Friday, April 3, 2015

Memories from a Military B.R.A.T (Guest Blogger)

Hello! This is Karen from Smarticle Particles, and I am thrilled to be guest blogging for TheBeezyTeacher today. Why, you ask? Well, Miss Beezy and I "met" through blogging and I was drawn to her blog because of the fact that she is 1. a fellow Texan, and 2. a teacher in DoD schools in Germany. I was born in Okinawa, lived in Germany, and attended DoD schools pretty much until the end of middle school. We connected and she invited me to write a blog post for Month of the Military Child . Thanks Miss Beezy!

Being a military kid isn't easy. Some kids thrive with the moves and changes and some don't (I did). My father was career Army. He served 30 years and retired in 1983 as a Chief Warrant Officer. When my sister, brother, and I were growing up on military bases, the world wasn't as accessible as it is now. When we moved, we didn't see family for years. My parents weren't exactly the happiest couple (they have been happily divorced and remarried to different people for a good number of years now) and my home life could be turbulent, but I still have fond memories of my childhood as an Army brat. What made the difference? My experiences going to DoD schools.
I was an okay student, but certainly nothing to write home about. We moved often, and by the time I graduated from high school I had attended seven different schools (three of those in fourth grade alone). Even still, these schools shaped the person that I am now. The people I met and the places I visited forever impacted my personal and professional interests.

I lived in the following cities: Giessen, Ramstein, Kaiserslautern (K-Town!!!), and Wiesbaden. I lived in Wiesbaden the longest, three and a half years, and it was my favorite city. I attended 5th grade at Aukamm Elementary School, 6th grade at a school on Lindsay Air Station, and 7th & 8th grade at Wiesbaden Middle School. Aukamm recently made headlines as being the #1 American elementary school, and was named a Blue Ribbon school!
My memories of those three years are so vivid. When I lived in K-Town, we used to hike into the forest and play in the ruins of Hohenecken Castle. We would play serious games of capture the flag in the woods behind our building, using little, hard, green pinecones for ammo. We walked everywhere and our parents didn't have to worry about where we were. On Halloween, the entire housing area turned out for trick-or-treating, and when the weather was warm we stayed out until dark just playing. Believe it or not we rarely watched TV (it was black and white, we only had it for about twelve hours a day, and the shows were old). A game of kick the can was much more entertaining.
It was during these years that I went on the most awesome field trips: The Gutenberg Museum in Mainz, Palmengarten in Frankfurt, the Christkindlemarkt in Nuremburg, Rhine River Cruises, ski trips to Switzerland, and my all-time favorite trip to London in 8th grade. It was also during these years that I became an avid reader, and all of the historical places I visited inspired a deep love for history and historical fiction. I still love German food, gardens, castles, and all thing British!
Image result for Palmengarten
Nuremburg Christkindlesmarkt

It was in 6th grade at Lindsey Air Station, that I met the all time favorite teacher. Her name was Miss Welch. Everyone warned me that she was soooo mean. But, she wasn't. She was strict but she was fair, and she liked me. And, I loved her. I remember her reading Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls to us, and we all cried. She had a crazy kid that jumped out the windows and a girl that started her period class, and she never lost her composure. She was the best. I would love to be able to tell her what an impact she had on my lie.

Of course, we eventually returned to El Paso, my parents divorced, and life went on. Over time I developed an interest in teaching. My plan was to try to teach in DoD schools, but life had different plans for me. I married (a marine), had kids, and we now live in northeast Texas on a small sheep farm. My brother passed away three and a half years ago, and I am just a two hour drive away from my mom and sister. I have visited Germany once since returning in 1979, and I hope to make it back one of these days. If I do, this time I'm going to take the time to visit Wiesbaden and hopefully Aukamm Elementary School! 

I really could go on and on, but all good things must come to an end. I hope you enjoyed my not so little post. If you are someone who works with children of military families, please know that you can and you are making a difference in their lives!

Thanks for Reading,

I hope you have enjoyed reading from my guest blogger. Thank you Karen for your wonderful contribution to my blog in recognition of month of the military child! If you want to read more from Ms. Karen check out her wonderful post about her current life in Texas!

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