Monday, May 14, 2007


I'm a service brat... or I was anyway.

Born in the hospital at San Antonio's Randolph Field (Air Base now) in 1943, where my father was a pilot trainer--a Captain in the Army Air Corps, since the U.S. Air Force was still a couple of decades off. Dad was of Swiss derivation, from a family of four brothers living in Joliet, Illinois, and he had enlisted before Pearl Harbor brought so many other young men running to... whatever they found.

Mom on the other hand was a Southern belle, from a large farm family (she had a sister and six brothers, all but one older) then located in Mystic, Georgia, a small Faulknerian hamlet of 300 near Ocilla (a bigger town) or Fitzgerald (bigger yet), some ways from Macon. She had come to San Antonio for college, got caught up in the great rush of attention from young flyboys (she was definitely a looker, a Forties glamour girl). Then she met my Dad and that was that. They eloped in '41, and she took quickly to what became a decades-long career as officer's lady and home-maker.
I split that word in two because, as most military/Air Force/Navy brats will tell you, "home" is where father/mother is stationed, and rarely any one place for long. You don't really have a hometown; instead, home has to made anew time and time again.

Yeah, growing up on the move means living a bit like a Depression Okie or, today, an nervous immigrant worker, subject to the whims of chance, or the winds of war and Washington. My parents used to claim I'd been in ten different schools by the time I graduated from high school. (I still say, regarding military service, that I'd put in my 20 years by the time I was 20.) So we were stationed at several bases across the South until my Dad got out for a while in '46 (called back up for Korea in '51), living in Schenectady, New York for the late Forties and then Arlington (and the Pentagon) during the early Fifties.

Having to adjust to the moves and new quarters, the new schools and people, works on kids in subtle ways. I believe it pushes young dependents really in only two directions--you become either an outsider and maybe a delinquent, or you master the stuff and become a top scholar, school leader, major athlete. You either fit in big time, or not at all.

I was lucky--fairly bright in academics and a regular master of yak; I could routinely talk my way out of, and sometimes into, trouble. And it's words that have served me in good stead my whole adult life, brief or lengthy careers as teacher, freelancer, writer/producer, books and records seller. And through much of that life I also wrote poetry, some of which will appear in these postings when they seem relevant.

Like today. Here's one (of a couple) that stems from, and sort of sums up, my life as brat. It's self-explanatory. As a legal document might state, "further, deponent sayeth not."

(Please continue on to the next posting to find the missing poem.)

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