Chapter 2, Part 3
BEING PLACED IN MORE BEHAVIOR HOMES FOR TROUBLED KIDS
So…for way more reasons than just the stuff I outlined in the previous story, I was then sent to a behavior home for children called Metroplex. I lived there for 2+ months the first time (yes, I had to go back later).
In Metroplex it was…I don’t know how else to say it…a prison for children? I know it sounds extreme, but this is how I imagined it being locked in a building for months at a time. The smell of chemicals they used to clean the building still sits with me today.
Probably the same reason I hate the smell and feeling of a hospital. I dread it.
In Metroplex, I would have to see psychologists several times a week. Numerous medications were fed to me a few times a day and you slept in a room with 3-5 other children.
If you got out of control, they gave you a BIG bouncy ball about the size of your fist and then they locked you inside a pink room that was solid concrete to play with yourself until you get tired. With the bouncy ball…you perv. lol
There were token systems consisting of green, yellow and red lights. The lights determined how good you were throughout the day. If you didn’t mess up at all, you would receive a green light. If you messed up 2 times, you would receive a yellow light and only be able to get a lesser item from the goodie bag. If you received a red light, you got no item at all. You can imagine how rarely I received a green light.
If you were good and received a green light at the end of the school day, you could get something as cool as a small bouncy ball or a thing that made a “MOO” sound when you turn it upside down from the goodie bag.
Also, you would accumulate good days. And at the end of the week if you got green lights all week you got a bigger item from the goodie bag.
I was young, so I only remember the small pieces of Metroplex.
Then again, that issue could be blamed on the medication. What I recall more is after I earned my way out of Metroplex the first time I later had to go to Cedar Crest, which was just another kind of Metroplex.
It was just a different system, but instead of being all in one building like a prison, all of the buildings were separated. All about 50 yards apart from one another. They all locked from the inside so we couldn’t escape, and there were two locked doors before you could get in or out of any building.
Your family couldn’t just come to see you either. You could only see family if you earned 24 or 48-hour passes to leave the premises or on-premises passes. Yes, you couldn’t see your own family even if they wanted to see you unless you were good. So seeing your family was a reward. WTF.
I also went to school there. The classes were clustered. Kids from 4th to 8th grade all in the same class.
We had a cafeteria, a gymnasium, and a pool as you can see in the middle.
And you slept in a room with 5-7 other kids every night.
We went to school 5 days a week like normal kids. The school was a building across from the building we lived in. The cafeteria where we ate all of our meals was also in that building. That included breakfast, lunch AND dinner.
Eventually, somehow – and I say somehow because I truly have no idea how this happened – I got out. I was released back into the wild as a more medicated child.
I specifically remember the part where if a kid earned his way out, they could pick 1 friend to stay up and play Super Nintendo with allllllll night until you fell asleep AND you got unlimited pizza.
That night when I got out is one of the most memorable nights of my life. I felt free INSIDE a place you are caged. We ate pizza and planned on staying up all night, but of course, as a kid, I fell asleep by like 2 AM thinking I’d last all night.
I remember a staff member would sit in the big open room with you and just let you do your thing playing the Super Nintendo – an amazing feeling after 6 months of no freedom near that.