My Goal

I'm Gary, the bass drummer in the above picture. My identification number at the Elsinore Naval and Military School (ENMS) was 151 -- a number forever burned into my soul. Here are some memories during my two year stay at ENMS in the 7th and 8th grades during the 1963 -- 1964 -- 1965 school years. I've converted old 8 mm movies that my parents took and present them here for all to see under the title of ENMS Memories on My goal here is to share my story and hopefully it may stimulate viewers to share their stories with others -- even if you never attended ENMS. Who knows, you may be a parent considering sending your kid to military school and this web site may give you some insight as to what military schools have to offer. Please note that I am working on this blog at a rather sporadic pace. Also, for privacy reasons, I'll only identify cadets by their first name or initials. To access posts, please use the 'blog archive" on the right. Finally, the change from black to red type is just my style for indicating a change in the message context much like writing a new paragraph. Ready to take a ride? Let's begin! [Question: Is the ENMS band in the above picture performing at the beginning or end of the routine Sunday parade? Answer: With the platoons gone in the background, the parade is coming to an end with the ENMS band the last to pass and review -- following the Junior School platoon. Since we supplied the music / cadence for all cadets it made sense to have the ENMS band behind everyone keeping them all in step. Question: Who's the officer standing there with his back to us? Answer: That's CPT Fred V. Rosenberger, Assistant Commandant. Question: Is this the 1963-64 ENMS band or the 1964-65 ENMS band? Answer: It's the 1963-64 ENMS band because cadet Bob who became the 1964-65 ENMS band leader is in the band ranks playing snare drum -- first drum row center.]

Friday, December 25, 2009

Best Friends in 8th Grade

[Left: Art C. at ENMS. Right: Art C. and me at ENMS 2002 Reunion.]
Art C. and I were best friends in the 8th grade. He was a smart guy with a great sense of humor and I really admired him. Still do! He was the younger brother of cadet Alan C. -- both of Las Vegas -- once again the Vegas connection between ENMS cadets forging strong bonds. Art and I just hung around all the time whenever there was free time to do so. During the 7th grade, Art lived in the small dorm and I in the large. During the 8th grade, Art continued in the dorm and I moved over to the Junior wing with fellow band member Wayne K. Art was in the 4th platoon. We both made corporal during 8th grade and Art received a sergeant promotion at the end of the 8th grade -- a nod that he would be expected to shoulder greater leadership if he returned during the 9th grade (which I don't believe he did because his brother Alan C. graduated from ENMS during our 8th grade). I didn't hang out with Art in Las Vegas like I did with Don and Fred. I learned during the 2002 ENMS Reunion that Art was now heading his father's successful Las Vegas business. Art, now a "captain" of industry, had a wonderful family of his own -- a lovely wife and two children. An interesting tid bit that I learned during the 2002 Reunion was that the reason I went to ENMS was way different than many other cadets. Some kids actually wanted to be at ENMS. Art wanted to be next to his older brother Alan -- a senior and platoon leader. Wayne K. wanted to be with his older brother Mark -- a senior and the cadet company commander during our 7th grade experience. Had I had this perspective while a cadet at ENMS, I might have had a less stressful time thinking we all didn't want to be at ENMS. Not true! There were kids that really digged being at ENMS. Maybe that is why Art and Wayne were a bit more laid back than me. After all, they had their brothers around them while Don and I had ours locked away from us over in the Junior school -- an interesting twist don't you think. [Here's what Art wrote in my 1964-65 Academy yearbook. "Orman, you have been my best friend this year. I have had a lot of fun here with you. I hope to see you in Las Vegas this summer and I hope our friendship will last for a very long time.Your Friend, Arthur C."] I saw Art only a couple of times after leaving ENMS when we lived in Las Vegas and then when I was enrolling for courses at UNLV, I ran into him with Fred J. registering for classes too. Since then I have been out of touch with Art and when we got to the 2002 ENMS Reunion we didn't get much caught up as so much was going on. But, if anyone made ENMS fun for me it was Art. Thanks for being my best friend at ENMS, Art!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

In Memory of Don P. Lohn

Don and I were very close friends during my 8th grade and final year at ENMS. He was from Las Vegas and also had a little brother Jon in the Junior school. We both lived in the Junior wing. He shared a room with Otto L. at the far end of the hallway and I shared a room with Wayne K. in the middle of the hallway. He was in the Color Guard and I was in the Band. The Band and Color Guard always attended guard mount at the end of the day when the colors were retired and the daily guard roster changed. Although I was a couple years younger than Don, because we had so much in common, we hung out a lot. Several times we took our brothers out of the Junior school together for weekend pass. I also remember once his wonderful Mother took us all out on pass and we went to the San Diego Zoo. Don and I were very protective of our brothers and made sure they were doing well. [In April of 1973, while attending UNLV, I took my girlfriend (and wife of 35 years, Debra) to a Yes (still my favorite band) rock concert at the Las Vegas Ice Palace. Mid concert, Deb and I ran into Don and ended up after the concert at a nearby restaurant getting caught up over pie and coffee. I learned that Don had been in the Army and stationed overseas and that it was not a pleasant experience for him. I sensed there was great turmoil in his life. After that meeting, I didn't see Don again until the 2002 ENMS Reunion and we didn't speak much either but we did recognize one another. We never really got caught up together as we had done in the restaurant thirty years prior. And, again, I sensed without having any details that he had lived a challenging life.] Then, the news came from Jim M. notifying us of Don's passing Friday, April 4, 2008, after a hard fought battle with cancer. His funeral was held at the LDS Church in Vancouver, WA and he was buried at the Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, OR on April 10, 2008. [The following video is my tribute to our ENMS brother Don during a most engaging time of our lives -- around the summer of 1965 just before he and Jon returned to ENMS for summer school I believe. My Dad, Harry, took us all out to the Colorado River and we zoomed down the extraordinary canyon to majestic Lake Mojave for a day of merriment and mayhem water skiing (me and Don double skiing), fishing, swimming, etc. Four brothers having a blast at the conclusion of the 1964-1965 school year -- Don and his brother Jon and me and my brother Steve. Dad filmed it all for posterity. Don must be about 15 or 16 years old and Jon about 9 or 10. I am 13 years old and Steve is 11. Whatever you remember about Don P. Lohn, please know that once upon a time he spent a fantastic day in the sunshine with his brother and friends having an extraordinary amount of fun!] Don had a good heart! He was a good man! See ya later, pal.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Clark and Michaud

