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Genesis of the "Military Brats Registry"

How did the Military Brats Registry get started? The following (lengthy but edited) reprint of a conversation thread on the Usenet News Group "alt.culture.military-brats" will help you understand. You might even find yourself saying "yeah...I know what you mean!" while reading.
Marc Curtis
creator/webmaster

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From: M Curtis [marc@]
Sent: Monday, April 14, 1997 12:11 PM
Subject: Overseas vs Stateside Brats

OK..don't mean to gripe but I need to relieve a little frustration. It seems that this newsgroup, as well as most (if not all) resources for Brats tend to lean heavily toward those who grew up mainly overseas. This has the effect of making the rest of us feel a bit left out, or at least not thought of as 'true brats.' I've talked this over with a few other brat friends in the same boat as I (ie: 1 year in Japan when I was 3; 3 years in TX from 7 to 9 years old; the rest in California), and they have the same feelings. The other day I registered on the overseas brats page (because there is no other site where we all can look for each other)...the registry info says to 'enter the overseas school and year you graduated.' I put the school I graduated from in California, but sure felt like an intruder.
Anyone else feel a bit left out?

-- An insider who often feels left outside
http://www.mcurtis.com

###

From: M Curtis [marc@]
Sent: Monday, April 14, 1997 8:00 PM
Subject: Re: Overseas vs Stateside Brats

Thanks for the comments! Yes, there is a lot of talk about stateside, but the bulk of the conversation tends to lean towards overseas. Unfortunately, there's a very small segment of the Brat population who are even online at this point so it's not too surprising that there aren't that many like myself who sit quietly unable to join in to the K-town etc discussions. I still have trouble forgiving my dad (too late now anyway) for retiring instead of moving us to Germany!

My other point with the overseas brats registry is the way it's set up to (mentally) exclude those of us who didn't live overseas. Just doesn't seem like we belong anywhere! The "Military Brats of America" organization was a great idea that hopefully will take off eventually....preferably before my generation gets too old ;) It just seems that we should have one place that we all can call "home" for once in our lives. --
An insider who often feels left outside
http://www.mcurtis.com

###

From: M Curtis [marc@]
Sent: Wednesday, April 16, 1997 7:24 PM
Subject: Re: Overseas vs Stateside Brats

Rick...all very well stated and appreciated. I guess the best way to put it is...were you ever picked last when they chose teams? Not being able to join in on the experiences that, as you said, put the icing on the cake leaves a very empty feeling....a feeling we all know whenever anyone asks us where we came from. The fact that the overseas brats registry even by name welcomes OVERSEAS as opposed to ALL brats, and the registry entry instructions say "enter the overseas or dodds high school you graduated from or would have graduated from" tends to make the rest of us continue to feel left out. I know deep inside that a brat is a brat....and have had wonderful 'chance' meetings over the years (ie: last week the checker at the grocery store) with other brats and felt very much like I had found a long lost relative. Maybe it's years of being on "the outside" after my dad retired and away from the security of being around others like me that leaves me so empty. It would also be great if I could find just one of my old classmates...and believe me, I've tried and will never give up!

BTW...if anyone knows Chris Moore or Cindy Glover please let me know!!
--
An insider who often feels left outside
http://www.mcurtis.com

###

From: M Curtis [marc@]
Sent: Thursday, April 17, 1997 6:24 PM
Subject: Re: Overseas vs Stateside Brats

>For what it's worth, the US is overseas to most of the world!
--
excellent statement!

An insider who often feels left outside
http://www.mcurtis.com

###
From: M Curtis [marc@]
Sent: Friday, April 18, 1997 7:06 AM
Subject: Re: Overseas vs Stateside Brats

John Obrien
> Many if not most of us never graduated from an overseas school. The reason
> that they want your year of graduation is because it is a pointer to your
> age.

John, age isn't the issue at all..

