Introduction to “Military Brats” – 8

My mother, the loveliest of Marine wives, always claimed to her seven children that we were in the middle of a wonderful, free-flowing life.  Since it was the only life I’d ever lived, I had no choice but to believe her.  She also provided me with the raw material for the protective shell I built for myself.  As excuse or rationalization, it gave me comfort in the great solitude I was born into as a military brat.  My mother explained that my loneliness was an act of patriotism.   She knew how much the constant moving bothered me, but she convinced me that my country was somehow safer because of my formidable, blue-eyed father practiced his deadly art at air stations around the South.  We moved almost every year preparing for that existential moment (this is no drill, son) when my violent father would take to the air against enemies more fierce than his wife or children.

I think my mom spent a great deal of time of her ‘younger adult’ life living in fear – ‘walking on eggshells.’  She only had a high school education, having married Dear Ole Dad at 18.  Sound like a way out of the house?

Mom was working in Cincinnati when she met Dear Ole Dad.  She had grown up “on the farm,” from Lebanon, OH.  Dear Ole Dad was a young Army officer, 10 years older than her.  It was “a way out.”  I was born about a 15 months later, when Mom was 19.

At 26 Mom was way out of her element.  Three kids, living in Okinawa (Japan), married to a man who was just coming into his moderate drinking and rage – and she had virtually no skills to cope with it all.

As a side note, in later years, the next day after pounding on Mom, she would receive a nice piece of jewelery.  I could tell the severity of the beating by the quality of the jewelery.  I never got any jewelery…


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