Marietta, Georgia Straight
July 10, 1989 to December 1990
The real names of all the people involved in this copout story have been completely changed to protect the privacy of these individuals.
It was December 1990 and I had been on fifth phase between one to three months at that time. I had been back at Osbourne High School since September 1990. I made friends with a couple of girls at School who had no connection to Straight.Marietta, Georgia Straight was literally a mile or two from Osbourne High School. A lot of kids from Straight attended that school because it was very close to the building. No matter where the hosthome was they always went to that school.
They said they always knew a person was in Straight because we just looked different and we girls never wore makeup. This made it easier why you didn`t have to explain why you looked and acted weird.
Some months earlier in August of 1990 my parents had purchased me a brand new 1990 Burgundy Accord. It was a very nice car and I always enjoyed driving it. I had a real good run with that car. I ended up driving that car for the next nine years. My hostsisters house was very close to Straight and the High School.
On that cold winter morning in December 1990 I drove my hostsister and our two newcomers over to the dark Straight Building and dropped them off. Those two newcomers didn`t know it but I knew that this was the very last day that I would be their oldcomer. My hostsister also had no idea this would be my last day at Straight. I would never see the three of them again after this day.
I never went to Osbourne High School on that day or ever again for that matter. After I dropped everyone off at the infamous Straight building I then copped out. I was gone. I was so out of there. I drove off into the distance and then vanished out of sight. I had really done it. This wasn`t a dream. I didn`t plan this escape long in advance. I made my wise decision to escape sometime during that morning or the night before. I was finally finished with Straight Incorporated forever. I was on Cloud Nine. This time when I copped out I was in a much better and stronger situation then I was the first time I escaped from Straight back in April 1990. One of these reasons was because I had a car to drive.I had transportation and I didn`t have to depend on others for rides.
At some point during the winter evening of the first or second day of my copout freedom, I called up my parents in Atlanta,Georgia from a local payphone somewhere in Marietta,Georgia. I spoke with my mom on the phone. The powers that be at Straight had already contacted my folks and let them know that I had copped out. One of my reasons for calling my parents was I didn`t want them to worry about me. One major reason I called up my parents was because they owned the 1990 Burgundy Accord that they purchased for me back in August 1990. I didn`t want my parents calling up the Georgia Police and reporting the car as stolen. This would have resulted in me getting arrested and thrown in jail and eventually Prosecuted for Grand Theft Auto. I both wanted and needed to avoid all of that. I wanted to call my parents and have a civil and respectable conversation with them and let them know that I was sober,sane and ok. I wanted to appease my parents and to be on very good terms with them especially in light of my recent circumstances. I wanted to establish and build a positive relationship with them now that I was finally finished with Straight. I wanted my parents to know that I was fine and that I wasn`t out drinking and doing drugs. So I had a very civil and productive conversation with my mom on the phone. I told her that I had left Straight but we didn`t argue about it or anything else for that matter. The entire phone call conversation went exactly the way that I wanted it to go plus it was 100% free of drama. I was very relieved. One less thing to worry about.
My first night of freedom from Straight I stayed with this guy named Alan. Alan who used to be a client/prisoner in the Marietta, Georgia Straight at one time. He was confined at Straight for nine months or longer. He never graduated from Straight. It was Alan or it was his mom who withdrew him from Straight. At some point when I was in Straight, Alan got this part job at a local Chuck E. Cheese restaurant. He was the Chuck E. Cheese mascot. He later quit this job soon after I had copped out. He lived with his mom and grandmother in Marietta, Georgia. I stayed with them at their house my first night copped out of Straight. Sometime between midnight and 4:00am I woke up and went downstairs to the kitchen to get something to drink. After I walked down the stairs I turned the lights on. Suddenly I noticed that Alan`s grandmother was downstairs in the living room. She was wide awake with her eyes wide open, sitting in an old chair and just staring off into space in the darkness with this blank look on her face. This endless stare at nothing. In her mind she saw something but whatever it was I couldn`t see it. It was clear she was deep and far away in her own World. Physically she was right there in that house but mentally she was over several Billion miles away. It was very strange and freaky. I quickly got my drink and went right back upstairs. I just couldn`t get that unpleasant image of that woman out of my mind. Made me extremely uncomfortable it did. I didn`t sleep well that night. At my insistence, Alan and I moved out the following day. That weird scene with his grandmother really creeped me out royally to the nth degree so it wasn`t long after that when I decided I wasn`t going to stay at that house any longer. I was leaving and never coming back to that place ever again.