> If you attended any overseas schools at all, you can and should register.
> I should talk; I haven't registered yet.

but that is! there shouldn't be a distinction between those who "attended any overseas schools" and those who didn't.

Marc
--
An insider who often feels left outside
http://www.mcurtis.com

###

From: M Curtis [marc@]
Sent: Friday, April 18, 1997 3:54 PM
Subject: Re: Overseas vs Stateside Brats

> : John Obrien wrote in article...
> : > that they want your year of graduation is because it is a pointer to
> : > your age.
> John, age isn't the issue at all..
> > : >Yes it is; I don't see how you can say that it isn't.

I agree that age (or graduating year)is an excellent way to help brats find each other...but again, that's not the issue here, and you just made my point with your next statement....
any overseas schools" and those who didn't.
>
> Wrong again. It IS a database of OVERSEAS schools and who attended them.

That's my gripe!! It's exclusionary....and those of us who NEVER attended any school overseas feel like we don't belong to the group, even though our experiences are the same as those who did. I hesitated to add my info for that reason, but finally added it because I'm trying desperately to be found by friends of mine who probably did go to school overseas.

> If you want to create a website for only US dependent schools then you have every right to NOT expect people who attended Overseas schools to try, or want to try, to find their school at that site and have their name included on your database.

That's what I'm trying to avoid....segregation of brats because of their schools, bases, branch of service, or whatever! We're all part of a "family" of sorts, and shouldn't be separating ourselves this way. Doesn't that make some sense to you?

> If you have ever lived overseas then you KNOW that there IS a distinction.

OK...I get it. I'm a lower class of brat. Thus, my signature.....
--
An insider who often feels left outside
http://www.mcurtis.com

###

From: M Curtis [marc@]
Sent: Saturday, April 19, 1997 7:18 AM
Subject: Re: Overseas vs Stateside Brats

> M,
>
> This ain't a matter of segregation, it's categorization. It's placing things in some kind of rational order that allows one to make a focused search for old friends. Now, it's very clear to me that you wish you had gone to school overseas and you resent it that you didn't. As John has pointed out, the site that bothers you is clearly named: "Overseas Brats." And there is a distinction, but it's not a matter of upper and lower case brats (Christ, we ALL know THAT was between officer's kids and enlisted---my old man was a CPO and I was proud of it, but I felt the chasm yawning every now and then). The distinction lies in the intensity of the experience overseas as compared to stateside duty. And I'll say this again: you would have fit right in--you have the right background and training.
>
> Rick Ledford

OK Rick, I can accept your 'categorization' comment...and quite frankly, the reason I kept checking the OSB website is to see if I could find old friends who probably did attend school overseas after I knew them. But isn't the category "Military Brat" enough? The problem is, there isn't ONE central location where we can all go to find each other. The OSB site is the best one out there, and the most likely place to meet up with someone you once knew. If you look down the list of people who registered there, you'll notice I'm the only one listed with a stateside school. I hesitated for so long to list there, figuring I wasn't welcome....and I have to wonder how many others like me haven't listed there for the same reason. And how many of those who haven't listed there might be someone that YOU or I are looking for? It doesn't make sense to duplicate the effort of OSB into a separate (yes, but equal) group when we're all the same group essentially. Although, if there's enough interest out there I would consider setting up a database on my site that is open to all....but I sure don't want to seem to be competing with OSB, as I really do think they have a good organization even if I'm on the outside looking in.