[Left: Mr. George H. Clark, B.A., Brown University, Rhode Island -- 7th and 8th Grade Math and Science. Right: Mr. Daryl L. Michaud, Wesleyan University, Nebraska -- 7th and 8th Grade English, History, Reading, Spelling.] The above gentlemen were my wonderful teachers during my tenure at ENMS in the 7th and 8th grades. They were all business and well respected by everyone. [Take a good look at the classroom facilities behind the photos of Mr. Clark and Mr. Michaud. You can see these weren't state of the art facilities. From what I understand, originally these were garages for patrons of the "country club" for storing their automobiles and that LTC Conklin later converted to classrooms when he purchased the facility. I believe there was a fire that destroyed all or part of these classroom facilities after brother Steve and I left ENMS. Check out the ENMS campus as of 2002 and there is nothing but dirt at the far left where the classrooms (garages) once stood.] Mr.Michaud (we pronounced his name like "me-shew" -- French?) was unique in that he was shorter than even most of his students -- a little person? He was physically powerful and dynamic. (Note that a 1953 high school champion wrestler by the name of Darly Michaud is listed for Lincoln High.) Also, I think that he and his wife had a child during my time under his tutelage. During my second year at ENMS, all the instructors were awarded rank and wore military uniforms. Mr. Michaud became First Lieutenant Michaud and Mr. Clark became Captain Clark. Thanks for everything LT Michaud and CPT Clark. You both were great! [A major memory I have of Mr. Michaud was when I alerted him that I had just found out about President Kennedy being assassinated. In fact if you look directly behind him you'll see the drinking fountain where I learned this fact from a student walking by during a break with a transistor radio up to his ear. Mr. Mischaud put class on hold to walk down to the Principal's office to check it out and wasn't gone but for a second when he reappeared and said President Kennedy was dead because our flag on the parade ground was at half mast.] Mr. Clark's classroom was directly behind Mr. Mischaud. While the 7th graders were in Mr. Michaud's classroom, the 8th graders were in Mr. Clark's classroom and vice verse. Mr. Clark commanded a different kind of respect. Where Mr. Michaud was more youthful and around our own size or even smaller, he felt like your older brother or maybe your uncle was in charge. Mr. Clark on the other hand, had a gruffer voice, smoked, was older, heavy set, taller than his students and acted very managerial. However, once you got to know him, his kindness surfaced. [Mr. Clark caught me and another student cheating one day. During a test we were looking off each other's test paper and he called us both up to the front of the class and gave us a thorough tongue lashing and then asked us to hold out our hands and with his ruler he smacked them several times very hard and then told us to never do that again and go back to our seats. I thought for sure we were goners as all I could see was us being turned in for cheating and that would have resulted in 25 or 50 demerits which meant being campused for several weeks and doing tours, etc. But, he didn't turn us in and that was the last time I ever looked over at someone else's exam. I was so embarrassed that I swore to myself that if ever I flunked an exam or course I would preserve my dignity by taking full credit for having accomplished the awesome feat on my own.] Mr. Clark is standing just a few feet from the entrance to his classroom (at his immediate left facing us -- not the building behind him). At the back corner of his classroom was a tree where I threw up. The entire corps of cadets had come down with some kind of gastrointestinal bug and we weren't blaming the cooks. I remember how ill we all became and it was significant enough to place us all in our beds for a few days -- a campuswide quarantine, if you will. [Over all, I was a pretty good kid and kept my nose clean. I avoided fights and conflicts. However, inevitably there was one of two other kids at ENMS that you just didn't get along with. One particular kid in class had a smart ass personality that begged to be remedied after his come-back antagonistic remarks. When he called my mother a terrible name in Mr. Clark's classroom while everyone else was on break, including Mr. Clark outside having a smoke (about where he's standing in above photo), well, I tore into this kid and took him out. The ruckus was so loud that Mr. Clark ran into the room to pull me off this kid and when I came to my senses I immediately took off for Mr. Sewell's office, the Principal, ready to receive the consequences. Mr. Sewell checked back with Mr. Clark and I was released to go back to class and nothing ever came of this incident. I thought for sure I was doomed to 25 or 50 demerits and being campused and tours but evidently after checking things out, Mr. Clark and Mr. Sewell decided to not pursue the matter further.] One other tid-bit about Mr. Clark. He had been a good friend of Stan Laurel of Laurel and Hardy fame. One day, he pulled from his wallet a couple of photos of him with Mr. Laurel on the Santa Monica Pier. Sorta made me think that there was a side to Mr. Clark's life outside of ENMS that was pretty wide and deep. We didn't know that Stan Laurel died February 23, 1965. However, maybe that's why Mr. Clark shared the memory of his dear friend with us. Check it out: []

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Price of Admission

So, how much did it cost my "blue collar" parents to send me and little brother to ENMS for two years between September 1963 and June 1965 so they could have the breathing room to help big sister deal with her esteem and other issues? About eight grand if you go by the tuition rates in the above "Supplemental Data" pamphlet. But, I'm thinking it was probably more like nine or ten grand (might have been more) when you factor in ancillary expenses like plane tickets, clothing allowances, expenses (travel - lodging - meals) incurred for 50hr passes in Southern California after traveling by car to ENMS from Las Vegas and then back, etc. Gadzooks! The inflation calculation above shows that $10,000 in 1965 is equivalent to $68,676.19 in 2009. That was a very expensive proposition. [My parents weren't able to keep up with the monthly payments and worked out a delayed payment arrangement with LTC Conklin. For several years after we left ENMS Mom and Dad bemoaned the fact that they had this huge debt to settle with ENMS. Around when I graduated from public high school in 1969 is when they made their final payments. Steve and I felt so relieved because their debt we felt was ours as well. Often we would lament how we didn't want to go to ENMS in the first place so why should we be blamed for Mom and Dad's ENMS debt. Sorta like apologizing for being born, if you know what I mean. But we were all together in this Yellow Submarine and Mom and Dad's pain was ours (and vice versa). Just goes to show how parents can get way behind the learning curve and drag their kids through their spiraling negative performance cycle.] I am very grateful for having gone to ENMS and appreciate the sacrifice Mom and Dad made. However, although I learned a lot about life at ENMS, I probably learned a lot more about life observing my parents navigating our little dysfunctional family through the turbulent 1960s. We gave it our best shot although it seemed like a very ridiculous and unnecessary exercise at the time. God bless us one and all for trying!

Postcards from the ENMS

We were required to write home every week and every Monday morning we turned in our letters at formation before marching over to the classrooms on the other side of campus. Can you imagine how different our ENMS experience would have been with all the modern communication technology that is available today -- email, texting, cell phones, etc? Then, the only communication with my family was letters to one another and maybe a phone call once a week on pass. On weekends when I'd take brother Steve out on a Sunday pass with me, we'd go find a pay phone booth across the street and I'd use a dime from my allowance money to place a collect call home to our parents. Since both parents worked, we took a chance on connecting up with them. However, often at least one parent was home. Mom saved most of the letters we wrote home and here are two of mine, warts and all, from a couple of months after we went to ENMS. I typed them out below. Note that some of the dysfunctional family dynamics are displayed by me in the second letter.