The very next day Alan and I moved out and we got a room at this local Motel 6 located somewhere in Marietta,Georgia. We were in a room on the second floor. It didn`t cost very much to stay there. It was pretty much dirt cheap at $23.00 per night. I paid for the first week. During that first week Alan and I did alcohol, crack, marijuana, hash acid and cocaine. People would always be hanging out in on the Motel 6 Balconies and be talking,drinking and smoking. There was “The Waffle House” which was located right next door to The Motel 6 that you could walk to. We ate there a few times. The food was exquisite and mouthwatering. I quickly struck up this fast friendship with this young woman named Betty. I met her out on the second floor front balcony one day. She was in her twenties who was at that Motel 6. She typically wasn`t very talkative. She had blonde hair said she her occupation was that she was a massage Therapist. There were rumors,gossip and speculation going around that she really made her money through Prostitution. I don`t know if she lived at that Motel 6 or if she was just there working at a prostitute. We never once asked her about the prostitution rumors and to this day I honestly have no idea if they were true or not. At some point she moved in with us and for the next two weeks the three of us constantly stayed drunk and high in our motel room on pot,hash,crack and cocaine. Sometimes she was kind enough to pay for the drugs herself.
That night we all went out to this party which was located deep in the bowels of these dark Georgia woods. It was me and these four guys that piled into this car. I was so freaked out in my own World. We drove on this gravel road deep into the woods. We finally arrived at this clearing which was located very far into those woods. There might have been a roaring campfire or blazing bonfire that night. There were five people already there when we arrived and another ten or more people showed up at the clearing later on. Everyone there was getting drunk and high and talking and walking around. All of these strange people wondering around all over the woods in the dark of night. It was like a scene from the 1968 horror film “Night Of The Living Dead.” At some point during the party I remember being in that car with the same guys I arrived there with. The redneck driver was so wasted out of his mind and he was driving furiously around in circles ten times or more or doing doughnuts ten times or more. He was shamelessly grandstanding and showing off in front of everyone there. I wasn`t impressed at all and I don`t think anyone else was either. Not at all. When we all left the party we were all being driven home by that very same brainless idiot who had driven us all to that party in the first place. He was driving crazy all the way home. He was wasted. He was bonkers out of his mind on booze and drugs and the car was all over the road. He was laughing crazy. It was insane. He was speeding and driving erratically on the road through those woods. Once he was out of the woods it was more of the same crazy crap all over again as he continued driving dangerously on the other roads.
I didn`t like it at all and felt very unsafe the entire time. I finally had enough and I turned to one of the guys sitting next to me and said something like, “I want to get out of this car now. Please make the driver stop and let us out.” My friend told the driver to stop the car and he did. The driver let us out. I was so relieved and so happy when I finally got out of that car hoping I would never see that driver guy ever again in my Life. I was so very happy to finally get out of that dangerous situation. It was a miracle that jackass clown didn`t get us all killed while he was driving us to and from that stupid party that night.