BTW, yes I do wish I went to HS overseas. I spent all 4 years of HS in one place (the school was closed down 11 years after I graduated and for the most part, we've all lost touch...kinda fits huh?). But, my "family" was spread throughout the world, not by their choice or mine, but by the nature of our lives. I just want to have some feeling of "home" and belonging instead of always being the one who feels like....
--
An insider who often feels left outside
http://www.mcurtis.com

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From: M Curtis [marc@]
Sent: Saturday, April 19, 1997 12:31 PM
Subject: Re: Overseas vs Stateside Brats

Robinall wrote in article...
> Marc,
> What about registering at Military Brats Online? Although we spent most of our service time overseas, I also made great friends at Ft. Hood. Hoping to find them at this site.
> Robin
> Robin,
MB Online doesn't have a registry yet....they do have a message board however. --

###

From: The Shoe [ldshoe@]
Sent: Saturday, April 19, 1997 1:49 PM
Subject: Re: Overseas vs Stateside Brats

When you talk to Brats who are most active in the OSB, you find that it was the quest for a high school identity that led them to the group. Had I lived in Germany for two years then had come home to finish high school at Waynesville, Leavenworth or Aberdeen, I would not have nearly as much interest in the OSB scene. I would not have felt quite so deprived because I could always attend the Waynesville, Leavenworth or Aberdeen high school reunions, meet all of my old friends again, etc. I am not in any way suggesting that only USAREUR high school graduates and not the attendees of those high schools should play the OSB game. I am only trying to explain my opinion that it is a feeling of being cheated, of not having a high school orgainzation that fuels the OSB activity. We graduates of USAREUR high school have no place else to go where we can re-visit that high school memory.

I pay dues to OSB, I puruse the magazine, etc. but I have never attended the meetings. My real love resides with my high school alumni organization. If OSB changed its name and mission to include all Brats, my involvement would undoubtedly increase in intensity because it would be filling a need not already filled by my alumni organization.

One final comment: I found very little difference in living as a Military Brat in state side posts from the Germany experience. In both instances, we were a sub-culture surrounded by aliens. As high school kids in Germany we used to talk about that all the time. ALL of us had at least one story to tell about clashes with Brats and the outside world ranging from anti-military teachers to tribal oriented bullies who hated the Brats.

After high school I dated a Marine Brat who told me that the non-Marine kids at the California schools at 29 Palms rarely mingled with them. To those who had lived at Ft. Riley, Junction City people were aliens, to us at Ft. Leonard Wood, the Ozark people were aliens. I know it is not quite the same but it is close enough that Brats who never made it overseas can identify.

###

From: Katie Mann [kmann@]
Sent: Saturday, April 19, 1997 2:14 PM
Subject: Re: Overseas vs Stateside Brats

>> M Curtis (marc@) wrote:
>>
>> Wrong again. It IS a database of OVERSEAS schools and who attended them.
>
>That's my gripe!! It's exclusionary....and those of us who NEVER attended any school overseas feel like we don't belong to the group, even though our experiences are the same as those who did. I hesitated to add my info for that reason, but finally added it because I'm trying desperately to be found by friends of mine who probably did go to school overseas.

The Military Brats of America group, I beleive I read, is trying to put together a database of .all. brats.
>
>> If you want to create a website for only US dependent schools then you
>> have every right to NOT expect people who attended Overseas schools to
>> try, or want to try, to find their school at that site and have their
>> name included on your database.

*LAUGH*

I'm sorry, but this is ridiculous. Maybe you personally did not spend time stateside in schools where you want to meet friends, but the notion that no one would want to find a stateside school when they've been overseas is ridiculous. This argument adds credit to mcurtis assertion that groups are exclusionary, or that groups like this one see a lot of opinions assuming people have lived overseas.

>That's what I'm trying to avoid....segregation of brats because of their schools, bases, branch of service, or whatever! We're all part of a "family" of sorts, and shouldn't be separating ourselves this way. Doesn't that make some sense to you? >

I imagine what happened is that it was a matter of convenience. Someone was interested in a project related to DoD schools because they attended one. Apparently (see below comments) some people do think that having lived overseas makes them more special. I think arguing about what was better or worse, is like listening to a couple of depressed people try to decide who has the worse pain (not that .everyone. depressed does this, but as an example. I'm sure there are other examples that would work).

>> If you have ever lived overseas then you KNOW that there IS a distinction.
>
>OK...I get it. I'm a lower class of brat. Thus, my signature.....

