When I look back on all of this, I’m embarrassed to share with you how childish and immature I was when I graduated from high school. This all began at an after graduation ceremony party when four of my best friends invited me to come along with them for a two week trip down to Fort Lauderdale Florida. I thought my parents could fund my going alone with them as a combination 18th birthday and graduation present. But I was wrong. I think my father might have approved had my mother not been so adamantly against my going on an unsupervised trip with other teenaged boys. She also made it clear that she wanted me home for that summer because I was scheduled to leave for college in California in three months’ time, so she wanted to make the most out of what little time we had left before I headed off to California.
To make matters worse, my mother didn’t just say no, but stressed that she felt having unsupervised teenaged boys in Florida was asking for trouble. And by that she meant having sex with disease infested girls while consuming alcohol and marijuana. And most of all, she felt we would get in trouble with the law. I spent hours trying to convince her that because I had always been responsible that she should trust me. And when I began to realize that she wasn’t going to budge on this issue, I began to ignore her. I wouldn’t even talk to her when she addressed me, and I began to stay out of the house as much as possible. To make matters even worse, when I explained my mother’s feelings to my friends, they made fun of me and call me a momma’s boy.
The thing was, I couldn’t blame them, and so I decided to get back at my mother by planning a trip of my own. I didn’t tell anyone about my plans, not even my friends who were about to leave for Fort Lauderdale. Instead, I pulled as much money out of my bank account that I could without drawing my parents’ attention. And then I collect all of the money I had stashed around my bedroom, mostly graduation and birthday gift money, so I would be able to leave the day after my friends left for their fun trip to Florida.
I started packing up my car with camping gear and other essentials the night after my friends left for Fort Lauderdale while my parents slept. Then I got up before my parents awoke that next morning and left without telling a soul.
You might wonder why I was being so clandestine about my departure, and the reason was that my father is a detective for the city of Charleston, and so I had no doubt that he knew how to track people down. So instead of heading down to Fort Lauderdale where I was sure he would look for me, I headed for Lake Moultrie which is only about forty-five miles from my patents home. I chose that area because it was a place I was familiar with as my parents have a vacation home there. The thing was, I wanted to teach my parents a lesson by going anyplace they weren’t. And because I didn’t want my father to be able to trace my movements through credit card transactions for gas and groceries, Lake Moultrie seemed like the perfect destination. It was a place where I could get by for several weeks on the little cash I had gathered, yet a place where I could kick back and enjoy my alone time.
When I look back on all of that, I know I was acting like a spoiled brat who wanted to make his parents worry and suffer for not trusting me, and so that they might think about treating me more like an adult in the future. After all, I had just legally became a man only two weeks earlier.
So because I didn’t want my whereabouts to be traceable, instead of heading to my parent’s vacation home on Lake Moultrie, I headed for to the other side of the small town of Bonneau. There I spotted an unoccupied vacation home that was quite similar to my parent’s vacation home. And because it was similarly situated on land that sloped down toward the lake, I knew it would have a decent basement area under its back side. I parked my car on a secluded dead end road, and then walked back to the property. As I suspected, the place seemed to be closed down and secured, all except for the basement area under its rear deck.
The lake was only about 100 feet from the house, and there was a nice beach and boat dock there. To me it seemed perfect, so I went back to my car, gathered my clothes, food, and camping gear, and then returned to the property to set up a nice little lair under that house. In my mind I was all set for at least two weeks. There was a working electric light under the deck so I could both see and read at night. And in the day time I could fish, swim, and hike, all without spending a single dime. To me it seemed to be the exact kind of hiding place I was looking for.