One day soon after moving into Motel 6 I was driving down some road when I happened to notice this place called “Blue Skies Of Georgia. ” I just had this perception and still do that most restaurants anytime are always game for interview positions. I went inside and applied for a job. So I quickly got a job as a cocktail waitress at this interesting and unforgettable place called “Blue Skies Of Georgia” located in Marietta,Georgia. It was a dive bar and a hole in the wall and that`s putting it mildly. It constantly reeked of booze and cigarette smoke. A smoke filled dungeon of darkness. The customers who showed up there were mostly middle aged men to older men in their 40`s and older who were regulars who constantly and shamelessly flirted with all of us waitresses. There were down and outers. They were white redneck men who typically wore old and dirty T-Shirts,loud flannel shirts and old baseball caps. They were drunks and drug addicts and other lost people. Lots and lots of strange and unusual characters going in and out of that place every single day. The people who owned or managed “Blue Skies Of Georgia” were dealing drugs out of that place. Cocaine to be exact. The uniforms we had to wear were very cheap and we waitresses were half naked. Those skimpy uniforms were very similar to the ones the waitresses wear at Hooters. The customers were really cheap and tacky the tips were just horrible. The lighting inside that place was terrible. It was a very dark place. My shift schedule typically was that I worked from 4:30pm till midnight or 1:00am. The ugly men there constantly flirted with me. I hated about everything about that job. I hated the terrible tipping from the obnoxious customers, I hated wearing the cheap and demeaning outfits that all of us waitresses were required to wear. The shorts were black and the shirts were black and red. The shirt looked like a sports bra. It was a skimpy work outfit. I disliked the whole atmosphere at that place. I remember these two customers who looked to be in their late 40`s/early 50`s. They were redneckish but they were always real nice to me. They were fun to talk with. They were very flirty with me but never in a negative way. They were terrible tippers just like the rest of the customers who frequented that place. One time after work I went home once with one of the younger customers to his place because he said he had lots of weed there we could smoke. We got really stoned and then had sex and then I went on home after two or three in the morning. When I got home I lied by telling Alan that I had simply worked late.
One fine day Alan, Betty and I drove out to downtown Atlanta to this awesome restaurant called “The Varsity” located on 61 North Avenue. The employees there were extremely nice. They serve fresh hot dogs, ground beef for chili, hamburger patties, bread and produce. They also serve Chili, French Fries, Onion Rings, Fried Pies, Chicken Salad, Pimento Cheese, Varsity Orange Drink, and Garden Salads. All of the food is beyond delicious. Everyone always loves eating there. It`s always been a very successful place that is still in business to this very day. I recommend it to everyone.
At some point I got $100.00 from my sweet Grandmother. This was very kind of her. This was a Christmas gift from her to me. One day both Alan and I drove over to Conyers,Georgia which was where this Straight Survivor named Marshall lived. This was about a forty-five minute to one hour drive. Marshall was eighteen years old and living at home with his parents in an apartment in Conyers,Georgia. He was a very quiet person who was very,very shy. He was actually painfully shy and he hung out by himself most of the time. He was one of those “quiet rebels.” Literally the guy did not talk. He was very introverted. He lived inside his own World and inside his own head He only spoke when it was only absolutely necessary. He was very melancholy. Marshall used to be in Marietta, Georgia Straight between eighteen months and two years. He was one of those silent and loner types who would dig in his heels and rebel. He went through these painful periods at Straight when he got constantly restrained a lot on the ice cold concrete floor in the back of group. So we drove out there to the town of Conyers and arrived at this really obscure location out in the boonies. We met up with Marshall at some lonely dirt,country road on the side of a quiet Georgia highway. At some point he stopped his car and got out. We got out and all three of us talked for awhile. We were way out in the sticks. Lots of thick woods and dirt roads. Marshall gave us some suggestions in advance because we were going to be buying from serious drug dealers. He told us things like just drive up, have the money ready to give to them, leave the car running the entire time,make sure all the car doors are locked and don`t ever get out of the car. He knew we were suburban white kids that didn`t know what we were doing basically. I remember being very afraid of what we were about to do. So Alan and I meet up with the drug dealers on this dirt road way out in the sticks. I drove to were they were waiting for us. We followed all of Mark`s suggestions. So they came up to the car window. They charged us $100.00 for the cocaine. We couldn`t give them that money quick enough. Strictly business and no nonsense. They wanted to get the deal done and over with just as much as we did. We purchased the cocaine and got out of there real fast. Faster then fast. Once the deal was done the wheels of our car were spinning and we were out of there forever.