1st letter -- (about a month after arriving at ENMS)

Dear Mom and Dad

Well what have you been doing? Ive ben doing fine so far Im going to have close to a C or a B avrege at least I hope so tell me if Jody [playmate from down the street at home in Las Vegas] is goin to come down. steve is anxious to have somebody to play with My Teachers are nice I like them I am avreageing a B grade in geography sofar how is Miss Clark [best teacher I ever had 4th and 6th grade in Las Vegas.] Butch [cadet Wayne S whom I attended 5th and 6th grades with at JT McWilliams Elementary School in Las Vegas.] is doing fine all these kids got a Lot oF "intellgience" one of these boy are typing like a pro. this week Iam going to fire my rifel tell Janet Hi!

Love you Both

Hate to Tell You This But, someone swiped my ink pen.
I'm sorry !

2nd letter --(about two weeks later)

Dear Mom & Dad

[page 1]

Well how are you both? Guess what dad Butch is all excited about his dad getting a dear he's really proud. I sure hope you get one this time I sure wish I could go with you guys. Don't let Gary [big sister Janet's boyfriend whom she eventually married and had a child with and then divorced a year later -- one of four marriages so far she has experienced] scare the deer "ha ha"! Now you will find out how much trouble he is. is Janet going two, she is, "ha ha oboy" ! I sure wish you would have come up with grandma & Momey. Steve was disapionted that you would not come up! "so was I" steve got a little upset. Mother steve learned the ten commandments and passed two! he was so much better after that.Me and steve are going out on the all day pass With Kelly [cadet Kelly H is the son of Dad's deer hunting buddy and Kelly eventually went AWOL and never returned to ENMS the next year.] He is not campused. Guess what on the demerit list I got 15 demerits and 6 merits and got a B. That is pretty good. hu.

[page 2]

I sure hope Janet is not getting married June. If she is ILL BUST HER BRITCHES and I mean it do you want me to tell you our dially plan for the week. ok. well first we get up in the morning and get our cloes on and then we comb our hair and get ready to eat after we eat we go up to where we live "thats in the large dorm" and clean up the place. then we go two school and my first subject is Math and then we have science and then we have Geography. after those three peeriods are up, we go in to mr. Mischaud class and have English Reading

[page 3]

After we are done with thos subjects we go eat lunch and after we get through with lunch we have 15 minutes to goofe off on, " go to slepp" then the Bugle blows and we go to school again and have spelling after we get done with spelling we go back to formation. and then we have free time we get to swim sometimes and do anything we want to do then the bugle blows and we take our showers. After we are done with are showers we put on our Kackies and get ready for dinner after we are done with dinner we have about 20 minuts to play. and the bugle blows again we get ready for study hall and after that we go to bed! And thats are daily plain. Well got to go because the "bugle blew"

Ha Ha Love you Gary

Saturday, December 12, 2009

1963 - 64 School Calendar and Special Regulations

When you look at the above 1963 - 64 School Calendar and Special Regulations you realize a lot of planning took place to operate the Elsinore Naval and Military School. No doubt this planning became more and more refined year after year during the existence of ENMS. No doubt those alumni who have waxed nostalgic to resurrect a new and improved version of ENMS at the same location have subconsciously balked knowing full well the level of difficulty required to make their dream a reality. The above school calendar was sent to my parents and this would guide their understanding of significant events transpiring throughout the year and the regulations regarding them. Then, they could plan accordingly. Note in the last paragraph that states, "KINDLY DO NOT ASK FOR EXTENSION OF LEAVE, NOR FOR PERMISSION TO LEAVE IN ADVANCE OF SCHEDULED DATES GIVEN ABOVE." Can you imagine the operational headaches had this policy not been in effect! See if you can spot this kindly reminder to parents from above, "PLEASE DO NOT GIVE OR SEND ADDITIONAL MONEY TO YOUR SON." Want to start and operate a profitable private prepatory military school? Not so fast! Takes guts! Lotsa guts!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Daily Life at ENMS

On pages 52 and 53 of the 1964-1965 "The Academy" (yearbook) is a schedule of typical daily events that I've included below. This schedule deviated on Monday and on Friday. But for the rest of the week, it's pretty accurate. [On Monday before dinner mess formation, we'd all march through Headquarters, salute and receive our weekly allowance. I got $1.00 per week -- which wasn't much compared to many of the other cadets whom I saw collect several or more dollars each week. The amount of money we received was set by our parents. In order for me to afford taking my younger brother out on Sunday pass for the day, often I would have to save up several weeks' worth of allowances -- in an envelope secured in LTC Stimus' office. Once, I believe I saved up around $8.00 and Steve and I found a local restaurant on the north side of the lake and had the cheapest item on the menu -- cheese sandwiches and a coke.] After Friday's dinner mess, the entire senior school cadet corps went to formation to see a movie in the gymnasium. Cadet David D. was the master projectionist and I was his loyal assistant. Since we had to set the projector up ahead of time in the gym, we received the privilege of eating ahead of everyone else on Fridays. Setting up for the movie "The Fly" scared the &^%$ out of me in the darkened gymnasium. [Saturdays the schedule deviated also with the major activity being the cleaning of our assigned M-1 Rifles. After we cleaned our rifles they had to be inspected and sometimes many of us failed inspection and made to go back and scrub out the dirt from our bores again.] Saturday night if you were not campused (10 or more demerits), most of the cadet corps gladly loaded up on the buses and went into town for a movie. Some would stay behind at ENMS to be alone or study or maybe they didn't have the money or wouldn't part with their money for a movie. Usually we'd get back to campus after the movie around 10 to 11 pm. The bus ride to and from Elsinore often was noisy and rambunctious. [Sunday's schedule I believe started an hour later so we got to sleep in. The main Sunday activities included going to worship services in the morning followed by a major inspection wearing our dress blues followed by going out on pass with your parents, relatives, or friends, or not and then the quintessential moment of the week -- the parade. Dinner on Sundays was simple, typically soup and sandwiches.] Every Monday morning formation before marching to classes, we had to turn in an obligatory letter to our parents -- mandatory. I don't remember demerits for not complying (maybe because I made sure to have letter in hand--as did everyone). But, I do remember at Monday morning formations there was a great collection of letters to parents. We understood the message -- "Write your parents and let them know how you are doing." Typically our letters to our parents generated response letters from our parents during subesequent days and weeks. A good thing!