Saying there is a distinction doesn't have to be a loaded term, but I get the feeling in this instance it is. I think we .all. know that we have suffered or been slighted or whatever more than anyone else in some context.... I think what's being said (and I can relate to this not having lived overseas), is that mcurtis is saying why do .we. who are .already. segregated want to further divide ourselves?

Personally, it never occured to me that people would make these distinctions, but I didn't know until I came to this group. When I made my effort to get this group formed, it was because I took an interest. Someone else's interest is slightly otherwise. I hate the presumption that I see here that we must've lived overseas. I admit that I was a bit taken aback when on the "Overseas Brats" home page they link to this group with a note that it is "Our newsgroups," because on the overseas brats page I read that our as 'overseas brats'. I took a deep breath and decided that I don't think these people meant to slight people who grew up as I did... it is their group as brats.

I think we need to grow as a collective to realize that our experiences were not carbon copied. Some of us may have felt cheated not to go overseas, BUT some of us DON'T!! Imagine that (as one poster suggested those of us who didn't go overseas were cheated). Actually, I bet the feeling might change in different times of life. We had different expereinces and that is .fine., we shouldn't judge each other as having more valid or complete experiences by some checklist!

Katie
>--
>An insider who often feels left outside
>http://www.mcurtis.com

I can only say I'm sorry you feel that way so much to make it your .sig file. I can sometimes relate.

###

From: M Curtis [marc@]
Sent: Saturday, April 19, 1997 2:41 PM
Subject: Re: Overseas vs Stateside Brats

Katie, you just summed it all up perfectly :)
Marc
--
An insider who often feels left outside
http://www.mcurtis.com

###

From: M Curtis [marc@]
Sent: Saturday, April 19, 1997 2:34 PM
Subject: Re: Overseas vs Stateside Brats

The Shoe wrote in article...
>
> I would certainly support such a group but I think there would be a struggle to thrive because such an organization would lack that lust for high school identity that drive the OSB and alumni organizations.

Not so sure that is a problem...remember, there are thousands like me who don't have a high school identity, but do have a desire to find brat friends. Thanks for your support if I end up doing this!

Marc
--
An insider who often feels left outside
http://www.mcurtis.com

###

From: M Curtis [marc@]
Sent: Saturday, April 19, 1997 3:01 PM
Subject: Re: Overseas vs Stateside Brats

All very well stated! Just as your desire is for contact with high school friends from overseas, my desire is to contact the brats who I went to school with. That's why a database, not just a msg board or newsgroup might need to be developed that invites all brats regardless of where they lived or went to school. That way nobody feels like....
--
An insider who often feels left outside
http://www.mcurtis.com

###

From: Rick Ledford [rledford@]
Sent: Saturday, April 19, 1997 10:19 PM
Subject: Overseas vs Stateside

To Marc, Katie and da Shoe,

This has been a terrific thread to follow and to contribute to. You have all made excellent points, though there is some confusion as to perceived attitudes among the overseas contigent among us.

I'll say it again---we're all brats--we have much more in common than not and that's why we're here talking about this arcane subject. I mean, who cares except for us. I had fun at every base I lived at for 18 years of brathood. From Key West, Fla. in the early 50s, thru Charleston, SC, Great Lakes, Ill, North Island, CA, Long Beach CA, Bremerton, Wash, and finally to Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan. In every place, I was happy and glad to be part of the military world. I made great friends in each locale and was always heartbroken to leave them behind. Some of my clearest childhood memories consist of the days I arrived and the days I left our latest home. In those respects, it was no different whether I was in the US or not, the experience was similar everywhere.