That day or the next day we drove over to Dorothy`s apartment located in Roswell,Georgia. Dorothy was nineteen or twenty years old and her boyfriend looked like he was in was in his thirties. They were both toxic junkies who were very deep in their addictions. Dorothy had been in the Marietta, Georgia Straight in 1989 and possibly part of 1990. She was most likely Court Ordered to Straight because she was of adult age when she went in there. Dorothy came to Straight directly from Jail. I know that Dorothy was a stripper who was heavy into the crack-cocaine scene long before ending up at Straight. Dorothy was arrested for Prostitution and she went right from jail to Straight. Out of the frying pan and into the fire. She soon found out to her horror that Straight was countless times worse then any jail. She was in Straight for at least six months and then she ended up withdrawing herself. So Alan and I showed up at their empty apartment with the newly purchased cocaine. Dorothy and her boyfriend had been evicted from this apartment for not paying rent. I have no idea why they were both still there but yet they were still there. On that day when Alan and I were there, I noticed the apartment was basically empty. No furniture at all except for this one couch. They didn`t have any electricity in their apartment anymore because it had been turned off because they didn`t pay the electric bills.
Dorothy`s boyfriend cooked up the cocaine for us on their old gas stove. This was one of the two times in my Life when I both purchased and used cocaine. Cocaine just wasn`t my thing at all. Not at all. The four of us all started getting high together on that old couch. At some point Alan started bitterly complaining that he couldn`t breathe and he wanted to be taken to the local Hospital.
I quickly responded by saying, “We can`t take you to the Hospital because if we do we will all get in trouble.” I know that wasn`t going to be a kind or popular thing to say but I said it anyway.
Alan and I drove back to that Motel 6. I never saw Dorothy ever again after that day.
After the two weeks we stayed at Motel 6, Alan and I didn`t have anymore money plus we were very short on options so at the last minute we decided to move in with the ex-husband of Alan`s sister. His name was Cliff and he lived with a woman named Jenny in Canton,Georgia. Cliff and Jenny were unmarried and both were bi-sexual lovers who had an open relationship. They were both nice people and they let us stay at their house. Alan and I ended up staying with them for two weeks.
At some point I came clean by telling Alan that I had cheated on him with one of the customers at “Blue Skies Of Georgia.” This was sometime in December 1990. I remember Alan being more hurt then angry.
A couple of weeks later sometime in January 1991 I began to feel these sharp pains in my pelvic area so I went to a local Doctor. They ran a battery of tests on me and I was told later that I was pregnant. The day I found out I was pregnant I went home and smoked one joint. That was the very last time I ever did drugs. I have been 100% clean and sober ever since that day. To this day I have no idea if my pregnancy resulted from Alan or from that customer from “Blue Skies Of Georgia.” Soon after getting this pregnancy news I quit my job at the “Blue Skies Of Georgia.” I had worked there for a month. Quitting was the right thing to do and I felt extremely relieved when I left that job.