Time Typical Daily Activities (Monday - Friday)
0600 Reveille (Not Again)
0625 Mess formation
0630 Breakfast
0700 Preparation for inspection
0745 School formation
0800 Classes
1210 Recall from classes
1225 Mess formation
1230 Lunch
1300 Commandant's time
1315 Afternoon school formation
1420 Recall from classes
1430 Military science & training
1520 Recall from military science
1530 Intramural formation and tours
1535 Intramurals & tours
1620 Recall from intramurals & tours
1640 Formation for mail call & showers
1645 Mail call
1650 Showers
1730 Guard Mount
1745 Mess formation
1755 Dinner
1900 Study hall
2030 Recall from study hall
2115 Taps (Finally)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

ENMS Memories: 1964-65 Band

[Four members of the illustrious 1964-65 ENMS Band at the 2002 ENMS Reunion. Left to Right: Gary (bass drum), Larry (snare drum), Fred (bugle), and Bob (snare drum & band leader).]
The company of cadets that made up the ENMS senior school was identified as "A Company, 167th Battalion" of the California Cadet Corp. In 1965, it comprised 210 cadets, ranging from 1st through 12th grades. This included a company staff of four leading a color guard, five platoons (including the junior school platoon), and -- THE BAND! [Prior to going to ENMS, my brother and I had taken several years of music lessons learning how to play the Baldwin organ. Actually, my parents bought the organ for my sister and she didn't want to take lessons so they gave me and my brother lessons and I eventually ended up learning how to play it rather well. So, when we went to ENMS, I couldn't wait to keep up my involvement in music in some way and requested to join the band. I wasn't as interested in learning how to play the bugle or the symbols or the glockenspiel as I was the drums. I'd listened to my share of rock and roll and soul music on the radio and felt my calling to be a drummer. So, during the first half of the 1963-64 year, I played snare drum. Then, about half way through the year, the bass drummer asked if anyone wanted to switch with him and I did and really digged it. I must have made more noise at ENMS than anyone else beating the heck out of that big bass drum every day. Unknowingly, this probably was very therapeutic for me and the more I think about it, making the amount of noise that we all did in practice and on the parade fields and marching in a few Southern California area parades, the ENMS band experience was probably very therapeutic for every band member as well. Maybe that's why we had so much fun. And, because we enjoyed playing our band instruments, we all excelled at it.] My band experience significantly took off during my second year when a new student by the name of Larry arrived (above photo). I believe Larry was in the 11th grade and he was immediately assigned to the band because he happened to be a professional drummer. No kidding, he had taken professional drum lessons for years and was the drummer in his brother's popular Southern California rock and roll band (name slips me). His brother's band played at one of our school dances. In fact the first time I heard "Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones was Larry's brother's band playing it at the dance. And, if memory serves me, Larry had been a drummer for a one-hit-wonder song that had been playing on the radio at the time. Somewhere in the back of my mind I'm also thinking Larry was called upon to substitute for an ill drummer of one of the super groups of the time (Stones?). Larry's skills were so jaw-dropping good that he set the standard for the band's over all performance level. I remember him giving a lengthy drum solo performance at the Easter brunch that was absolutely spellbinding. Larry taught us drummers new cadences and how to twirl our sticks between our fingers without dropping them. Because he was such a pro, we strived to be the best we could be to help support his skill level. At the end of the school year, I can honestly say the ENMS Band was an extremely competent drum and bugle corp and much of the credit goes to Larry.
[The two pictures to the left show bugler Fred posing in ranks as cadet David took the reins on the bass drum for me so I could take this picture. Cadet Bob is playing snare drum in first drum row center. This was the 1963-64 ENMS band lead by cadet SGT John P. -- 2nd photo. John P. was a fabulous band leader. When he did not return for the 1964-65 school year, Bob did a fantastic job as band leader. In the video below, you'll see the 1964-65 ENMS band under Bob's leadership. I'm on bass drum and Larry is to my left. Can you find Fred?]

Sunday, January 18, 2009

ENMS Memories: 1965 Commencement

If you go back to the very first post on this blog, you'll see a picture of my family before my younger brother and I went to ENMS. Younger brother is the one in the foreground. Now, fast forward to this movie/video, which is the second and final year at ENMS for me and him and you'll see him standing on the podium delivering a rather complex 6th grade valedictorian speech on -- of all topics -- "Perseverance." Steve graduated from the Junior school as the platoon leader and junior school cadet officer. Something magical happened to my brother during his two years at ENMS as this movie/video demonstrates. When others start to believe in you, somehow you start believing in yourself and start to exceed all expectations. I wonder what younger brother might have achieved in the Senior school had he been able to attend?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Kennedy Assassination: November 22, 1963

November 22, 1963 started out as just another "normal" day at school. Between periods, we were allowed to go to the rest room ("the head"--we called it) and stop by the drinking fountain for a slurp of water. I recollect it was around the 10 am break time when I left Mr. Michaud's (a great teacher) 7th grade classroom at the far western corner of the school building for a drink. On my way, I passed an upper classman with a portable transistor radio up to his ear and he said in an astonished manner, "I just heard the president's been shot." I thought maybe he was just pulling my leg or something -- as many cadets often did to one another -- especially upper to lower classmen. However, the tone of his voice wasn't joking. After getting back to class, I informed Mr. Michaud what I had learned and he was so taken by the news that he decided to check it out for himself by making a quick visit to the principal's office. He left the classroom and we watched him quickly walk out of sight. Then, in less than a half a minute he walked back into class and said, "Well, it must be true. The President's dead." Because he had returned to class so fast, we knew he didn't get to the principal's office and someone asked, "How do you know?" Pointing to the parade field outside the window he said, "The flag is at half mast." [The ENMS band immediately heard from the continuous radio and television coverage of the assassination a "funeral" drum cadence being played everywhere. So, we practiced this drum cadence and when it came time for an ENMS funeral ceremony out of respect for the fallen President, we were able to play this cadence almost exactly as we heard it played on radio and television, which added tremendous authenticity to the ceremony I believe was held the Sunday following the assassination on the parade field after they had already burried President JFK.] The photo on the left came from the 1964 Yearbook (p. 38) and I believe that is me sitting on the top of the cabinets in the middle of two other cadets watching television during some down time. However, that is the TV we all watched the JFK funeral coverage on and saw Lee Harvey Oslwald get shot by Jack Ruby -- as it happened! Now imagine placing 100 plus cadets around this TV trying to get a glimpse of the JFK situation. That's where I got in trouble and earned nine (9) dimerits just prior to the Thanksgiving break. Had I gotten 10 dimerits, I would have been campused and not allowed to go home for Thanksgiving holiday. You see, out of frustration, I lost self control and flipped someone the bird who yelled at me to sit down as I was trying to manuever for a better position to watch the TV coverage. Someone of higher authority saw me and wrote me up. [I don't believe during the two years I was at ENMS this TV was ever replaced. This TV brought us current events and popular culture that seemed to be exploding. We couldn't wait to grab a Bubble Up and a Mallo Cup and gather around to watch shows like American Bandstand, Shindig and Hullabaloo where we saw real time performances like Sonny and Cher, the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, the Rightous Brothers, James Brown, you name it. We also saw the British Invasion with such groups like the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Moody Blues, Dave Clark 5, etc. We watched it all on this little old black and white TV with rabbit ears.]