The difference came in the community I found overseas. I was an outsider for my whole life, until I reached Yokohama/Yokosuka. Shoe is right, we were still outsiders off base, but at the high school we were most definitely not. That is exactly what makes the overseas thing so special. Now, we're not lusting after a high school identity; we have that; we know where we went to school. We ARE lusting to make contact with those we thought we'd NEVER see again. The OSB web is put together to help us lost souls who have had a taste of belonging to find that feeling again. And as Shoe continues, concerning stateside schools, "I would not have felt quite so deprived because I could always attend the Waynesville, Leavenworth or Aberdeen high school reunions, meet all of my old friends again, etc." This is what overseas brats have such a longing for. Katie, OSB is not an exclusionary thing, it is a database of brats who went to school overseas. If Military Brats had put together such a database (check their page--it's in the works) then that is where I'd be today. And when Shoe goes on to say, "My real love resides with my high school alumni organization," he tells you precisely where most overseas brats are coming from. And lastly, though I don't think he meant it this way, Shoe captures the extra-special meaning of a DoDDs school when he notes, "a Marine Brat told me that the non-Marine kids at the California schools at 29 Palms rarely mingled with them." That was my experience in many stateside schools. In Yokohama, however, we were one tight-knit family---we had no choice. It was that feeling of togetherness inside the school and the Teen Club that was so exhilirating. We weren't so special, Katie, but the experience certainly was. Remember, the vast majority of us went to stateside schools first. There is a distinction between stateside duty and overseas; it doesn't make anyone better or lesser but in my opinion all brats deserved a taste of that togetherness. As I said in an earlier post, we earned it with all the slights we put up with through the years of being a stranger in a strange land.

Come by guys, and visit my home page at "http://www.tiac.net/users/rledford/". It's not much yet, but you can see it's entitled Navy Brat, not Overseas Brat. And on the first page there is a link for military brats, not overseas brats. And I have a link for Nomads (the page for "younger" brats--they even have a link on their page for "older" brats---let them have it, I don't feel it's exclusionary). My pride and my joy will always be the YoHi Alumni page (remember what Shoe said), but that doesn't mean I don't respect brats of all stripes (and stars and bars).

Regards to Ya'll

Rick Ledford

###

From: M Curtis [marc@]
Sent: Sunday, April 20, 1997 8:08 AM
Subject: Re: Overseas vs Stateside

Rick (et al),
You brought the thread back to it's beginning when you said "we're all brats--we have much more in common than not." That's all I've been trying to say (or is that whining to say?). I've sent an email to vann baker at military brats online to see when he thinks he'll have the brats database up and running. In the meantime I'm looking into setting up a database on my site at http://www.mcurtis.com/brats.html in case his plans are too far in the future. I'm going to take a look at your site now....thanks for all the great discussion!

Marc
--
An insider who often feels left outside (but feeling more and more a part of this place)
http://www.mcurtis.com

###

From: M Curtis [marc@]
Sent: Tuesday, April 22, 1997 4:22 PM
Subject: Re: Overseas vs Stateside

Just a quick note on the database....it's in the final design stage and hopefully will be online this week....it's a very simple design, name, graduation year, city, state, email address. you can search for someone by first or last name or initial...very very simple, very overdue! I hope you'll all register once I make then announcement :)
--
An insider who often feels left outside
http://www.mcurtis.com

###

From: M Curtis [marc@]
Sent: Thursday, April 24, 1997 9:54 PM
Subject: Brats Registry Online!!

Well folks, out of frustration I finally did it! I've created a new database for Military Brats on the WWW. It's FREE...it's also brand new, so go enter your info and tell others....then check back often to search for your friends! You'll find it at:
http://www.militarybrat.com
and thanks for all the encouragement to get it done!
Marc
--
An insider who often feels left outside
http://www.militarybrat.com

###

From: The Shoe [ldshoe@]
Sent: Tuesday, April 29, 1997 4:38 PM
Subject: Re: Database

I have something to report. I sincerely felt real bad about my brother and sister Brats who felt excluded because they had not lived overseas or because they were Marine Brats, small in number. It really did bother me. I tried to help by talking about stateside experiences instead of Germany and talk about the Marine Brat I dated. When I heard about the Military Brats Registry, I liked the idea. In fact I liked it a lot. It is really the only true military Brat registry. I decided to register not because I expected anything but more because I wanted its organizers to know that I was behind them. Guess what happened? Jack Ferrick who I knew when we were both students at Waynesville High School saw my registration in MBR. He E-Mailed me. We have already talked about the old times and we have much more to talk about since we haven't had any contact since 1955. Then there is his sister Joan. It's wonderful. This is what it is all about.

