Please enjoy the following interview with Brat author Marilyn Morris about her book "Once a Brat, Always a Brat"
Q: Why the title, "Once a Brat, Always a Brat?"
A: When I was in Linz, Austria, from 1948-1952 as a middle-schooler, we were told over and over "never cross the Danube River" which lay right outside our back yard. The Russian Zone of Occupation was across the bridge. This admonition was ingrained in my memory banks. In 1995, when my daughter and I took a trip to Europe and most importantly, to Linz, we ended up taking a wrong turn and much to my horror, we were on the bridge, crossing the Danube River.
"Stop," I yelled in knee-jerk reaction. "We can't cross the river! It's the Russian Zone."
My companions looked at me like I was crazy.
I managed to mumble something like, "Well, sorry. When we lived here, we were never supposed to cross the Danube. It was the Russian Zone, then."
We proceeded into the Forbidden Zone (in my mind) until we found a spot to turn around, much to my relief.
"So, Mom, do you feel better now?" my daughter teased.
"Sorry I scared you," I apologized. "But Once a Brat, Always a Brat…."
Q: What is your favorite memory of growing up military?
A: My parents told me at an early age that I was very fortunate to travel all over the world. Some kids never had the opportunity, as I discovered when I was in the 5th grade in Junction City, KS (Ft. Riley). I had been to the Far East and some kids hadn't been out of the county.
Q. How did growing up military affect your life long-term?
A. I found after two failed marriages that I was unable to sustain a long-term relationship. The constant meeting and leaving friends left me with a feeling of "This, too, will end, so don't get too close to anybody." It was easier to keep relationships on a superficial level.
Q: Would you want to change anything about your childhood – such as having one place to call home?
A: I was very fortunate in that I was able to spend all three high school years in one place, Lawton OK, a place that I still call "home." I was accepted by the civilian kids as well as those from nearby Fort Sill OK. I will always be very grateful to my parents for buying the house we were renting when my Dad was ordered back to Korea so we would be assured of staying in one place while I was in high school.
Q: Have you returned to places you lived around the world? Did they feel the same?
A: I went to Germany, Austria and France while my dad was stationed in Europe, and when my daughter and I went overseas, I returned to those places. At the first house we occupied, #10 Donatusgasse, everything looked as I remembered; other housing areas had long been torn down in a modernization of the city; a trip up to Eagle's Nest, or Hitler's Tea House, was a jolt, in that it is now called Kehlstein Haus and all references to Adolph Hitler have been erased.
The most surprising thing I noticed, though, was when we boarded a train for Paris and a German woman seated in our compartment struck up a conversation with us. In German. And amazingly, I understood her questions and I believe she understood my answers in my middle school, long-unused German.
Q. Is there another book to follow?
A. I've been thinking of a follow-up book to Once a Brat, titled Always a Brat, which focuses more in depth on how my military upbringing has affected my adult life, and have been making notes to follow up at some later time. Right now, I'm following up on several novels in various stages of progress.
My next book, loosely based on my mother's experiences as a young army wife in the military compound of Camp Sobingo, Seoul Korea, is due out soon as an ebook at Mardi Gras Publications.
Thanks, Marc for this opportunity to share my experiences here on your blog. Military Brats
share such a unique heritage; it's fun to compare notes with a fellow Brat!
Labels: Military Brats, Once a Brat Always a Brat