After my father’s retirement from the United States Army, my parents bought a home and settled in Austin, Texas, on the Williamson County line. I entered the 10th grade in the fall of 1976 at Round Rock High School. (Yes, I know – that’s ancient history.) I was often asked by other students, “Where are you from?” And I frequently found it difficult to give an answer. I was really from nowhere. My father was born and raised in Utah – but I had never lived there myself – so that wasn’t really home for me. My mother was born in Germany – and even though that had in fact been home for an extended period of time – sadly that wasn’t really home any more either.
My sister and I suffered a double whammy of culture shock: (1) Europe to Round Rock, Texas; and (2) military life to civilian life. It was a very difficult transition for me to make.
When I said “you guys,” and asked which “housing area” people lived in – the Texans looked at me as if I had grown a horn out of the middle of my head. (Okay, it was Round Rock – 1976 – what can I say…..?) Imagine the look on my face the first time I heard someone being called a “red-neck” or a “goat roper.” Imagine the looks that little white Judy “Montoya” got in the class room. I didn’t know that people actually still wore cowboy boots.J I didn’t know what a TV game show was. I missed my Bavarian bread! Where’s the PX?! And where are all those Texas tumbleweeds I had heard about?!
Due to the many moves an Army Brat typically makes – my sister and I were constantly making new friends to replace the ones that we had lost. We learned quickly to adapt to whatever new or different situation presented itself. As highly mobile children we were much more likely to reach out to a new student because we knew what it was like to be the new kid on the block. There are so many names and faces that I would love to reconnect with. I have a very special heart friend – Linda – and we were thick as thieves in Germany. To this day we correspond with each other and we still enjoy talking about “the good old days.”
Although we moved a lot – we did not grow accustomed to it – and the moves actually became increasingly difficult the older we got. Looking back on things now – I would not have traded my experiences for anything. This became abundantly clear when I landed in Round Rock, Texas in 1976! Military culture is unique in so many ways – I have had the opportunity to live and travel throughout Europe – and have had a wealth of experiences unmatched by most Americans.
And now 36 years have passed since my transition to my new life in America. I’m happy to say that I’ve been Texan-ized, and like they say:
I wasn’t born in Texas, but I got here as soon as I could!