###

From: Marc Curtis [marc@]
Sent: Sunday, May 03, 1998 5:21 PM
Subject: The growth of the Military Brats Registry

I was out of town when the Military Brats Registry celebrated it's first year online so I didn't get a chance to post a progress report. Original estimates after the first month online were for approximately 6,000 registered Brats after a year...in fact, we had (on April 24th) 8,800! When I started the Registry it was because I was desperate to find my friends from 4th grade at Ft Bliss, TX in 1960-61 and couldn't find a central location to find them. The good news for me is that in the last year I've been able to find 8 of my friends, and have spoken to 7 of them by telephone including my best friend, Chris Moore! Even though it's been 36 years since I last saw my classmates, it seemed like only a few years when we spoke. I've also had the blessing of receiving email every week from people who are finding their friends who they've missed for so long. The database continues to grow at a rate of 20 to 40 new listings every day! It has created a workload for me that I gladly perform as a labor of love, and will continue as long as my fingers can type and I can still read words on my monitor!

I just want to take a moment to thank all who encouraged me a year ago to set up the Military Brats Registry, those who have registered, and those who have made me no longer feel like "an outsider looking in" as I used to sign my posts. I look forward to another great year of growth and hopefully more publicity in the mainstream press so more Brats will hear about OUR Registry and sign up. There are some exciting things happening that I can't go into yet...but suffice it to say that we as Military Brats are finally coming together thanks to everyone who has a desire to make that happen. Just to mention a few names who are doing their best: Gene Moser, Operation Footlocker; Vann Baker, Military Brats Online; Joe Condrill, Overseas Brats; Mike Adams, Military Brats of America (inactive at the moment...but he did a lot to inspire the rest of us!); Katie Mann, acm-b; the hundreds of webmasters who have created alumni groups and other resources for Brats; and to everyone who posts their memories here on alt.culture.military-brats.....and too many others who my aging memory has forgotten....thanks!!

Marc Curtis
US Army Brat (Retired)

--
Military Brats Registry
http://www.militarybrat.com

###

From: Marc Curtis [marc@]
Sent: Tuesday, June 16, 1998 2:00 PM
Subject: 10,000 Registered Brats!

A new milestone has been reached in our community! The Military Brats Registry had it's 10,000th user join on Tuesday, June 16 at 1:36pm (Pacific time)!!!

Marc
--
Military Brats Registry
http://www.militarybrat.com

###

From: Marc Curtis [marc@]
Sent: Thursday, June 18, 1998 6:43 AM
Subject: Re: 10,000 Registered Brats!

The Shoe wrote in message...
>Some of you younger brats may not catch the full impact of this. In my day, we brats would grow up and lose all contact with our heritage. Once in awhile we would run into somebody who shared our experience but rarely. We stood back while everybody talked about reunions, visits, mutual friends, etc. We scattered like shot gun pellets all over the country, nay, world. The internet has solved the bigger problem, namely, compressing us all into one place.
>
>Let's carry on. And to you, Marc, my heartfelt thanks.

Shoe..

Very well said! You touched on the heart of all of us "older brats" and why the Registry is so important to us. I've said it more times than I can count...I wish something like this had been available when we were younger. I can't begin to express the incredible feelings when you find and talk to someone you have wondered about for 36 years. Hopefully the younger brats will realize early how important it is to keep in touch with their friends.....it's not like you can go "home" to see them whenever you want to as those who grew up in one place can.
Marc
--
Military Brats Registry
http://www.militarybrat.com


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