Most of the people at Anneewakee were “juvenile delinquents” sent
there by court order. Others, like me, were sent by their parents for one reason or another. My crime was that I had been expelled from three different schools, and my psychiatrist persuaded my parents that living with hardened criminals under the authority of pedophiles would somehow motivate me to care more about math. So here I was digging up palmetto roots with our new group member George. I had been in the group for almost a year, so I was pretty well acclimated to how things worked. You see, at Anneewakee there was no predetermined sentence. You had to earn your way out of the place.
The more you complied, the more you “worked on your problems,” and
the more you demonstrated a willingness to obey authority and cooperate with the group, then the more privileges you could earn and
the better chance you had of eventually “terminating from the program.”
From day one, as I sat in the solitary confinement of my padded cell in the E&O, I decided that I would accept these conditions and do my best to adhere to them. I realized this was really my only choice. It was very clear: rebellion would keep me confined, and compliance might one day get me released. It was 1983, I was 14 years old, and the only thing I knew about Communism was that our USA hockey team had beaten those Commie Russian bastards a few years earlier in the winter Olympics at Lake Placid, New York. Of course it never dawned on me that most people in Russia were much freer than I was. George had been quiet since his arrival to our group. He was large and slovenly, and could easily be described as
He had clear innocent eyes that never quite met your gaze. So here we were, laboring away in the heat of the afternoon. He dug away with his flathead shovel, and I swung my pickaxe. I had earned the right to wield a pickaxe. George was new and so he was relegated to a flathead