Friday, January 9, 2009

ENMS Memories: Sunday Parade October 1963

If you were not campused (see post on demerits), you were eligible to join your family or friends or just by yourself and leave the campus on Sunday pass. Often, I'd take my junior school brother out for a snack and we'd call our parents "collect" from a phone booth. However, before you left the campus around 11 am, several activities transpired. First, after the bugle woke us up and we made it to formation and went into mess for breakfast, then we reformed and went to Sunday worship service. The Protestants convened in the mess hall while anyone Catholic or Jewish was shuttled in the school bus into Elsinore for services. After worship services, we all then quickly got ready for Sunday inspection in our dress blues. Then, after inspection, we reformed and then were released. Those who had approved Sunday passes got to leave the campus. Those who were campused or didn't put in for Sunday pass, stayed back where they just took it easy and did things like play in the gym, read, nap, walk around campus listening to music, etc. Those that were campused, unless they had tours to march off, did likewise. Then, around 3:30 pm those on pass would trickle back to campus in their dress blues and then around 4 pm we'd all get ready for the Sunday afternoon parade. The parade began with the band first arriving on the field sounding cadence. This was followed by the cadet company commander and his staff and the color guard and then the platoons in order of senior school first, second, third, and fourth platoon and junior school fifth platoon. Of course, Colonel Conklin, LTC Stimus, and the rest of the assistant commandant were already in place as the entire cadet company assembled on the parade field. During parade, some awards might be given out to cadets or someone got promoted. But, it was quite an ordeal and really gave a show to the relatives and friends and passersby who were present. After parade, everyone placed their M-1 rifles back, the band stored their instruments, the junior school cadets disappeared back in the junior school dorm and the senior school had a formation where the best platoon in the parade was singled out. After being dismissed from this formation, those who went out on pass relatives or friends often got a chance to say a final goodbye. Then, we all changed into our Khakis with black tie and headed back to formation where we turned in our dress blues and went to Sunday mess where we typically had soup and sandwiches. After dinner, we all headed back to our rooms or dorms and prepared for study hall. After study hall we got a chance to go to the gym and buy a soda pop or candy bar from our allowance and watch a little TV before heading back to our rooms and dorms for CQ (Containment to Quarters) and then lights out at 9 pm. Every day was unique but Sunday was a really unique day for everyone.

ENMS Memories: 1964 Commencement

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Top photo is the demerit notification letter from LTC Stimus to my parents. Bottom photo sequence left to right: (a) cadets waiting to report for demerits after lunch outside HQ; (b) a cadet reporting for demerits to CPT Penfield inside HQ; (c) cadets checking HQ information board to see how many demerits they got (or others got); (d) cadets working off tours next to tennis court and showers area. [Note: Noun. demerit - a mark against a person for misconduct or failure; usually given in school or armed forces; "ten demerits and he loses his privileges" ] Anyone who attended ENMS understands the word "demerit" because the "demerit system" at ENMS was extremely effective -- at least while I was there. If you didn't take the "demerit" system seriously, chances were good that you'd end up sooner or later paying a price in lost privileges. The demerit system involved a rating period of time. During this period if you received less than 10 demerits, you did not lose privileges. You'd also qualify for the "Commandants List" and receive the blue "Citizenship" award front and center at a Sunday parade in front of everyone. This ribbon attached to your dress blues proudly proclaimed to the world that you knew how to keep your nose clean at ENMS. If you got 10 or more demerits in a given week -- well it was all over for you, at least for the short term. You forfeited being able to go on pass that week, including going home during regularly scheduled holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, etc. Goal number two was not to exceed 25 demerits within the rating period. If you did, you earned tours that had to be worked off. The typical tour involved an hour of marching with your M-1 rifle in full fatigues in a square on a barren dirt field about the size of a basketball court adjacent to the tennis courts and showers area while a member of the daily duty guard (i.e., Sergeant of the Guard) made sure you accomplished your tour. (See above far right photo.) Some tours might be worked off on other details like policing the campus -- collecting trash blowing around the campus. So, how did a cadet get demerits? An interesting aspect to the ENMS demerit system was that any cadet with the rank of corporal and up (cadet non-commissioned officer status of corporal up to cadet officer ranks) had authority to write up anyone of an equal or lesser rank.(I may need a little help in getting all this correct ENMS alumni.) So, if you were a corporal, you could write up other corporals (two stripes) as well as those of a lesser rank than yourself -- private first class cadets (one stripe) and privates (no stripes). This form of supervision applied across the cadet corps was very effective resulting in several hundred sets of eyes watching every one's every move. Becoming aware of this fact caused a change in every one's behavior, too -- at least for most cadets. Of course, the commandant and his assistant commandants could write you up, too. Consequently, the success of the ENMS demerit system is owed in large measure to the cadet corps policing themselves. Strange thing was that everyone took this responsibility seriously. But, there were a few hard assess in the crowd that played their roles to the max, too. They went overboard writing up the most insignificant infractions. When you learned who they were you steered clear of them. But, for the most part, if you got written up by someone, you probably had it coming. [Note: I went up against the ENMS demerit system the second month of my first year at ENMS. No doubt I was having a time adjusting to things. My parents received in the mail the above notification slip from LTC Stimus dated October 28, 1963 notifying them I had forfeited all privileges -- including allowances, passes, and visitors for one week beginning October 28, 1963. I don't remember exactly what I had done but I do remember receiving 11 demerits. The following Sunday I couldn't go out on pass -- a state of existence known as being "campused." That Sunday before the parade in my dress blues, I was assigned to a detail of cadets that policed the campus -- picked up trash and debris on the grounds. Because of this experience, I pulled in my horns and started to "think" more about what I did to cause others to take such notice of my behavior. Somehow I sensed that unless I stepped up my game, I was going to have a negative ENMS experience. Looking back, it was quintessential operant conditioning -- rewards / punishments. Not too long after this, I almost forfeited privileges again that could have cost me my Thanksgiving Day vacation with my family in Las Vegas. Here's what happened. During the week when JFK was assassinated November 22, 1963, I had received 5 demerits. When he was being laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery, the entire senior school was allowed to watch the burial on a single "black and white" television set with rabbit ears attached. Those that didn't get a chair had to stand. As everyone shuffled in to grab an available seat (some jockeying for a better viewing position than others), I got a seat behind a taller cadet who blocked my view. As I jockeyed for a better seat, someone took the seat I was going toward and I got pissed. As I stood there totally whacked, someone in the back shouted for me to sit down. I turned and flipped the bird -- then I sat down. Well, the next day I received enough demerits for disrespect and profanity to make 9 for that week -- one short of being campused and not being able to go home for Thanksgiving. That woke me up real fast. From then on, I "thought" more about what I was doing than merely react to situations -- the first time I really started to face myself and it was quite unnerving.] It didn't take long for me to figure out the system and when I did, I just assumed that anyone with a rank of corporal and higher had a set of "write up" slips in their pocket --a small stapled packet of about 15 slips you got from the cadet company commander's quarters. Thus, with the drop of a pencil practically anyone could jot down your infraction with the time, day, etc., and toss it into the box at HQ for the assistant commandants to collect. Of course the commandant and his assistants were monitoring the validity and reliability of any charges against cadets. Here's how you found out if you were receiving demerits. At every noon formation before heading to lunch in front of the classroom barracks, a list of cadet names would be read by LTC Stimus or one of his assistant commandants in front of everyone identifying those who had to report for demerits. The list wasn't too long -- at the most five or ten or fifteen cadets. If your name was on this list, then after lunch you went to the side of HQ building and stood in line with the other offending cadets where you either played the guessing game regarding what you had done to merit demerits or you kept quite or shared what you had done to deserve your demerits --including the time, place, cadet or assistant commandant who wrote you up. When it was your turn to enter into HQ and report, you walked in with hat in hand, stood at attention and saluted one of the assistant commandants handling demerit duty that day saying, "Private Lauer reporting as ordered sir." The assistant commandant would return your salute and reaching for the demerit slip that was turned in with your name on it would say something like, "Says here that you were out of uniform yesterday after lunch around 12:30 pm outside the gym without your hat on. Is that correct?" The name of the person who wrote you up was never identified but you often could guess afterwards. You might want to argue your point but usually to no avail because the assistant commandant would drive home the infraction by stating that being in uniform at all times requires a hat on outside. Obviously, your name wouldn't have been on the list had the assistant commandant not agreed with the infraction and the person initiating the write up. So, you'd take in a deep breath, be dismissed, and hope the resultant damage to your citizenship record wasn't too bad. If you couldn't report for demerits after lunch, you had to go after dinner. The next day, you anxiously awaited the posting of demerits outside HQ to learn how many you got for your infraction. [Note: You could get demerits for a lot of stuff -- being out of uniform, late to formation, profanity/vulgarity, disrespect, smoking, off limits, etc.. You name it, there was a demerit for it. Some infractions like getting caught smoking resulted in 25 demerits -- all at once. Some cadets had 50 plus demerits and were continously working off tours in their spare time and during physical education period.] Oh, did I ever make the Commandant's List? You bet I did.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Assistant Commandants (Senior School)

