We are looking for school stories for a new anthology

Schooling With Uncle Sam will focus on personal memories–what it was like to work or study in the school system, to live and work in a foreign country or military installation – the mundane, funny, or tragic events and interactions that made for a memorable experience. Stories should be about a certain time, event, or experience about school/work/life with DoDEA (or with its predecessor organizations such as DoDDS, USDESEA, DEG, etc.) Authors included in the anthology will receive a free copy of the book in lieu of payment.  All stories become the property of the Museum of the American Military Family Special Collections Library. Proceeds from the sale of the book will be used to help the Museum continue to bring exhibits and programming to the museum community free of charge.This is a chance to preserve a unique history and to be a part of it. It’s an opportunity to share a personal look at a world-wide school system serving America’s world-wide interests and assuring that your involvement with it will be recognized. You can submit up to three different pieces for the book.

Military Life bookended

“Where are the trees?” Long before I could write, much less started writing, I began collecting memories. The trees were the memory of the first home I could remember, 61 Southfield Park, London suburb — the fourth home I’d had between birth in a military hospital and the age when memory kicked in. My reason for wondering about trees was my then-location under a cloudless August sky in a baking hot sandbox on the South Dakota prairie. Where were my trees and the soft shushing of car tires in the rain of London? That homesick moment was the first of many, all for different former homes, all for homes that became former because of military orders.

Between then and now, as a Brat, a WAC, a soldier/DoD civilian’s wife, I’ve had a total of fifty changes of address in fifty years. During those fifty years I did nothing that was nationally noticeable as passing all the white glove inspections for clearing military quarters when you leave is expected, not lauded. Since I landed in this home, twenty years ago (which still counts only as one move), I have blogged, managed a web site, and scored a gig as the News and Commentary editor for (the now out-of-print) Home Education Magazine. 

Educationally, I have what questionnaires term “some college” (overseas with the University of Maryland). Those courses augmented distance learning courses I’d done while living overseas: writing and photography. When not studying, I stayed busy with four children, Cub Scouts, Daisy Scouts, religious activities, home day care, (minimal) Tupperware sales, freelance photography, Civil Service positions either in a civilian personnel office or as a playground supervisor with a DODDS school. I managed a Wedgwood concession and spent my paycheck on bone china. I’m not useful as a salesperson. I volunteered at Army Community Services. I was the secretary for a military community women’s club. I homeschooled three of my kids for eight years.

I am now still in the house where I landed after our final PCS. This house, strangely enough, is just down the street and around the corner from the quarters my dad was assigned when we returned to the States on his final PCS. The base closed; the enlisted quarter were sold to a developer; my parents bought half of a duplex; I live there, now. Life bookended by military contract buildings.

Valarie Bonham Moon, MAMF 2021-2023 Writer in Residence

Times Have Changed

1959 or 1960. Housing area (I’m pretty sure) in Mannheim, Germany. My German cousin on the far left, me on the right, Mom in the middle. And a couple of my thousands of Brat buds. Picture-taking and developing were expensive, photographers few, thereby making photosharing and photobombing “necessities” of life. 🤣 Remember borrowing negatives and also paying to have the reprints made? Times have changed…Hans Mason