Thank you all for your kind words, and understanding. I had to take a few days break; the roller-coaster ride is just beginning.
One thing I wanted to ask was , how come you didn't write home or call home and ask them to send you some clothes ? I think the WTBTS should have helped you there anyway but surely your gung ho parents would be willing to send some clothes or food for you.
I did ask my folks for a little money, now and then...but they didn't have much to give. And, to be honest, I was so embarrassed that I mostly just did my best to try and muddle on through, waiting for the next $14 allowance.
Usually what Bethelites would do is walk around in the congregations to which they were assigned, with their "hand stretched out behind their backs," and take "donations" from the brothers and sisters (who usually felt so blessed to have a Bethelite in their midst that--well, it was automatic). Others did G-jobs (as they were called).
I didn't intend this story to be about the specifics of Bethel life (the daily routine, etc.) But, as an additional answer to your question, I will share this one unique experience, which touches not only on how it was possible to make extra money, but also on the nature of Bethel life:
As I said, I worked in the janitorial department. Well, one of our obvious daily duties was to do the rounds and empty all the trash bins. In the course of doing that, we would accumulate an incredible quantity of glass bottles and metal cans--the vast majority (and I do mean the vast majority) of which were containers for alcoholic beverages. In fact, we collected so many of these that the fellow in charge of the trash room got this notion one day: how about if we just get ourselves some 55-gallon metal drums, crush all these containers, and send them down the street (via a WTS truck, driven by a confidant [who, of course, got a "cut]) and sell this stuff for scrap value?
Wow!!! What a great idea. And so, each week, we'd send down enough stuff (it had to be on a Saturday afternoon, of course--after work hours, when nobody would notice that the truck was gone) to get $40-50; we're talking about anywhere from 6-12 55-gallon drums, filled to the top, every week.
That is, every week for a couple of months, until the Home Overseer found out about it. Thenceforth, the proceeds from this operation went directly into the WTS coffers, along with a few admonitions to the parties involved that proceeding with this operation absent official approval was not acceptable behavior.
Not one word was said about the problem this showed about many Bethelites being cash-strapped, nor even about the far bigger problem with alcohol abuse at Bethel that this all represented...a problem that I was introduced to at Bethel, and which I was to bring home with me, and which, with variable degrees of success in trying to deal with it, has continued to haunt me to this day.
However, that being said, I'm ready to continue.