[Note: Above Photo Top Row Left to Right: CPT Melvin M. Meineke, CPT John Penfield, CPT Fred V. Rosenberger. Bottom Row Left to Right: CPT Kenneth L. McClintock and LT Fred Jansen.] I never felt any lack of supervision at ENMS during my two years there. The assistant commandants made sure of that. Although these guys directly supervised anybody and everybody, they probably had a primary area of responsibility. For example, LT Fred Jansen during my second year was assigned to keep an eye on the ENMS Band -- the outfit I was in. I suspect that the other assistant commandants did likewise for other grade levels and categories. These guys were everywhere, too. No sooner than you thought maybe you were alone, one of them would walk through your area no matter time of day -- even while you slept, it seemed. No sooner than LT Jansen would make his rounds during study hall in the Junior wing, CPT Meineke would walk through on his way to some place else on campus and also ever vigilant of what he saw and heard. Often the assistant commandants would stop and chat but they maintained a distinct distance so that you did not come to view or depend upon them like you might a father figure. They were there to make sure you didn't step out of line and if you did they merited out the consequences on the spot with verbal mid course corrections and if infractions were severe enough the next day you'd probably report to one of them facing charges that resulted in receiving demerits. [Note: At the end of the spring 1964 semester of my first year, the warmer weather brought increased interest by many cadets in swimming in the recently filled Lake Elsinore. A few times during our afternoon physical education period we were given the green light to put on our swimming trunks and head down the dirt road toward the lake (a road off limits otherwise). So, under supervision of an assistant commandant or two, there I was with other cadets at waters edge jumping into newly filled Lake Elsinore. Immediately, everyone noticed tad poles and frogs in the water and toads at the shoreline -- something unexpected and unique. That's when I got the magnificent idea on how to help rid the main campus of mosquitoes. With an on old empty coffee can in hand, I filled it up with all the toads and frogs I could find and headed back to the water fountain next to Head Quarters building and released them. After all, the little critters would need to be near water. Later that evening I was in the dorm studying away in my underwear (like everyone else) when somebody busted in the dorm and shouted, "Lauer, CPT Meineke wants to see you NOW at HQ. Get going." By the sound of that directive, I sensed trouble but couldn't figure it out. I dressed in a flash and high-tailed it over to HQ and there was CPT Meineke standing there next to the water fountain with a perturbed expression on his face. As I approached him and saluted, he proceeded to ask if I released all these frogs. Obviously, someone saw me do this and as he asked around my name surfaced. I acknowledge that I indeed did it and explained why and then he proceeded with a scathing directive to pick up the toads and frogs and take them back to the lake -- immediately. As I got busy snatching as many as I could and stuffing them back in the coffee can that I fetched from the nearby garbage can, he walked away shaking his head in utter disbelief. He must of thought my intentions honorable because I didn't receive any demerits for this.]Although many people played important roles in the success of ENMS, much of the credit really goes to these guys and the tremendous amount of time they devoted to all of the cadets. Because of their watchful eye and extreme patience and "tough love" guidance, we all got the necessary feedback that helped us understand and apply right from wrong. And although they were tough at times, they were also very gentle and reassuring, like the time I was sorta down in the dumps lying on my bunk in the Junior wing and out of no where CPT Penfield busts into my room and started tickling me and then after about a minute of gut busting laughter, he takes off. When I met up with him at the 2002 ENMS reunion, I thanked him for all the hard work he and the other commandants put in and reminded him of the tickling he gave me that day and how it brightened my spirits. [Note: During my second year, members of the 8th grade class were assigned to come up with a Christmas song to sing at an annual evening celebration in the mess hall. Our assignment was to change the lyrics, though. So, we settled on Jingle Bells and it started out something like, "Bugle calls, bugle calls, bugle calls every day, we're so tired of bugle calls we don't know what to say, hey. . . ." The next morning, the entire Junior wing was awakened not by the bugle playing reveille but by a series of extraordinary explosions. The door opened to my room and cadet WK and I were treated to a fire-cracker tossed under our bunk beds. And, who did this dastardly deed? None other than CPT Penfield who was having a ball giving everyone a break from the routine wake up bugle call.] During my second year, CPT McClintock did not return and LT Jansen appeared to replace him. I don't remember having much interaction with CPT McClintock like I did with CPTs Penfield, Meineke, and LT Jansen. I don't remember having much interaction with CPT Rosenberger either but that doesn't mean he was in the background. Far from it, all these guys were front and center watching all of us closely from dawn to dusk 24/7. They seemed to be collegial and friends -- a team. Guardian angels -- all of them!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

