Once a Brat

Location: Fort Worth, Texas, United States

Mother of 3, grandmother of 3. Compulsive writer. Single, not especially "looking."

Friday, April 27, 2007

Today's Virtual Blog stop 4/27/07

....is in Big Sky Country, Montana! Recently, Barbara Williamson-Wood, a member of our online writers group, The Writer's Life, pulled up stakes in Florida and went all the way to where her heart was calling her, the mountains of Montana. We all respected and envied her courage, and we are happy for her, now that she is where she belongs.

Today, she is interviewing me on her blog: http://360.yahoo.com/lakotahwriter/
about my book, Once a Brat, where she asks really insightful questions about my life as an army brat.

Barbara is a published author herself. After you have finished reading her blog, (be sure to read all her posts; she is a prolific blogger) follow her links to her own book, Inner Trappings.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

My Blog Stop for Today 4/26/07

....is at Linda Rucker's blog site: http://www.readingrucker.blogspot.com/
where she asks me some very insightful questions about my life as an Army Brat in the years following WWII, described in my book, Once a Brat.

Linda is a prolific writer and blogger, and we share an affinity for badly-written science fiction movies, generally shown on Saturdays on the Sci-Fi Channel. We will, someday when we both have a little time, co-write The World's Worst Sci-Fi Movie and make a zillion bucks off it. So far, it's just a germ hatching in our brains (how's that for a sci-fi plot line?) but we'll get there.

In the meantime, read Linda's Dark Ridge, which will enthrall you and make you want to read more. After you read her interview with me, read the earlier posts. She's articulate and prolific, and I'm happy to call her a friend.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Memories of Childhood

Every once in a while, I will read about a subject from another Military Brat that I had entirely forgotten about. It's been a life-long experience, learning why I do the things I do, and how I feel about many things in this world. I was never so glad to see two things in my life as the Golden Gate Bridge as our ship from Korea passed under it; I had lived in Korea for 18 months as a 3rd and 4th grader, and I missed ice cream! We just didn't have that many luxuries there, so the minute I saw the Golden Gate Bridge, I knew what I wanted the first thing when we debarked -- An ice cream cone. And I got it. And it had never tasted better.

The second sight that is emblazoned in my childhood memory is that of The Statue of Liberty as yet another ship brought me back to the States in 1952. I thought, "Now I know how the immigrants must have felt when they saw that statue." I was home.

And as an adult, a strange feeling unrelated to the US Army life I had led, was in Honolulu, when we took a short boat ride out to Pearl Harbor. Out in the open seas, there was a naval vessel approaching, and their men were standing at parade rest as the ship brought them to dry land -- to home, at least for a while. And, I bawled like a baby at that sight. Why? I wondered. I'm not a Navy Junior. But that sight tugged at my heartstrings so much that I could no longer contain the emotion.

And finally, on 9/11, and its aftermath of Super Patriotism Displayed, I was somewhat bemused by this sudden public welling of loving our country. I had always felt that way. Trust me, when you live in a foreign country and then return, you really fall in love with your birthplace all over again. Good or bad, right or wrong, we mostly get it good, and right. And if we disagree, well, welcome to your opinion. I certainly won't attack you for a difference of opinion, unless of course, you do something utterly senseless like burn the flag, stamp on it,or spit on it. The hooligans who do such actions, I notice, are usually those who would do well to serve our country in uniform, where they would learn to love their flag, rather than dishonor it. And every once in a while, I hear even an Army Brat defending such actions, stating, "it's their right to do that," and I want to whack them good and proper. Not in my Army Brat world, I want to yell.
Sometimes we lean over backward to accommodate what some people believe is granted to us in the US Constitution. It's kind of like, "The right to bear arms." I'm sure the framers of the Constitution connected that concept with the then prevailing custom of everyone being subject to enlisting in a well-armed militia, and for defending his dwelling from invaders such as wayward Indians.
But I may be wrong. I quite often am.
And this morning I turned the corner to reach my street after coming back from Wally-World, and noticed a sign on the vacant lot on the corner....Future Home of Full Gospel International Tabernacle.
My heart sank. First, I thought of the traffic this would bring to my quiet neighborhood, even though as I type this, jets from the military base are buzzing overhead.
Second, I wondered what kind of church this would be? It's not Baptist or Methodist, or any of the prevailing Southern religions. As a child, I had become accustomed to going to Chapel Protestant Services -- A Methodist listening to a sermon by a Southern Baptist in an Army compound overseas. Can't get much more ecumenical than that.
I hope not. And I just have to say it -- I just hope and pray they're not snake-handlers.
Okay, so now I'm not only a brat, but a bigot. Maybe not. Maybe just afraid of snakes, okay?

