Accepting Brathood

Like many other military brats, I also have no place to call home. My civilian friends always laughed at me when we went on school trips because I was apt to call the hotel that we were staying at ‘home.’

My name is Jennifer Sieracki and I have lived at Plattsburgh AFB, NY, Fairchild AFB, WA, Pease AFB, NH, Portales, NM, New Richmond, WI, Eau Claire, WI and I currently live in Minneapolis, MN where I attend the University of Minnesota. Throughout my travels I have attended two elementary schools, one middle school, one junior high, two high schools, and three universities despite the fact that I am only a sophomore.

Like many other military brats, I also have no place to call home. My civilian friends always laughed at me when we went on school trips because I was apt to call the hotel that we were staying at ‘home.’ They never understood that where I lay my head is home. However, I once did consider New Hampshire to be my home. I lived there for six years, and when they announced that they were closing the base I was heartbroken. I insisted that New Hampshire was my home, though, up until we went back to visit a few years ago.

A brewery/restaurant now stands where my house once was. The other homes that are left standing have been broken into and vandalized. It’s like walking through a ghost town. Only one of my friends remains in the surrounding community. So now, I too search for home. The town I graduated from school in is not home. Many of my peers let me know that I was not like them. I often slipped between New England, southern, and no accent when talking. This led me to be picked-on throughout my adolescense. Minneapolis is definitely not home. The apartment I live in is worse than any military housing I’ve ever been to.

On the other hand, I don’t really want to find a home. As long as I will always be able to touch-base with my parents I’ll be fine. The thought of actually settling down somewhere is suffocating. My change of universities is proof of that. I want to go everywhere. I feel sorry for the civilian kids I went to high school with. They all want to settle down in the same area that they grew-up in. That’s definitely not for me. I’ve tasted the world, and I want to gobble it up. There are so many places that I want to go and see before I leave this world. There just isn’t enough time. Life would be boring otherwise.

I have, however, settled on the man I want to spend the rest of my life with. Finding a permanent partner once seemed impossible. Not only did I believe that I could go anywhere, but I also believed that I could date anyone. So many people go in and out of a brats life, that I think that’s what some of us tend to expect of everyone.

Now, I would prefer staying with my boyfriend. We’ve been together for two years now, and as many of you brats can validate, that’s quite a commitment.

All in all, I wouldn’t change my military brat life for anything in the world. Sure, I’ve got gypsy-feet, and I’ve had to work for my friends, but I’ve done so much more than many people have done their entire lives. I only hope that I can offer as much to my own children.

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in Military Brats Online in 1997.

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  1. That was a nice story, thank you for sharing, and I too am a military brat and I am glad I am. The subject about “home” is very true, our families that we grew up with are our “home” theoretically. They are our beacon. We military brats yearn for travel and adventure, it’s in our blood, we need partners in our life that crave the same cravings we do.

  2. Many Brats struggle in defining “home.”  Was it the post you stayed at the longest?  Maybe you claim the last duty station as home.  Or is it the one that’s still in existance?  I spent 6+ years in Karlsruhe, but it washanded over to the German government.  While the main housing still stands, it’ll never be occupied by Americans again.  I returned there a few years ago, and it left me with mixed emotions.  Try explaining to somebody who’s only lived in the same town here in America how it feels to have your hometown disappear.  We also spent 8+ years in Mannheim, and that is where I consider myself to “be from.”  My formative years were spent there, and my fondest memories of childhood come from my years in and around BFV.  But even that is going away, as the DoD has announced the return of Garrison Mannheim to the Germans by 2014.  Just as importantly, how do we prepare the future brats for the very real reality of a changing military structure, where many of the places they call home will be gone in the near future?

  3. yes shes right  where is my home i was 20 year miltary brat army 

    cilvilians will not understand……I have the gypy feet and i want to see more of the world. To meet people that just stay in one place i cant even get that.  But Ive meet alot of people most of the people i hang with are ex military….thank god for that…john

  4. My father was in the Air Force for the first 20 years of my life. All my life I was waved past base’s gates.
    I have the distinct memory of riding by the gate at Hanscom Field iin Bedford MA, from which my father had retired. I was going to the housing area, which you can get to without passing through security. My ID card had recently expired and I realized, I was no more welcome on that base than any other civilian! “But I’m a BRAT! You don’t understand!” I said in my mind’s exchange with the MP. That was a very sad day. Luckily, bratdom doesn’t expire with ID cards. It is very much part of who I am.

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