LTC Frederick R. Stimus

[Note: Photo: LTC Frederick R. Stimus, CAL ARNG,
Commandant of Cadets] Talk about a guy right out of central casting. If ever a man was born to play the lead in a movie as commandant of cadets at a military school, LTC F. R. Stimus was it -- period. During the two years I was there, he gave an Academy Award winning performance worthy of Oscars for Best Actor in a Leading Role. He had extraordinary charisma, swagger, and bravado. His mere presence made you take notice. He showed no fear. There will never ever be another like him. I don't know of a cadet during my tenure that didn't respect him. Directly and indirectly through his assistant commandants, he had his eye on every single one of us. [Note: One Sunday, I signed out for Sunday pass and took my junior school brother with me. Of course I had to arrrange everything in advance. Our goal was to hike all the way to the top of the mountain facing the school. Other cadets had done so and I thought it'd be great if Steve and I gave it a try. At the very least we'd work off some tension and get some great fresh air and sunshine. With T-shirt tucked into fatigue pants, boots and caps on, we headed out. As we struggled through the brush and worked our way up the mountain, we'd stop and rest. Even though we may have wanted to turn back, we didn't. Finally, when we got to the top and intersected the road that took off down the other side, to our surprise guess who was standing there at a turn-out with his binoculars scanning the lake. You got it -- LTC Stimus. We thought we accidently ran in to him never thinking that he might have been keeping an eye on us all the time. Who knows, maybe he was just making sure we were safe or he might have thought we were going AWOL. He asked if we wanted a ride back down. We declined and headed back down the mountain to the school. Talk about having a guardian angel with you -- we did.] I remember him standing behind the M-1 rifle cleaning building overlooking cadet corps in formation down by the gymnasium and providing information updates or clarifications of rules and regulations. At most every formation you could see him out of the corner of you eye watching and mentally taking notes. His mere presence in the mess hall kept everybody in line. When you saluted him, he looked you in the eye and saluted back. He scanned every aspect of your nature from your uniform to your attitude as represented by the expression on your face. [Note: My first job as a Registered Technologist was at Santa Monica Hospital in the summer of 1972. One weekend my brother Steve drove down from Santa Barbara and on the spur of the moment we decided to make a quick drive down to ENMS. We hadn't been there since the day we left the end of the spring 1965 semester. It was quite a nostalgic trip for us. When we got there, we walked on campus and found LTC Stimus in the dirt field directly behind the pool area. He had on only a T-Shirt, khaki trousers, and old tennis shoes. It caught us by surprise because if we hadn't know who he was, we might have thought he was just another itinerant worker -- kitchen help taking a break. We went directly up to him and shook his hand and asked him if he remember us. He studied us and then said he had seen so many boys through ENMS that he had trouble keeping them all in his head and apologized for not remembering. After some small talk, Steve and I left wishing we hadn't come because seeing LTC Stimus this way distorted the commanding image we had of him. The next time I would be at ENMS was in 2002 at the reunion where I learned that LTC Stimus was dead and buried in a nearby cemetary. On his head stone I learned he had served as a Master Sergeant in the US Air Force during WWII and Korea and that he was born November 21, 1909 and died February 8, 1993. He was 84.]

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Brief history of Lake Elsinore

[Note: ENMS is the red tiled bldg in center of right photo taken in 2002. At left is barren parade field. Far left is location of former classroom barracks.] Lake Elsinore was incorporated as a city in 1888 (even before Riverside County's creation in 1893) but was inhabited well before then. In the 18th century when the lake was natural it provided a spot for Spanish ranchers and American trappers to replenish their supplies. It was named Elsinore after the Danish city in Shakespeare's "Hamlet", which is now its sister city. The lake went dry in the 1930s and was refilled in the 1960s. [Note: I watched the lake refill as a cadet. It was a big deal watching the blue water reclaim the alkaline dry lake bed as it moved right to left. I'm thinking it was in October of 1963. Before the lake refilled, cadets that went AWOL often headed out across the dry lake bed to make their escape.] More than a week of heavy rains in 1980 flooded the lake, destroying surrounding homes and businesses. Since then there has been a multi-million dollar project put into place to maintain the water supply at a consistent level allowing for homes to be built close to the lake. Unfortunately there are no provisions to allow the water to spill out via a river, so the overflow must be diverted into the Temescal Canyon Wash. In 2007 there was an aeration system added to help with the lake's ecosystem. Lake Elsinore was a popular destination in the first half of the 1900s for celebrities to escape the urban Hollywood scene. Many of their homes still stand on the hills surrounding the lake, including Aimee's Castle (Aimee Semple McPherson), a uniquely shaped house perched on a hill above the water. Rapid population growth altered the appearance and image of Lake Elsinore from a small lakeside town of 3,800 people in 1976 to a bedroom community of upper middle-class professionals. The city and its sphere of influence now has over 38,000 residents as of 2006 and formerly open hillsides have been converted into housing tracts. (Source:,_California)

Brief history of ENMS.

