Tuesday, December 23, 2014

♫Liars, and Traitors and Spies...Oh My♫

The setting:  A small close knit Military post in a pretty much unknown German town.
The time:      Definitely cold war era.
The players:  Read the book.
The book:   Traitors Among Us: Inside the Spy Catcher's World.  By: Col. Stuart A. Herrington (Ret)

Being in a small DoD high school in a foreign country, everyone knew each other. We may not have been close to everyone, but you knew them.  However, imagine what you thought you knew wasn't the whole story...not even the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Now, imagine in a small picturesque village your country's Military secrets are being sold...to the enemy by the sponsor's of the BRATS you knew, they were in your classes, lived across the street from you and one had been a very close friend.  (Actually, that BRAT had contacted me after finding me on a pay-website years later and told me the whole story...his story and then sent me the book.)

You can just kinda tell when something is just not right when Sponsor's are the same rank, approximate pay grade, same number of BRATS in their respective families and yet one family seems to have the best of everything while others are struggling to make ends meet.  Rumors spread very quickly, I listened and some actually sounded plausible.

While one of the Spy's family lived high on the hog, the other was rather low key and nothing seemed very out of place at all.  Nothing flashy, no fancy clothes, accessories or fancy cars.   My friend, who was more like an older brother was what seemed like a normal, average BRAT. Nothing truly out of the ordinary with the exception that he was and still is my friend, that automatically makes him very special!

Flash forward to being found by my friend, and being told the story...I sat in stunned silence pretty much during the whole first conversation.  Part of me shaking my head in disbelief that it happened, and no one even had a clue or at least not that particular scenario for the extra money being tossed around by the one family.  Being involved in a Spy Ring wasn't even one of the rumors that had been floating around.  After hearing the details, I found myself  mentally put together the time lines and details, it was all making sense now.

My friend sent me the book, and even autographed it for me because he is just that awesome and thoughtful, and I devoured it!  During our next conversation and the many that followed, I asked questions, tons of questions and being the honest and open person that he is, he answered what he could about his dad, the other people involved.  How his father ended up being put into the position to sell his countries secrets to an enemy government.  His father was a naturalized citizen who emigrated from an Eastern European bloc country as a teenager with his parents and the intention of serving his new country honorably and did for many years whereas the other soldier involved was born a US citizen and had no ties to any other country.  Nothing that could be used against him, no family in foreign places that could suffer from his actions or more specifically, failure to act.  There are many motivating factors for people to do the things they do.

I had encouraged (and still am) my friend to write his own book, to tell his story from a first hand, insiders eye.  Col. Herrington's book, while gripping and suspense filled and brilliantly written, tells the Spy's stories.  I wish my friend would tell his story from the BRAT side, what it was like for him growing up with an infamous father, what was his reaction once he found out...all of the questions that are raised from reading Col. Herrington's book, questions that my friend can answer.   I know the answers because I asked the questions, but that story isn't mine to tell...it is his.  Maybe one day he will, I hope so.

Once I had all of the details that I needed or wanted I called my parents and thanked them.  I thanked my mother for all of the sacrifices she had made to ensure that her BRATS had what we needed, when we needed it. Then I thanked my father for being the kind of father who knew what love, loyalty and honor were. We didn't always have the best of everything but I know that my father served his country faithfully and honorably.  No matter what the Military threw at my dad, he served without reservation or regret and my mother was always supportive of his career and his choice to serve.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Derogatory names....Or, what others do when THEY think YOU should be offended....

But are apparently too stupid to know.

Not too long ago, a group of people I grew up with, but not in the normal sense of the phrase "grew up with"...We grew all up together in difference places at different times type of thing.  We grew up in the 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's and are still growing up in this millennia, some of us haven't even been born yet. Anyway, it has come to national attention that we should be offended by the derogatory name we have been called for generations.  How could this possibly be?  We don't find ourselves offensive, we aren't offensive to each other, the name we claim for ourselves and call each other (proudly, I might add) is found offensive by others who have no remote attachment to us.

How can they, in all of their self-righteous glory, step in and try to change what and who we are? What gives them the right?  I am of many ethnic bloodlines, my family's religious views run from Jewish to Christian with many not claiming anything at all.  Are what we claim to be or even call ourselves truly anyone's business other than our own?  Some people have last names that can be perceived as derogatory or akin to rat.  Should we take it upon ourselves to attempt a movement to change them simply because we find ourselves offended...not by them, but for them. If their kids have this name, then other kids who aren't associated with that name won't understand them and see them in a less positive light and may even make fun of them.  Apparently they are too stupid to know this, so we will fix it and rename them....for their own good, of course.  