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Today's Virtual Blog stop 4/23/07

My book, Once a Brat, is at this very moment being reviewed by Jamieson Wolf and he is planning on giving me one heck of a sparking review a bit later in the week. (Wasn't this our deal, Jamieson? Did my check clear the bank yet? )

No kidding, he has already set up my interview on his blogsite, www.jamiesonwolf.blogspot.com/ and he has some insightful questions about my military brat memoirs and actually brought up some more memories than what I put in the book.

Jamieson is one of the busiest writers I know, maintaining several blog sites and will soon have a book released by eTreasurers: The Ghost Mirror. Go on over to his blog site of the same name and find out more about it: www.theghostmirror.blogspot.com/

We both belong to Dorothy Thompson's The Writers Life yahoo group, and he keeps us all running to catch up with him. I asked him once how he did it all, and did he ever sleep? True to his nature, he responded, "The Wolf Never Sleeps."


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Today's Virtual Blog stop 4/23/07

My book, Once a Brat, is at this very moment being reviewed by Jamieson Wolf and he is planning on giving me one heck of a sparking review a bit later in the week. (Wasn't this our deal, Jamieson? Did my check clear the bank yet? )

No kidding, he has already set up my interview on his blogsite, www.jamiesonwolf.blogspot.com/ and he has some insightful questions about my military brat memoirs and actually brought up some more memories than what I put in the book.

Jamieson is one of the busiest writers I know, maintaining several blog sites and will soon have a book released by eTreasurers: The Ghost Mirror. Go on over to his blog site of the same name and find out more about it: www.theghostmirror.blogspot.com/

We both belong to Dorothy Thompson's The Writers Life yahoo group, and he keeps us all running to catch up with him. I asked him once how he did it all, and did he ever sleep? True to his nature, he responded, "The Wolf Never Sleeps."


Sunday, April 22, 2007

It Never Ceases to Amaze Me....

that I meet Military Brats every day, and I think, aha! That's why I took an instant liking to this person. Recently on our writers Yahoo group, I discovered one of our members was a Navy brat, but I chastized him and told him we were taught to call them Navy Juniors.

Memories come flooding back, some good, some not so good. Doing a blog tour with other writers has been therapy for me, as some memories surfaced that I had long ago buried. I was particularly reminded of the incident when we were posted to Seoul, Korea, where I was traumatized by the actions of one of my drunk "Uncles" -- one of my dad's friends, who came home in a rage from the Officers Club while I was baby sitting his smaller children -- not much younger than myself, I might add.

He came in the back door, drunk and staggering, and demanding to know where was the gun? I had no idea where the gun was, and at age 9, I didn't want any part of trying to find it. Somehow, while he was preoccupied by tearing up the kitchen, I found the gun hidden in the linen closet. I picked it up gingerly and hid it under the baby's crib mattress, knowing he wouldn't disturb the baby, no matter how loud and angry he became.

My father arrived, worried about the man's conduct, and afraid he might harm me, too. His wife followed next, crying and wringing her hands, and he turned the dining room table over on her. Then the moment the man saw my dad, he immediately started pummeling him. When Dad had a chance, he grabbed a heavy dining room chair and hit him over the head with it. Out cold.

All this time, I was cowering behind an overstuffed chair, screaming my head off. This wasn't supposed to happen, I remember thinking. This is a friend of Dad's and look how he's acting. And I was also afraid for myself, too, and tried not to scream or make any noise lest he find my hiding place, but my primitive instinct outweighed my common sense, and I continued to cry for help.

And help arrived in the form of Military Police. Dad gave a statement, Mom arrived and took me home and put me to bed, where I continued to shake for hours, unable to sleep. She held my hand until dawn, when I finally drifted off to sleep from sheer exhaustion.

