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The Air Force Brat
Do you know what the life of an Air Force “Brat” is like? Well you are about to find out. I interviewed Leslie L., my English teacher, about her life as an Air Force Brat, and her experiences throughout life. “New people, New places, New adventures.”
How many times have you moved? (Countries)
Half a dozen times they were the big moves. Also I lived in Spain and Panama so only two countries total.
What cultures did you experience?
Mostly Spanish cultures. Language and religion were probably the only things they had in common. I was pretty young, so I don’t remember a lot about the Panama.
Did moving affect your schooling in any way?
No, I liked school so I was good at most of my subjects. I mostly went to Catholic schools when I was young. Always had decent grades, and never really felt lost until it came to fourth grade math.
Does it bother you to think about moving?
No, moving was always like an adventure, something new waiting ahead. Making new friends was easy because I was still young. The only move I didn’t like at all was the move to Elkton for my senior year, but my cousins helped me adjust.
Do think moving affected you for the better or worse?
Moving was a good thing to experience. I learned people are people; we are more alike than we are different. I was an adventurous child, so moving around just helped broaden my horizons. I figured out that our country is the only place I would want to be. Nothing was ever going to get to me much; I always felt safe.
When you left friends behind did it get harder every time?
There were always new friends. You stay in touch as long as you can, but by the time that you reach college you lose touch. Tried to find some of them but I couldn’t.
Do you keep in touch with friends that you left behind?
Stayed in touch for a while during my junior year. Like I said then you loose contact and you don’t know where they are. There are always good people to meet to be your friend. New people, New places, New adventures.
Did moving make your family closer?
I was the first born and only child for nine years. Mom and I were close because of my being the only child for nine years. I was spoiled by my aunts. They gave me a chest full of doll clothes that were handmade. I was resentful of my brother when he was first born, because I was used to being the only child. I didn’t bond with my siblings until they were older, because we were too far apart when they were younger to understand each other. I had to learn to listen and to care.
Were you and your siblings all born in different places?
Yes, we were all born in different places. I was born in Omaha, Nebraska; my brother was born in Castle Air Force Base in California; and my sister was born in Belleview, Nebraska.
Were your parents really strict?
Mother was very strict. Dad never spanked, but occasionally said things to prove his point. When he said something, I knew that I should straighten up.
Did you ever blame your parents (Dad) for having to leave your friends?
Moving to Elkton as a senior was the only time I really hated having to move. To me the people here I didn’t have anything in common with or so I thought. Then I learned about the people in the town. I learned the basic goodness of the people. For the first time in my life I had roots. I am glad to be here.
Have you raised your family differently from how you were raised?
I just taught my children that you always have choices, and to think about the consequences.
Was your dad ever gone when you were growing up?
My dad was actually in England when I was born, so we never even met until I was about two. He was in WWII and Guam at one time.
Who gave you the nickname “Twiggy”?
My grandpa (mom’s dad) gave me the nickname, because I was the first granddaughter, so first twig on the family tree.
When did you come back to Elkton?
We moved back the summer before my senior year in 1962.
What made you want to become a teacher?
I really wanted to be home when my kids were home. I never intended to stay in teaching when my kids graduated I would be done, or so I thought. There is a science and art to teaching that you don’t realize when you are starting out. I wasn’t a good teacher at first and had to learn how to teach. I feel like I have had an impact on students’ lives, and I have been thanked by previous students.
Why did you choose English/Spanish?
That’s what I knew how to do. I was always able to speak well and loved to read. I took the easy road.
Do you enjoy teaching?
Yes, I do.
Why is Shakespeare you favorite writer?
I had a really good professor whose name was Paul Jackson. He had a different way of looking at Shakespeare. He really brought out the symbolism, beliefs, and all the details in the story. He said, “Quit worrying about the language, just read it.” I just read it, then after awhile your brain just does the translation for you.
Why do you enjoy Mythology?
The myths are about human beings and feelings that come with life. They are really like a good drama you can’t stop watching. There is a lot of truth to them, and they are quite realistic, in terms of human nature.