One of the best kept secrets of Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp life is the answer to a simple question: What can I bring with me?
I was told to bring a money order for the initial deposit to my commissary account. I was also told not to do this. I didn’t, and instead gave that money to my daughter who sent it my account directly via Money Gram. That is definitely what I would recommend as it was available as soon as I was able to get into my account. I was told not bring pictures. I brought one and it was allowed in. I was told I could bring an inexpensive watch. In fact I owned a Timex Ironman which is sold in the commissary, so I wore it. It was not allowed. I was told I could bring a Bible. I brought one and it was not allowed. It might be that the rules are intentionally vague and greatly dependent upon the C.O. (Corrections Officer) who completes the check in. I think mine was having a bad day as I was quite charming in my demeanor. A Bible, for God’s sake?
One might think that a recovering Baptist like myself would miss the Bible the most. But it wasn’t even a close second. It was the watch. I’m used to knowing what time it is and I certainly function better when I do. Here I don’t have a clue. I’ve missed meals entirely but shown up early for everything else.
The last morning before I finally bought my watch, I was so excited about getting it that I wanted to get up at 5:50 am to be at the commissary when it opened at 6:00 am. I woke up, saw the light on in the main hall and my deductive powers concluded that it must be at least 5:30 am as the Chow Hall crew were already at work. I climbed down from my top bunk, got dressed in the dark but couldn’t see the clock in my wing, probably from the heat waves distorting my vision as we still don’t have AC…but that’s another story. Now fully dressed, I walked over to the other wing. After I oriented myself to the semi-frigid 78 degree air, I saw the clock. 4:05 am. I was about to turn around and go back to bed when I got a flashlight in my face. The C.O., who was in the middle of doing his 4:00 am bunk count, yelled, “What the hell are you doing over here?” as if having a flashback from Operation Desert Storm.
I replied, “I’m going back to bed, but I’m getting my watch today.” I think he understood.