I didn't put that incident in my book. I didn't want to relive that horrific event, and even now, I have made sure that the man's name is not mentioned, for fear of his family thinking I'm "ratting him out." But you know, drinking was a part of being in the armed forces. It was a "good old boy's club" but at the same time, officers were expected to drink like gentlemen. Unfortunately, the force of the alcohol took over after the third or fourth drink, and they ceased being Officers and Gentlemen. Just falling down drunks.

I understand that today's Army is vastly different in this respect. Help is available on post, and if any member of the armed forces is found to be drinking to excess and/or abusing his family, retribution is swift and long-lasting. Thank God for that.

Pat Conroy and I came from that former tradition. His father was a raging alcoholic, and this colored the author's writing. Perhaps that's one reason I like his books so much, not only because they read like poetry, but I can feel the same feelings he went through in his childhood, on a much larger scale.

There is some good that comes out of facing this.

I know now why I'm afraid of drunks. I have yet to consider anybody who is under the influence of alcohol as funny, and laugh at their antics. I keep a wide berth around anybody who even hints of having had one too many. And I certainly don't drink, myself.

I know many people have had more horrendous experiences than this one I described, and I can't imagine how they got through their lives with active alcoholics in the home. Just his one incident long ago in a far-away country marked my life for many years. Going to Al-Anon meetings certainly helped me feel those long ago fears and exorcise them. Certainly there are many who read this who would benefit from attending Adult Children of Alcoholics groups, too.

So now another skeleton in my closet has been rattled. Who knows what may pop up next?

Whatever it is, I know I can handle it.

I'm an Army Brat.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

My Blog Stop for Today 4/19/07

Today I will be interviewed on Sandy Lender's site http://www.todaythedragonwins.blogspot.com
about my book, title above.

Sandy is a member of our Yahoo The Writers Life group and she is phenomenal in her writings. I could never write fantasy (or at least I think I couldn't) but she sets the benchmark for that genre.

So after you read her interview with me, keep going and see why she's successful in her chosen genre.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Today's Virtual Blog stop 4/18/07

Today, I'm being interviewed on Mike Witherspoon's blog: http://interviewingauthors.blogspot.com/
about my Once a Brat book. He asked some very insightful questions about what it was like growing up as an Army Brat.
Once you have read the interview, check out his other postings. He is a multi-talented writer and since we have so many similarities we call each other "Cousin."

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

My Blog Stop for Today is in Germany!

Ah, Guten Morgen! Sweet words to this brat's ears! Although it's been over 50 years since I left Austria (under great duress, I might add) I still treasure the memories and the language of that place. So when Martina asked me to stop by for coffee and strudel this morning, I was there in a flash.

She's an army brat, too, and as such, we are sisters under the khaki. No matter how long our fathers have been retired, and we've quit being global nomads, some things never leave our spirits. When my daughter and I went to Europe several years ago, I felt something was missing. I loved being back in the places I had traveled to, in Germany, but still felt there was something lacking.....until we crossed the border into Austria, and the sweet words, "Gruss Gott" fell on my ears. That's it! The colloquialism used only in Austria and maybe parts of Bavaria. I was HOME. In fact, I bought a little wooden plaque with those words in script and nailed it to the inside of my front door. Every time I enter or leave the house, I touch the plaque, as in a ritual, and I suppose it is.

Anyway, we are going to be talking about our bratdom, so hang on, as sometimes we may lapse into German-speak. Allright, mach schnell (go fast or make haste) to Martina's blog: http://martinamr.blogspot.com/index.html


Monday, April 16, 2007

Virtual Blog Tour Stop for Today 4/16/07

Woo-Hoo! Today I am visiting with my publicist (oh, how I love saying that word, Publicist!) Dorothy Thompson, where she will be interviewing me about Internet Promotion. I had to admit that I knew nothing about putting myself out there as a presence to be reckoned with until Dorothy came along. As she worked with those of us in her The Writer's Life yahoo group, she came to realize we needed help in the publicity department. Particularly Internet publicity. So she formed her own company: http://www.pumpupyouronlinebookpromotion.blogspot.com/ and I was one of the first to sign up. My blogs were plain jane, my website amateurish, and I had no other ideas how to promote my works, so we chose my book Once a Brat to begin with.
My Google alerts have doubled, no doubt my hits on my website have increased, and she has arranged for these virtual blog tours, where other writers interview me about my book(s). So there's double publicity, for them and for me.
And when my next book comes out on June 9, 2007, she will be ready to publicize that book, too. I've already set up a blog for it, to tease readers into buying it when it comes out.
This lady knows her stuff. Go read her blog at the link above, and sign up!
This is not a paid endorsement, btw. Just from the heart of a writer who can now stick to her writing and let her publicist handle the rest. HER PUBLICIST! Love saying that.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Being a Brat Wasn't Easy