In this theory of self-righteousness butting in, I am offended for you, therefore I will change what you and others like you will be called...It's for your own good, so that you will better fit in.   Your name is Green, well many people don't like the color green because of grass allergies or they don't spinach so for you to be better accepted by those people your name will now be "Aquamarine" because I like it better.

All throughout history, people of like ethnicities, occupations and even locations have been able to call each other certain things within those above mentioned examples, and it's okay.  It may not be okay for others to call them that, but amongst their own, it's acceptable.  Has anyone created a movement to erase this culture?  Especially using a tactic that doesn't directly involve that specific group of people, or even bother to check with them before putting it into motion?  Nope! And why not?  Because they'd be met with a negative response and the targeted sect would undoubtedly push back, protest and fight for their identity.  BRATS are no different.

I am a Military Brat, more specifically an Army Brat.  My friends are BRATs as well. We represent all branches of the Military, without exclusion.  It is our descriptor by which we identify.  We are of all colors, all and no religions, all and multiple ethnic backgrounds however we are all AMERICANS first.  We may have lived in the same places but at different times or we may have never lived in the same location at any time.  We may have gone to school together, or may have never met in person.

What binds us together is the fact that we are BRATS, we have the common bond that one or both of our parents has chosen to answer the call of our Nation.  We are not an elite group of people, and it's not exactly a club, but unless one or both of your parent's have chosen to serve, you cannot be part.  It is a heritage and birthright, but not one that can be passed down from generation to generation, there has to be sacrifice involved with each generation that followed.  It's not like USAA, where if your parent or grandparent or even great grandparent served, you are good to go and if they were members, you can be too.  It's not like being eligible to join the Daughter's or Son's of the Revolution where all you need is one Patriot in your direct line and you can submit an application and documents. We are not elite, but we are special.  We are not heroes, but we do represent our Nation when we live overseas, we represent our American culture through our BRAThood.  We are only special because we have fathers and mothers who are HEROES.

So, why do the few outsiders who find what we call ourselves offensive or derogatory, chose to erase us?   Perhaps they should look at themselves and figure out why they have such a passion to fix what isn't broken.  We like what we are and rather than attack us, maybe they should try to embrace who and what they are

Sunday, December 21, 2014

BRATS and Genealogy

2012 was celebrated by the release of the 1940 census!  It was not a cause to break out the bubbly for everyone, but to even a budding *Genie* it is a major event.  A census isn't publicly released until 72 years after it's taken. 1950 will be released on 2 April 2022, just for future reference.

Anyway, while I was exploring the newly released 2012 information, I got to thinking...how many BRATS like myself won't show up in any census until they are well into adulthood?  The first census I should show up in will be the 1970.  However, I wasn't stateside for that, I was living in Okinawa.  By the 1980 taking, I was once again overseas, only this time I was in Germany, which means 1990 would be my year, my decade, my confirmed entrance into the documented world of  genealogy.  By that time, I was an adult, married and had a child, nothing to link me to either of my parents, not living in the same location or even under the same name.  To the random family genealogist, it would appear if I came from nowhere and *poof* suddenly show up without a paper trail or a past.  Future generations would have a difficult time linking me to my families bloodlines for any kind of memberships into groups.  I have direct line Patriot's in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and ancillary lines in the Civil War.  Without proper documentation, those groups are out of reach.

My father grew up a BRAT also, his stepfather was in the Army so my dad moved from Duty Station to Duty Station as well.  Being stateside, he should show up in the 1950 census, but who knows where he'll be found or under what name? He has always legally had his father's name, but would his mother have listed him under his real name or under stepfather's along with her other children?  My dad was an only child, but had a couple half brothers and a half sister.  By the 1960 census he was in the Military and stationed in Germany, and then the next two takings were spent in Okinawa and then back to Germany.  The Military will or at least should have records of his moves but will they be made public for future generations?

Many of our parents were BRATS or our mom's (or even ourselves) were born in other countries or different states than our sponsor's *Home of Record*  What a nightmare this could be when piecing together the puzzle of us.