Alan and I broke up a couple of weeks after finding out that I was pregnant. I moved out right away. We had been together for six weeks and then we parted company forever and we never saw each other again. Breaking up with Alan was a blessing in so many ways for which I will always be grateful for. One day I asked this fellow Straight Survivor named Oliver to accompany me while I picked up my stuff from the residence because I didn`t want any drama or trouble with Alan. Oliver had been in Straight for two to three years. He had run for doors a lot as a newcomer and he had copped out several times as an oldcomer which is why he was there for three long years before Graduating. I needed to pick up all of my clothes and my art supplies. So Oliver drove me over there in his red pickup truck. Alan wasn`t there. We both went upstairs to my room. Upon entering my room we immediately discovered that Alan had completely trashed the room. All of my clothes and art supplies were dumped, scattered and littered all over the floor all over the room. Alan left me a nasty note calling me a bunch of unpleasant names. It was low class and low rent behavior from Alan. Still, it didn`t surprise me because Alan was never was a bright or classy person to begin with. Oliver and I didn`t stay there long at all. I wanted to get all my stuff and get out of there as fast as possible because I didn`t want any type of confrontation with Alan if he happened to show up. So we got all my stuff and we got out of there. I was so very happy to finally leave Alan and that place behind once and for all.
I bounced around for a couple of weeks. The trunk of my car was like my suitcase in that it was filled, packed and overflowing with all of my personal belongings.
I moved in with two Straight Graduates who lived in a condo somewhere in Marietta,Georgia who were both Junior staff members at Straight and who both were in a romantic relationship together. I stayed there for two or three days.
I got this job working as a Telemarketer for this Tanning Salon which was located in Smyrna or Marietta,Georgia. I worked there for less then a week. I remember spending one night at the home of my horny, ugly, redneck boss because I needed a place to stay. He never technically touched me but he was very unprofessional and very verbally flirtatious and it became very clear very early on that he had ulterior motives. I decided very quickly on that I wasn`t going to stay there one more night and be subjected to that garbage so I left the very next day. That wise decision officially marked the end of that brief telemarketing job but I didn`t care at all.
In January-February of 1991 I went to live with my Grandparents. My Grandparents had never liked or agreed with Straight. They never once tried to talk me into ever going back there. I was worn out and exhausted from Straight and all the events that had happened since leaving there. I needed to decompress and that`s what I did. It was during this time when I remember doing a lot of sleeping and reading during that month. I read this thick,hardback biography book on the life and death of Hollywood movie star Marilyn Monroe. It was also during this month when I started dating this Straight Survivor named Oliver. Oliver had been at Marietta, Georgia Straight for two to three years and then he Graduated.
Oliver had a younger brother named Brad who had also been in Straight. Brad had knee surgery at some point during his time in Straight. The staff at Straight would not allow Brad to have any pain medication at all in the hours,days and weeks after his surgery. This made his surgery recovery vastly much more unpleasant and difficult. Brad died of a drug related heart attack many years later in South Carolina in August 2016.
Oliver and I lived in Marrieta,Georgia from March 1991 to June 1991 at a place which was located ironically near the Straight Building. We lived with a Straight Survivor named Owen. Owen at one time had been a staff member at the Marrieta,Georgia Straight. It was during this time when I got a job working at a local Dairy Queen in Marrieta,Georgia. I served the various customers by making them ice cream cones. I only worked there one week. What happened was right after I started working there I was involved a car accident. Some lady rear ended me and a few days later I experienced very bad back pains. When I couldn`t work because of these awful back pains I called up my boss at work one morning and explained the entire situation to him. I was then promptly, abruptly (and unfairly) fired from my job at that The Dairy Queen.
Oliver and I moved to Stone Mountain in May or June 1991. We lived with his family there for a year and a half. Oliver and I would go to these parties that were hosted by and attended by other Straight Survivors. These parties were typically held in Marietta,Georgia and Smyrna,Georgia. These were the only social situations I felt comfortable in because I was around other people who I shared this unique bond with. This bond of having been in the crazy cult of Straight Incorporated. So many times I had to drag Oliver to these survivor parties because he was such an introvert he didn`t want to go. I wanted to go to these events and he didn`t.
Oliver`s mom and I would go for afternoon and evening walks at Stone Mountain Park. Oliver`s family co-owned this lake house with another family. The nice house was located on “Lake Hartwell.” A very beautiful place. Lake Hartwell is a man-made reservoir bordering Georgia and South Carolina on the Savannah,Tugaloo, and Seneca Rivers. This was right near I-85 right before entering South Carolina. We would pass the time by doing fun things such as going swimming in the lake, laying out on the dock and getting suntans, playing cards and sitting out on the dock and hanging out.
