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Call for "Brat" Interviewees
Posted at the request of Brat author, Mary Edwards Wertsch.

If you qualify and are interested, please email Mary - publisher at(@)

Dear All:

I am writing in search of potential interviewees for a book in progress.

As you may know, I am the author of the 1991 book Military Brats: Legacies of Childhood Inside the Fortress, which looked at the military as a home culture for the children reared within it, and examined the effects of those roots.

In my new book project, not yet titled, I am expanding on some of the findings that most intrigued me while researching and writing that book. I am looking at two things in particular: the effects of extreme mobility in childhood, and the effects of growing up in more than one culture. I am not limiting interviewees to military brats; children of missionary, diplomat, corporate, or other mobile families may well qualify. I am interested in interviewing anyone who meets the following criteria:

For mobility:

1) Must have moved multiple times during childhood years (up to 18), and:

2) Must have moved because of parental job or profession, or for some reason that made it clear that there would always be another move. In other words, people who moved always thinking the new place would be the last move, where they would settle down and “form roots”, would not be suitable for this project (unless they met criteria for multiple cultures, below); I need interviewees who lived in a “temporary” mode throughout childhood and have no sense of being “from” any particular place on the map.

For multiple cultures:

1) Must have grown up in more than one culture, such that they have a feeling of partially belonging to all but not wholly belonging to any. This obviously applies to children who grew up in different countries and were immersed in the culture of those countries (such as going to national schools and learning the language). It also may apply to those who grew up navigating both military and civilian cultures, or navigating vastly different communities (such as tribal reservation and other communities of any kind). The key here is immersion: Living within, absolutely needing to adapt to the ways of the community, figuring out how to be accepted and establish a workable social identity in that community.

2) As above, these cultural adaptation experiences must have occurred in childhood. Persons who began moving only as adults would not be candidates for this particular study.

I am doing as much interviewing as I can in person, and the rest by e-mail or phone interviews. Although the majority of interviewees will be adults, I am also interviewing children who meet the above criteria, are articulate, and wish to be interviewed.

Right now I am planning a trip to North Carolina and Virginia for late May and early June of this year. If you live in either one and wish to be interviewed, please let me know as soon as you can so I can work out an itinerary that will include as many interviews as possible.

But please do write to me if you live elsewhere as well. I hope to make other trips to do in-person interviews.

Thank you for your assistance with this research—I am hoping to gain insights which will be of real use to any readers who grew up in this way, are raising children in this way, or are working with adults or children who are constantly negotiating a state of belonging/not belonging.


Mary Edwards Wertsch
Brightwell Publishing
P.O. Box 16171
St. Louis, MO 63105
Ph: 314-662-2736
Fax: 314-863-6845
Brightwell Publishing Website
Brat Blog

This message has been edited. Last edited by: APO Admin,
Posts: 30 | Registered: August 25, 2004Reply With Quote
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My family was among the first to arrive in post war Germany, Dec., 1946. We remained there for four years then on to Washington D.C., Morocco, Eritrea, Italy and Turkey. Except for the stint in Washington, I spent my entire youth living overseas in varied settings.

My sisters and I adapted, learning languages, customs and some interesting history. Pretty much, I think we had a lot of fun and some very different childhood experiences. At some point in my teaching career, I began occasionally telling stories to my students which would then be repeated at their dinner tables that night. As little brothers and sisters grew up and passed through my classroom I would have to repeat the stories. Kids born and raised in Michigan, often with limited travel experience, would be rolling in the eisles and none more so than my Muslim and Indian students. They particularly enjoyed hearing of how my mother and I conspired with our young Berber maid in an effort to help her rid herself of the aged and parasitic husband she was married off to. I saw her a few years back, the proud and contented matriarc of a large family. And then there was what the kids called the "bomb story" and the story about Tina and Monique(my pet donkey and the beautiful French girl).

It was a very different childhood. If there is something I can do to help you with your book, let me know.
Posts: 13 | Location: St. Augustine, FL | Registered: September 16, 2004Reply With Quote
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