I started my genealogy quest when seeing how closely connected my husband was with his family, they all lived in the same area and had for over 100 years by the time I became part of his family.  His family had it's challenges due to name changes and misspellings from the original immigrant, but he knew who they were, he knew their stories and finally where the older ones were buried.   I had none of that for my family, maybe a name or an approximate location and precious little past my grandparents. I wanted more!  My excitement for finding an ancestor was only exceeded by finding a living cousin.  I started digging nearly 30 years ago, and haven't stopped.

 I've researched and recorded and my family's history and took photographs of old homesteads and headstones.  Places, dates and addresses when I could remember them.  Growing up a BRAT means that I have very little physical proof of who I was or where I had been prior to showing up in documents, I have no memories of growing up around cousins because I didn't.  I can't share in their stories of spending Holidays with their other cousins, I can only listen and wonder who those other people are or were.  I can't relate to their stories, and they don't relate to mine, but through the magic of genealogy and years of searching I have found distant cousins in the U.S., Canada and England.  We may never meet face to face, but our bloodlines will always link us together.

I recently did a DNA testing through a genealogy company, and when the results came back to my ethnic makeup, there were more than a couple surprises tucked away, but the biggest one so far are all those who match my families lines.  I have no idea who 99% of them are (48 pages of matches, so far) and may never know where the genetic lines intersect, but I do know that they are part of me and I am part of them.  So, to my cousins "elhumpo" and "ieatchalk" (their screen names)...I don't know who you are, or where you fit into my family tree, but I love your sense of humor!

Tell YOUR stories as only you can, okay maybe not all of them, link your BRAThood to generations past and leave an easier trail for those who will follow you.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Acronyms 1.1 *A satire*

So, lemme get this straight....If someone can come along and rename children of the military: c.h.a.m.p.s, why did they stop there?  Everyone is a *hero* these days, right???  Why aren't military spouses call "S.H.O.M.P.S" Spouse Heroes Of Military Personnel", or if that's too generic we could call the wives "W.H.O.M.P.S" (my mom would kill me) or husbands could be "H.H.O.M.P.S" parents could be "P.H.O.M.P.S" Wouldn't that be awesome, just freaken amazing????  

Let's do it.  I mean seriously, I've never lead those lives but kinda understand what it's like, I saw the life my mother had and watched some tv shows, so that makes me an expert, right???   Why not write a book to bridge the gaps between shomps, whomps and hhomps and their civilian counterparts?  I hope the U.S.O. is ready for me, because I'm packing my bags.   I mean, why not, no one's going to care what an outsider calls them, right...we're ALL freaken HEROES after all.  

Oh but why stop there????   Civilian children could be called "C.H.U.M.P.S" for Civilian Hero Unattached to Military Personnel. Oh, yeah they're gonna love, love, love it!!!  I'm hearing the cash registers ringing already from all the books I'm gonna write and sell.  Who better to write book about civilian kids, than a person who never lived that life either???   This is getting so good, I may have to open a nonprofit, myself.  SHUMPS, WHUMPS and of course, the obligatory HHUMPS, which is actually pretty funny!  Or better yet, why not just lump them all together as ages, genderless, C.H.U.M.P.S?

Yes, we are all HEROES and deserve so much recognition for being part or not, of the Military.

Oh My Gosh, I forgot about people of the Stolen Valor mentality.  Hmmmm, what acronym should they be given???  How about C.H.I.M.P.S?  Civilian Heroes Impersonating Military Personnel.  Why, yes, after all...they're still heroes.  Right?!?

♫Copyrights,  I'll need a few...and maybe even a Trademark or two♫ 
(Because, this is my life, and I'm doing it Myyyyyyyyyyyyyyy Wayyyyyyyyyy)

If this offends you, Welcome to my world and too bad, no cookie for you...

However, if you can see the humor in this, Congratulations you're either a BRAT, know someone who is a BRAT or love a BRAT and can just plainly see the point.  You, Yes, You get a cookie and a hug!    