At some point I decided to go back to school. The school I attended was called “Dekalb Open Campus” and it was located in the edge of the Atlanta City Limits on North Druid Hills Road. I finished my whole senior year in six months time. I got my High School Diploma in March 1992.
I went away to “Savannah College Of Art And Design” on 342 Bull Street in Savannah,Georgia. in September 1992 where I studied Interior Design for a year and a half.
I broke up with Oliver sometime in December 1993. I just didn`t see a future together for us as lifetime partners. There was no drama at all in this breakup. No bad blood. No arguing. No negativity of any kind. We both parted company with class, mutual respect and on very good terms.
I then transferred over to a school called “Armstrong College” on 11935 Abercorn Street in Savannah,Georgia where I studied Psychology for two years from the Fall of 1994 to the Spring of 1996.
I and other Straight Survivors were constantly in touch with a lot of other people who had also been clients at the Marietta, Georgia Straight at one time or another over the years. We got some awful bad and sad news one day through some other Straight Survivors. That Georgia Straight Survivor named Marshall who had helped Alan and I buy that cocaine from those drug dealers eleven months earlier in December 1990 ended up killing himself eleven months later on Thanksgiving Day on November 1991 in Conyers,Georgia. He fatally shot himself. Someone in his family had found him dead in one of the bathrooms of the house. I found out about his shocking suicide from other Straight Survivors. In the months leading up to his suicide Marshall was really bad off. He was a junkie who was drowning in his addiction. He was shooting up and he just couldn`t stop using. This reminded me of times when Marshall spoke in raps at Straight about how he was a junkie before coming to Straight. Marshall`s funeral was the first funeral I had ever attended in my Life. I had nothing else to compare it to. It was Sunny (which was surreal) and very cold that day. There were a lot of people there. The funeral was well attended. It was a closed casket funeral. His funeral was horrible. Marshall had a sister at his funeral who was completely devastated by his death. It was very understandable. She was crying her eyes out. She literally threw herself on top of his casket. I was a basket case too. Everyone there was also crying. It was heartbreaking for all of us. A lot of people at the funeral were Straight graduates and non-graduates. A lot of friends and family were also there who were not connected at all to Straight.
The pain and misery of having another friend and Georgia Straight Survivor die happened yet again. This time it happened in the year of 1995.
This death hit everyone to close to home just as Marshall`s death did. It was traumatic and devastating. This time her name was Debbie. She had been in Georgia Straight for three to four years and then she graduated. Her older sister Donna was also in the Straight cult. Her older sister Donna had copped out for three months one time. She was copped out when I had first entered Straight back in July 1989. Debbie had only smoked one joint when she was twelve years old and her parents freaked out and put her in Straight. She was the youngest one in group. She basically grew up in Marietta, Georgia Straight. She didn`t get out of there until she was fifteen or sixteen years old. Debbie was pregnant when she died. She was hit by a car on a country highway. Some people believe strongly that she killed herself. I attended her Funeral in “Anniston,” Alabama sometime during that Summer of 1995. This was the first and only time time I ever attended an open casket funeral. I was not down with that at all. I was totally unprepared for it. This was very freaky and bothersome to me because she was my friend and she was very young. And because for her in particular Debbie was an extremely lively,energetic, giggly and fun person so for me to see her like that was very weird. I didn`t want to see her that way. Seeing her lying there like that was weird and disturbing. Her sister Donna was a total basket case and understandably so. We all were. Everyone there was. They were very close in age and very close. There was a Reception held after the Funeral was over.
On that freezing cold winter morning in December 1990 when I copped out a second time I never returned back to Marietta, Georgia Straight ever again.