engine wouldn’t seize up or give me major problems.  Apparently, this particular time after I had checked the engine stick, and although it showed sufficient amount of oil in the engine, I should’ve checked it again to make sure a couple days later.  As I am about ten minutes outside of Annapolis, near the Prince Frederick exit on U.S. Route 50, suddenly the radio stopped working.

Then I started to feel the car slow down, and as I stepped on the gas pedal it wasn’t increasing in speed; everything got suddenly quite.  So I quickly pulled over on the right shoulder and stopped when I thought it was safe to do so.  Got out and opened the hood and didn’t notice a hole through the gasket and hood until I had it opened.  It was at that point I realized that I had just lost a piston and had no clue where it went and where it might’ve landed.  I was just hoping that it didn’t land on someone driving behind me causing them damage, but I never heard anything.  So, of course, I called my dad and told him about the situation and shortly afterwards I called the school and explained to them about my situation; obviously they knew at that point that I wasn’t going to make it.  Hours later, my father and tow truck showed up, or just the tow truck, but either way I had to have it towed back home, which my father ended up paying for.  I was just a broke college student and couldn’t pay for a tow that last nearly 50 miles.  Once we got the car home, maybe days later, we took a look at it and quickly discovered that it could be fixed, but the money to fix we didn’t have.

So, now once again I am without a car and in order to get to school dad had to take me, and I had a nice lady friend, name Veronica, who lived in Bowie, would drive me home in the evenings.  Nearly every evening of school she would drive pass her home, take me to my parents house, in Largo, and drive back to Bowie.  I offered her gas money numerous times and she denied.  At one point I either attempted to get with her, but she didn’t want me, however, when the tables turned weeks later, I was the one turning her away.  Once we all graduated from school, I lost contact with every single one of them when I got shipped off to basic training in February 1999.  Graduation from Fleet Business School was in August 1999 and I don’t know what happened after that.  Oh well, I suppose if it is meant for me to see them again I will; providing that they are still alive on this earth.  Sometime later after my Dodge Dart issue, I was given a 1979 Plymouth Volare, another pea green interior and exterior, for $450, from my brother-in-law.  Another story will include the things that car and me did, which lasted a lot longer than the Dart.  Needless to say it was an interesting period from high school graduation, June 1997, to the beginning of basic training, February 1999. Maybe another crab diary will fulfill that time period.

Henry Scott

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