Monday, December 15, 2014

Nie Moj Cyrk Nie Moje Malpy....OR.... Not My Circus Not My Monkies

An old Polish Proverb which means Not My Problem.  My Civvie honey speaks Polish very well, it's part of his ethnic heritage and he's said that phrase to me, more often than I care to remember.   When this whole champs vs BRATS came to my attention several months ago, I had no doubt that I had to speak up and have my say, after all this was MY circus and I am the monkey.  
Not for nothing, but brat is the Polish word for brother.  It's also a German sausage. (Different pronunciations our BRATS though) 

Anyway, I researched on my own, and what I found I didn't truly agree with.  The concept on the surface sounded great: 
1)  Bringing awareness to the civilian communities where BRATS lived and trying to bridge a gap between them.
2) Offering free babysitting to military families.
My conclusion:  This is awesome!

The underlying things that I found and took issue with were:
1) Their target audience wasn't civilian kids at all.  They took their show on the road and to the air via the U.S.O to places like Okinawa, Korea, Germany and Italy.  *I have attended schools in 2 of those four countries and had never encountered a single civilian from America who was not in some way connected to the Military.*  

1:A) One of the civilian schools they did visit stateside was Manor View Elementary.  M/V while being part of the Anne Arundel Public District in Maryland, is situation on a Military Installation: Ft. Meade.  Currently Ft. Meade is host to 4 elementary schools, 2 middle schools and 1 high school.  All of which are under the A.A. County school district.  I went to 1 Elementary, 1 (then) Jr. High and the Senior High school on Ft. Meade.  BRATS and Civvies interacted, learned and played together without issue every day during the school year.  Civvies KNEW they went to school on Post, they KNEW their classmates were BRATS and that we were connected in some capacity to the Military.  They didn't care one way or another, but they all KNEW.   (This choice of school was either a calculated soft sell or a token effort, because these kids know who and what they are)

MY conclusion:   After seeing how they were "bridging the gap," by labeling current generation of BRATS to champs *Child Heroes Attached to Military Personnel* , I took issue with being told that we BRATS are offensive, we BRATS had no place in todays Military families, we BRATS needed to be Politically Correct in order to be acceptable human beings and Americans.
*Part of Op Champs thing was to reinforce the idea that BRATS living overseas were just as American as our civvie counterparts, like we are too stupid to know that already*

My result:  I did something adult BRATS have learned to do; I spoke up and posted comments, facts and questions on their facebook page.  Hundreds of BRATS did the same, we were all met with the same response:  We were ignored by OpChamps. Ignored and then our comments were hid and some were blocked from even commenting.  I guess they didn't think they'd have to deal with us and we'd go away.  They were wrong, they forgot that this is OUR circus, they had no right to shame and then rename BRATS of all ages and we, individually spoke out louder.  We are after all, Americans and when we feel wronged, Americans speak out and push back.  Some contacted the sponsors of their operation, letters and emails were written, phone calls were made and media outlets were contacted.  Slowly but surely we American Military BRATS were heard and sponsors started backing away from them after being presented with facts and then doing their own research.

2) Addressing the babysitting portion of their non-profit group:  This is still an awesome contribution to our Military families, but it is not the be all to end all program.  There are many programs through Family Readiness and other organizations on and around Posts and Bases, some families are even eligible for childcare grants to offset any out of pocket expenses. 

OPCHAMPS Conclusion and Result:  They opted to fold up the babysitting offered to families in their limited area.  Rather than address issues that BRATS had with their renaming us all, they continued to ignore and then finally hurt the families they claimed to help.

MY conclusion:  It wasn't and isn't about bridging gaps or helping BRATS at all.  I'm not sure what they were and are doing other than stroking their own egos and patting themselves on the back all while saying "look at me, I'm helping the poor misguided BRATS...Look at all the good I'm doing for these dysfunctional people"  Announcing that they were closing program could have been done out of spite and misdirect attention from themselves and put it onto the BRATS who were and are questioning their tactics and motives, who knows for sure why people hurt and cause further confusion to the ones they claim to help?? 

*****Let us not forget that on the 10 Dec 2014 Operation Champs announced they'd be discontinuing their babysitting program, it took them a couple of days to getting around to disabling the DONATE button on their webpage but eventually it was disabled.  However, being the type of BRAT that I am, I checked periodically and yesterday at 1412 hundred hours, I discovered that the  button was fully operational again, and they had kept their suggested donation amount at $100.00.  Does this sound a little fishy to you?  It does to me and I have a sneaking suspicion that another webpage update will be forthcoming announcing that due to the popularity of their babysitting program and public outcries of support, they have decided to  reinstate their former commitment to the Champs and their Military families. They will also paint the thousands of BRATS who stood up and spoke out against them. After all doesn't every HERO need a VILLAIN??  *****

BRAVO! Yes, BRAVO SIERRA Op Champs.  That is Military Speak for *Bull Sh!t* which by the way, I still call.  You want to help? Then help, but don't try to rename, rebrand, trademark and humiliate and entire group of our population, especially our children! 
Why not just start your own circus and leave mine alone!     

