This Isn’t The Way I Was Brought Up

This is the initial post of my biography, done in vignettes.

I am an Army/Navy Brat. This is an unusual distinction. Normally, Brats align themselves to only one of the services, the one of their father’s time in the armed forces. I draw on both my parents’ service, where I grew up in an Army culture with Navy influences. I volunteered for the Navy in 1968.

Put another way, I am the fifth to serve in three generations. One grandfather was a war ship carpenter during WW1, while my other grandfather served in the Army in France at the same time. My mother volunteered for the WAVES during WW2, where my father was in the Army for a year before WW2 began and remained in service until the late 60s.

So, what is the idea behind the evocative title of This Isn’t The Way I Was Brought Up? Today (the This of the title) has far less options for childhood adventure and conduct of life. I am prepared to illustrate why I have made that central distinction through my assorted reminiscences in posts to follow.

This Isn’t The Way I Was Brought Up is also meaningful in regard to the degradation of norms that have descended upon American ideals.

What is Normal?

What is normal to a Brat? It isn’t normal for middle class America, certainly. There are overlaps of experience, of course, but I am here for the divergences, the points of departure. the exceptions, and the aberrations.

Yeah, heady remarks that seem suited for marketing (and for which I have yet to be able to bottle and sell as an elixir). I lay the evidence before my readers to judge for themselves.

The difficulty in teasing out what makes something normal for me came as something of a shock. After all, what I do and what I’ve done feels perfectly normal to me. Some of the incidents that I will relate here have been met with incredulity. I can understand some of this jaw-dropping response. That I am still alive is astonishing in the face of my activities.

Frequently I heard the comment Where were the adults when you were doing this?

Ah! They were at home; at work. They were where they were supposed to be. On the other hand, I was roaming the open range. As this started for me at the age of 3, then you might begin to understand how normal concerns today don’t match those of decades ago.

Follow those stories here.

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