Without telling too much that is in my book, Once a Brat, I can tell you that my life was not an easy life. True, I had advantages that few children could even dream of, but I also was deprived of many things.

Maybe that's one reason I hate diets? I don't like being deprived of anything. No chocolate? No bread? Don't eat this, but do eat that.....a pox on all the diet doctor's houses. I didn't have milk or ice cream while we were stationed in Seoul, Korea, in 1946, and by golly, I missed them. When our ship docked in San Francisco (I was never so glad to pass under the Golden Gate bridge, an emblem of our country, in all my nine years.) So one of the very first things I did when my feet hit solid ground was go to a drug store soda fountain and order an ice cream soda. Yum! I was home!

I missed a lot of other things kids in the states did that I didn't have any awareness of. When I hear people talk about the old "duck and cover" school drills, in case of nuclear attack, I draw a blank. Didn't have to do that overseas. Instead, we had suitcases packed under our beds, and practice evacuations in case Russia should suddenly take a notion to quit rattling the sabre and actually use it.

I also missed radio -- and commercials. Now who would think that would be a loss? But we had Armed Forces Radio, where the only commercials were "Re-enlist" types. And certainly no television; we didn't get our first tv until we reached Fort Hood TX in 1952.

Oh, yeah, I forgot about the inoculations we had to take. Before we went to Korea, my mother, brother and I had to undergo several series of shots, some of them hurt, some of them merely made my arm feel heavy as lead. We had plague, Japanese B encephalitis, typhoid, tetanus and lord knows what else. And these had to be followed by "booster" shots some months later.

When I reached junior high school age, where any girl can become an instant "fashionista"(although the word hadn't been invented yet) the arrival of a new girl in my class called for an immediate inspection: Cinch belts must be ïn." Peter Pan collars must be out, we surmised, because she never did wear one. What was the latest dance craze? Hair-do? That was just the girls, of course; I'm sure the boys had their own goals of discovering what was going on Stateside, like who is the ranking pitcher now? Who is going to the World Series? We weren't isolated from news, of course, but it was old by the time it reached us. And definitely given a military slant. We wanted the REAL news.

The worst thing about being a brat, of course, was taking leave of a place I had been for a year, or two or three. Friendships had been forged, and now I must climb into the back seat of my dad's car to drive to the train to catch a ship that would carry us away from this country. I know now why I can't form strong relationships -- it was too painful. So I had many friends, but my feelings were always superficial. Never learned how to work out a problem. We'd be gone in the next few days, so why bother? '

Ah, well, not all of bratdom was negative. I saw things that live in my heart even now, like art museums, monasteries, old Roman ruins, real castles, open air markets where you could buy gorgeous flowers for mere pennies, operas in the afternoons and trains that ran on time.

And, after all, doesn't everybody have some negative incidents in their lives? We get over them, or we get neurotic. Wasn't it Freud who said, "All neuroses are merely substitutes for genuine suffering."

He sure knew what he was talking about.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Virtual Blog Tour Stop for Today 4/12/07

I will be interview about my book today on Kathy Holmes' blog, http://www.kathyholmes.net so hop on over to see what kind of questions she asks this old army brat. Kathy is celebrating her recently-released book, Real Women Wear Red, and you will want to read about it, too. She is a member of our The Writers Life yahoo writers group and has been a real inspiration to us all.
Enjoy, and leave comments as you wish.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Virtual Blog Tour Stop for Today-4/6/07

Today I will be visiting with Karen McGill, another Canadian on The Writer's Life Yahoo group. She is at: http://pdawgsbabe.bravenetjournal.com/
and she will be interviewing me about my book, Once a Brat.