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Losing My Identity AKA My I.D. Card

As a right of passage, every BRAT gains an I.D. card at age 10.  It lets everyone you have to show it to that you belong, that you are part of the great Military Family collective.  Age 10 could only get more awesome, if you were actually allowed to carry your card all by yourself...My mother kept mine until I could prove that I wouldn't actually lose it.  We had to show that card everywhere, at the PX, the commissary even at the theaters and pools on Post.  What a glorious year turning 10 was.

Fast forward another 10 years or so and the panic of seeing the expiration date on your card, your identity, basically everything you've ever known is quickly approaching.  The realization that you are no longer part, no longer welcomed in the Military collective family sets in along with the ensuing panic that you belong NO WHERE.  Everything you've ever known is gone.  What do I do next? Where do I fit in or worse, will I ever fit in?  Welcome to Civilian life, now get with the program.

I had considered joining the Army, Air Force or possibly the Navy (the Marines hadn't been much of a draw for me, I wasn't built that tough) after high school.  I had taken the ASVAB in my Junior year and scored very high in communications, so I figured it was a start. *ASVAB* is the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery and it's pretty much like any other test that you can't really fail, it just lets you know what you're really good at.  My father (and mother) gave their opinions on my joining, and my dad said that I wouldn't last through Basic, my mother agreed and added that I wasn't good at following orders and I constantly bucked the system.  I'd make a hellofa an Military Wife, but to join myself would not be in anyone's best interest.  I had time to figure out my next course of action, after all I wouldn't actually lose my I.D. for another 4 years.  That's plenty of time to think things through, right??  Wrong!  After my father retired and we moved into family civilian life and adapted as best that we could, those years flew. Retirement was hard for my mom too, it meant that she was giving up the Gypsy lifestyle that she had lived and loved for 20 years. My father, was relieved that nearly 23 years he'd be able to have some time with his wife, he was looking forward to no more separations, no more missed birthdays, Holidays or wedding anniversaries, and perhaps doing something for himself.  The only difference between the adjustment into civilian life for retired Army wife and her BRAT's is that they keep their I.D.'s, they know they can always "visit" their former life.  It's still hard but it's different.   My expiration date was quickly approaching and faced with my new options, one that I hadn't really considered, I looked into joining the Coast Guard and then magic happened.  I found where I fit into civilian life, I fell head over heals in love with a Civvie. *Civvie is Military lingo for Civilians*  I was HOME.

I turned in my very last I.D. card and I mourned, I was no longer welcomed by the places I grew up, the most familiar and comforting places I had known and loved.  Once I married my Civvie honey, that took abit of adapting and getting with the program.  Not on his part, but on mine.  My Civvie actually understood and got me, he tried his best to make sure that I was comfortable in my new life but it had it's challenges.  He never knew if when he got home if the furniture would be in the same place or if I had changed the painting on the walls or the drapes.  I knew once we bought our first home, that we'd be there for a looooong while so I was always trying to make it seem new.  My mother always said it's a good thing that my husband never came home drunk, he'd kill himself because the furniture wasn't in the same place as when he left.   That was actually the least of the challenges I (or we) faced,  Language was another issue, I spoke Military and acronyms and he spoke in a normal dialect for the area.  My former Commissary was his Grocery Store, my housing area was his neighborhood, the PX was whatever named Department Store at the time.   Even what we called a carbonated soft drink was different.  I still speak in acronyms and slip up on the others even though I've been a civilian for more years than I care to remember.  My Civvie still gets me and loves me for who I am, who I was and hopefully for what I will be as we grow old together.  My kids kind of understand the BRAT way too. My Civvie and I have uprooted them from their birthplaces and have moved them across country. They've lived in 3 different homes and I can only hope that following in the footsteps of the strongest woman I have ever known, my Mom, that I have made them feel at home wherever they have lived. They have friends and family in different time-zones, they haven't attended the same schools and at the same time, it is different for them too.  They know that they can always move back to the neighborhood where they were born, shop in the same stores and they will be welcomed.  They empathize and commiserate to a certain extent, and they respect and somewhat understand what a BRAT's life is like.