In 1933, 35 year old Lt. Col. Glen R. Conklin, then working as a young commandant at Culver Military School, Culver City, CA started Elsinore Naval and Military School (ENMS) after purchasing a relatively new and defunct Mediterranean-style (red roof tile and columns) country club (constructed in 1924) that was a casualty of the Great Depression. ENMS was a K-12 all male military school that operated from 1933 to 1977. Lt. Col. Conklin died in 1975. In 1977, the school closed after a fire broke out in the lobby. Many cadets came from broken homes, were troubled youths or sons of wealthy families, such as the son of Hollywood Legend Bela Lugosi who played Count Dracula and rich central and south American families. Most students hated ENMS. However, looking back, many now revere their experience. (Sources: Colon, Vanessa: "Ex-Cadets Reunite at Aging Academy," (The Press-Enterprise, October 15, 2002), p. B-4. Burcham, Wayne, Editor: History of ENMS, ENMS 1933-1977: THE ACADEMY 2002, (Wayne Burcham, Hurricane, UT, 2002), pp. 11-28. [Note: Las Vegas was a major recruiting market for LTC Conklin. My brother and I first met him when my parents had an appointment to meet him and discuss all arrangements for our coming to ENMS. It was during the early summer of 1963 that we met him in the lobby of the Riviera Hotel. While at ENMS, I would see LTC Conklin and his wife and family members in the mess hall and occasionally around campus and on the Sunday parade field. But, I don't remember interacting with him much other than an occasional salute and when I had guard duty and was assigned to the main lobby to meet and greet guests and courier mail and packages, etc., around campus. He seemed a bit of an enigma, even though it was very clear to everyone he was -- THE man! He and his wife, Mrs. Pear Conklin, always presented themselves in the highest professional manner. Elegant, classy, and respectable, they both set a shinning example for everyone.] "It was at the Veterans Bureau in Salt lake City that I saw how difficult the rehabilitation of adults was and determined then that education should start with children --- and the rehabilitation of them at an early age." C. R. Conklin. (Source: PORTRAIT OF A PRESIDENT by George Saxon, 1960. and reprinted in the THE ACADEMY 2002 by Wayne Burcham, p. 23. ) [Please go to Dennis Guzik's web site for a phenomenal look at ENMS as it appears today:]

Friday, April 18, 2008

First day at ENMS.

I believe it was a day in early September 1963 that I in-processed at ENMS. Mom and Grandma took brother Steve to the Junior School side of campus to get him squared away (clothing, shoes, bedding, etc.) Dad and sister Janet took me down to the lower part of campus where I did same. I remember some of the commandant's wives giving directions to drop pants and try on fatigues and boots and hats and dress blues. When it was all over veteran cadet MS grabbed a box that contained my bedding and he led me up to the dorm in my shinny new green fatigues where he found me a locker for my stuff and showed me how to make my bed. "Square corners" was a new and interesting skill to master. Shortly thereafter, the family met for the last time before they took Steve back to the junior school dorm and I realized then I would not be able to see him anytime soon. In a light drizzling rain, I stood there looking through the chain-link fence adjacent to the Head Quarters building as my parents, Grandma, and big sister headed back to Vegas waving goodbye. With eyes filled with tears and feeling alone for the first time in my life, I headed back to the dorm -- my new home. On the way, a veteran cadet AW walked by with a small portable radio up against his ear. As I looked over at him he said, "What the f--- are you looking at!"

Life before ENMS.

[Note: Photo L to R: Gma, Steve, Janet, Gary (me), Mom, Dad] I went to ENMS because I was the product of a troubled family and my parents reached out to ENMS for help. We resided in Las Vegas, Nevada at the time (1963). I had just finished the 6th grade. Both parents worked very hard in the grocery industry (he a meat cutter and she a grocery checker). They were having an increasingly difficult time keeping it all together as their three children grew and developed. They particularly had a problem with my older sister Janet (age 16) whose "attitude" pushed my Mom and Dad's hot buttons to the max. She was always whacking me and Steve when we got in her way. She was in a big hurry to grow up. In puberty, into dating, girl friends, staying out late -- a pain in the butt, if you get my drift. Steve and I generated our fair share of madness and mayhem too responding emotionally to everything going on around us -- like children do. At our core we were good kids with great energy but at times it was way too much for our parents to handle. A lot of the parenting responsibility defaulted to older sister Janet and she was getting very tired of it. In fact, the entire family was wearing out. Mom tried integrating some Methodist values. She loved being around people. Dad was pretty much a loner with no religious or spiritual leanings and only a few distant friends -- mainly deer hunting buddies. The product of divorced parents, he was close to his mother -- my Grandma, who lived in Las Vegas also with her husband -- the only man I ever knew as Grandpa. My grandparents always pitched in with a helping hand and took Steve and I for the weekends on fishing trips. But, they never understood why we were sent to ENMS. Funny, I didn't either. [Note: In the 6th grade I decided to invite some of my classmates to my house (first and last time I ever did that) to celebrate my 11th birthday party. I didn't know if anyone from class would come but just about everyone I invited came and they brought gifts. The party got started around 5 pm and my folks got off work and came home around 7 pm. There I was doing the twist, slow dancing, and doing the "Limbo" and really having a great time. Several pretty girls were there as well and they were paying me attention. When my parents took it in Mom rushed back to the store and bought cake and ice cream to make up for my lack of planning. Dad got out his Kodak Brownie 8mm movie camera and filmed the party -- flood lights blaring. Then, at the conclusion of my birthday party, Mom piled everyone in the station wagon and drove everyone home. It must have been 10 pm or later when the event ended and looking back I can only imagine how exhausted the folks must have been. But what the heck did I know. I just had a great time turning 11 years old.] So, the folks got the idea that sending big sister off to a girls boarding school in Arizona might tone things down. Sure sounded logical to Steve and I. Certainly would solve our biggest problem -- our big "bully" sister. But, now here's the kicker, she threatened to run away if they sent her to boarding school and that's when the tide turned against Steve and I in her favor. You see my Dad's deer hunting buddy had sent his son to ENMS and that nurtured the idea that maybe if Steve and I went that would provide the breathing room the family needed. Although our parents would have a difficult time paying tuition, they managed to scrape up enough to send us away for at least two years in an attempt to relieve their stress. (Had they been able to afford it, I'm sure Steve and I would have remained at ENMS and graduate 12th grade.) Steve and I adamantly objected to going to ENMS but we weren't smart, big or strong enough to do anything stunning like threaten to run away. However, after two years at ENMS, Steve and I began to excel and seriously became integrated into the ENMS culture. When our folks couldn't afford to send us back for a third year, we felt like we had once again lost our family -- only this time our ENMS family of brothers and commandants. After going to the 2002 ENMS Reunion, I reflected about what it might have been like had I remained at ENMS all the way through high school. There are some pros and cons here that I hope to discuss later in this blogg. Oh, by the way, that son of Dad's deer hunting buddy that went to ENMS? He went AWOL during my first year there and didn't return to ENMS during my second year. Oh, and did going to ENMS solve the family problem? Nope. Although being apart for two years made us realize more how important we were to each other, it didn't take long for the original dysfunctional family dynamics to re-emerge once we were all back together again pushing each others hot buttons. Only this time, Steve and I were older, bigger, and wiser. [Note: When I disclose to others that I went to a military school for two years during junior high school, often the response or expression on their face is, "What did you do that was so bad to result in your being sent to military school?" This is especially true of those with an aversion to anything military. Although Steve, me and the Beaver may have thought we had a lot in common, our parents were NOT June and Ward Cleaver and big sister Janet was NOT Wally! We were a family in trouble and my parents not having the capability to solve it, like other parents with similar problems, turned to ENMS.]