Go read her Karen's Komments -- they are straight to the point and informative as well as entertaining.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Being Flexible

Someone just remarked that I was surely flexible, able to take changes in stride without comment. How do you do that? they inquired.

Flash! I am a military brat. You either changed with the flow, or you perished, psychologically if not physically. Here one day, gone the next? Not to worry. It happens to military brats. So in my adult life, I have come to expect the unexpected. That doesn't mean I welcome change -- after all, I am a Taurus, stubborn as all get out, and I resist in sublte ways until I finally realize there is no choice but to adapt.

Is this a handicap in my adult life? Maybe yes, maybe no. It depends on the degree of my resistance. Some things I won't change, some things I will. Especially when the choice is mine. I have learned that many things are outside our sphere of influence and whether or not I adapt is irrelevant. It's happening. Get over it.

I posted this morning on my Lupus blog this morning, too, about how I have added vertigo to my repetoire, and I don't like it one bit. Crashing about my bedroom first thing in the morning is not funny. Not when you lurch into a swivel chair and it throws you to the floor, bruising not only your fanny, but your dignity. So? I take my meds and wait for the room to quit spinning, grateful that at least I'm not throwing up, too.

Is this persistence a brat trait? Probably. I've been sick in some of the most exotic places in the world -- bronchitis in Korea, mumps in Austria, measles in Fort Sill OK. (Not that Fort Sill is exotic, understand. ) And the army docs took good care of me, even coming to our quarters (house calls!), dispensing APCs (All-purpose capsules) like they were bubble gum machine candy, and it worked. I wasn't crazy about whatever it was they added to the APC regimen when I had bronchitis....it was a brown pill that had to dissolve in my mouth and it was bitter and tasted like -- well, medicine.

So today, I'm feeling like I'm lurching through life, but I know this, too, will pass. Maybe I should see the doctor again, if this doesn't get any better.

And now is a time I wish a good old army doctor would make a house call and give me some APCs and tell me everything is going to be all right.

But those days are gone. And I miss them like heck.

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Virtual Blog Tour Stop for Today

Today, I will be interviewed on Sigrid McDonald's blog,


about my book, Once a Brat.

I'm calling myself "internationally famous" since Sigrid lives and blogs in Canada.

Enjoy, and please leave comments.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Today's Virtual Blog stop

Hey, all you Brats out there! Today I'm visiting with The King of Military Brats, in my opinion.....Marc Curtis should get a medal for establishing The Military Brats Registry, where anyone who has ever been a military brat, anywhere at any time, can register and find long-lost classmates.

I'm living proof of how far this Registry can reach. I had attended school in Linz Austria from 1948-52, and was particularly longing to find those classmates. But since our fathers' assignments moved us every three years or so, and then the girls got married and changed their names, it was a nearly impossible dream.

Until Marc decided to set up an Internet site just for us. Just for this purpose. I registered, looked for other people who had maybe been in my 8th grade class, and at first found some high school "kids" who had registered. But one of those high school kids had a younger sister, he said, who may have been in my class. He gave me her phone number and I called her in Longview TX and we were both ecstatic to find each other. I invited her to come to Fort Worth for the 3 day Homecoming celebration hosted by Overseas Brats, and we had a wonderful time.

So, all you brats out there! Go to Marc's blog first, then register.

You may not be looking for anybody specifically, but somebody may be looking for you!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Virtual Blog Tour Second Stop

Today, I'm on Nikki Leigh's blog. She is a member of our yahoo thewriterslife yahoo group, one of Dorothy Thompson's many helpful sites for authors, both published and yet-to-be published.

Nikki will be asking me questions about my life as a military brat.

So pay her a visit at :


And thanks, Nikki! See ya there!


Monday, April 2, 2007

Virtual Blog Tour First Stop

I'm pleased to announce that today I will be visiting with Dorothy Tompson on her blog, The Writer's Life at http://www.thewriterslife.blogspot.com/
She will be interviewing me about this book and my life as an army brat.

Dorothy is my mentor and my friend. Even though we have not met face-to-face. Through her yahoo group, she has gathered writers under her wing and taught us how to write for publication and how to promote our work. Recently, she opened a PR business and is doing a fantastic job of promoting my works. One of these ideas was this virtual blog tour, and I am pleased to announce this on all my blogs throughout the month of April.