BRATS and Civvies can coexist in life, it takes patience and understanding on both parts. It took a wonderful civvie to show me my way home and to begin to discover who I really am, who I will always be...A BRAT, and now I'm HIS BRAT ♥

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Growing up BRAT style

To me, growing up a BRAT, well as a child it was the only thing I knew, I was born a BRAT. By the age of 10, I had only spent two years stateside (and not in the same state) the other 8 were spent on a small island in the Pacific.  I spoke Okinawan (a Japanese dialect) almost before I spoke English.  I learned to count on an abacus and could count to 20 on one hand.  That part was confusing when we transferred back to the states and no one else in school could.   Ramen, rock candy, rice candy, Felix the Cat gum and fresh from the fields sugar cane weren't available in the states.  Living on the economy (which is code for *not on a Military Post*) was tough, no one even knew what any of those things were.  I was warned by my mother not talk about my father being in the Army or where I had lived because it wasn't safe.  In the late 60 and into the mid 70's being in the Military by choice was not a popular career move, according to some. For one of the two years we were stateside my father spent his time between Korea and Vietnam, anyone can figure out why my mother feared for my safety and warned me not to say anything.

By the age of 10, my dad had been reunited with us and life went on. He received his orders and we moved...again. I spent the next 4 years in one place, in one school system and I was back in my element. It was wonderful to have the same address and phone number for those years and even though I didn't keep the same friends, due to their Sponsor getting new orders and them moving.  Just living in the same house for more than a single year was a huge comfort, it was home.  When my dad came home and announced that he was being transferred, excitement and the dreaded fear of being the new kid...again, started to set in.  We were moving overseas again, to Germany and at least this time, we'd be there before the beginning of the new school year.

We moved to a small town on the German economy called Wollstein. It was a fresh, new experience. No American TV or radio stations, and the only German words I knew at that time were socially unacceptable.  I had learned those from the times I spent with my maternal Grandmother, although I don't think I was actually supposed to know them.  From Wollstein we were finally able to move on to the Post and into temporary Quarters and had access to 1 AFN tv and 1 AFN radio station. *Armed Forces Network* and it was great, limited air time, but it was in English and it was awesome!  Within a few months our permanent Quarters was ready and we moved again. I use the term Permanent loosely, because growing up BRAT style means nothing is actually permanent. 3 moves within one year, but at least I wasn't the new kid. There is always a silver lining if you look at the little things.

During the time spent in Germany, I learned more, did more and saw more than some people do in their lifetime. It was truly an adventure.  When my father came home with his new orders and we were getting set to move again, it was like going home because we were going back to the same duty station we had just left 3 years earlier.  We landed at McGuire Air Force Base and hit the ground running. This would be an easy move, or so I had thought.  Having live there for 4 years before going to Germany, I felt at ease.  That ease was short lived because I had forgotten an important rule, in the Military, nothing is permanent.  We drove passed our old Quarters and neighborhood, none of the faces were familiar and the engineers had painted all of the houses different colors in our absence. It was basically the same, yet I didn't feel like I belonged.  We moved into our new Quarters in a different part of Post and life went on.   School went well that year, even though it was on Post, it was in the county's Public School District so some of the faces were familiar.  Very close to the end of the school year, my father came home one day and made the announcement that he was retiring.  ACK...I had one year left until graduation!  Being the new kid was bad enough, but being the new kid in my Senior year was something that even I couldn't understand and truly feared. I knew the area where we would soon call home, it was where my mother grew up and her family lived.  She was going back to a place she had called home before marrying my dad.  I was looking forward to getting to know my mom's family but dreading my father's retirement and being the new kid in my Senior year.  I wasn't ready...just one more year. My pleas fell on deaf ears. We BRATS were often in the shadows of Military life, and little attention was ever paid to us, it was part of growing up in a Military family.  I managed to graduate 6 months early with the help of my mother intervening with the school board and had I have gone to school anywhere within the school district previously, I could have skipped my Senior year completely. But my mother worked her Army Wife magic and did the best she could for me. I spent 3 hours per day for the next 2 months and by January, I had my diploma.

I had entered into the Civilian part of my life and I did what we BRATS do best, I adapted to my new environment and life went on.