Tales of Coming Home by U.S. Military Family Members, Government Officials, and Civilians in a new MAMF Anthology–Home: It’s Complicated

Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home– John Howard Payne (Home Sweet Home)

In her preface to  HOME: It’s Complicated, Editor Circe Olson Woessner makes clear that with all its complexities and nuances, home might be complicated, but it’s always home. That message is reinforced over and over in each of these 50-some moving, personal stories–home is not a place but a feeling in a place with family and the people you love.

Anyone who has spent time in the military or government service has experienced frequent relocations to all parts of the country and around the world. They have become used to the question, “Where are you from?”

The answer? Where–When? These authors have all experienced returning to a birthplace, a school, an installation, or a former apartment or house and finding it closed, destroyed, modified beyond recognition, or occupied by strangers, and their stories tell how they felt about their return: Sentimental. Disappointed. Nostalgic. Angry. Homesick. Or all of the above.

But they all come to the same conclusion. Home is where you are with family or people who seem like family. Whether in Germany or Texas, Japan or California, home is not so much where I came from, but possibly, where I’ll be going–so long as I’m with family.

Blogger and memoirist Connie Kinsey, the museum’s Writer-in-Residence, wrote nine essays and co-edited the anthology. As a former military “brat” who has finally rooted herself in West Virginia, Home: It’s Complicated was her brainchild, as she, too, has long struggled with the concept of  “where is home.” The theme also resonates with the forty-seven contributors hailing from four continents, each bringing a unique perspective on the concept of home. In all, there are 604 mentions of “home” in Home: It’s Complicated.

Home: It’s Complicated is now available through Amazon and is a fitting accompaniment to earlier MAMF anthologies–Schooling with Uncle Sam and Host Nation Hospitality, both also available through Amazon. Connie Kinsey blogs at http://wvfurandroot.com.

A Special Back-to-School Event: Schooling with Uncle Sam-August 10, 2024 at the Cherry Hills Library


During the Month of August, patrons of the Cherry Hills Library will be able to see artifacts from many of the Defense Department schools worldwide. On August 10th, 2024, there will be a special program about the almost 80-year-old school system. Dr. Allen Dale Olson will share the history and some of his memories spanning his decades-long involvement with the school system.

If you taught at or attended the Defense Department schools, we invite you to join us for the program. We’d love to hear your stories and share some of our anthology stories sent in by former DoDEA/DODDS teachers and students, as well as answer questions from the audience. Let’s have a mini all-schools reunion at the library!

If you are a New Mexico teacher or in a military student liaison program, please join us to exchange ideas on better supporting military children at your schools.
We hope you will join the friendly folks from the Museum of the American Military Family for an interesting book reading, discussion, and Q&A session.


For more information, contact the museum at info@militaryfamilymuseum.org or the Cherry Hills Library at (505)857-8321.



Today, our museum has reached the age of 13, a significant milestone in any institution’s life. We’re on the brink of a new phase, ready to embrace opportunities and challenges. With our talented board’s guidance and friends’ support, we’re striding forward.

Many of you have been with us since the beginning, while others have joined us along the way. We’ve made significant progress from our humble beginnings to our current status. We’ve had ups and downs and have experienced highs and lows. We’ve come far, learned valuable lessons, and accomplished many things along the way.

As we step into our 13th year, we want to thank you, our friends, those who have been alongside us the whole time, and those who have just joined us recently. Thank you all for your encouragement and support. We couldn’t have done it without you.

We look forward to continuing with you on our journey!

MAMF Introduces New Board Members

IN 2024, the museum welcomed several new volunteer board members, including Richard Tavares, Director of Marketing, Chris Apriceno, Director of Public Affairs, Erik Woessner, Associate Director of Technology, and Cathy Sydlo Wilkes, Development Director. MAMF also brought on UNM student Misti Starkey-Jones as museum manager.

While the museum is still temporarily closed while it transitions to its new location, look for MAMF to offer exciting programming, pop-up exhibits, interesting podcasts and several new anthology projects.

Follow the museum on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest to keep up to date on MAMF’s doings.




Due to the unexpected closure of Molly’s Bar, the museum is temporarily closed as it looks for a new location. We apologize for the inconvenience.

During our closure, we encourage you to follow us on Facebook, our podcasts and blogs, and look for our special programs and projects, which will be “popping up” in different locations. Please check back here on our website or on our Facebook page for the latest updates about our reopening.

We are raising funds to purchase a building. Please consider a donation to our building fund by check to:

Museum of the American Military Family

PO Box 5651

Albuquerque, NM 87185

MAMF previews its upcoming exhibit Host Nation Hospitality at Cherry Hills Library

The museum presented an audio-visual preview of its exhibit at a special program at the Cherry Hills Library in Albuquerque, NM. The upcoming exhibit Host Nation Hospitality was funded, in part, by a generous grant from New Mexico Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The anthology Host Nation Hospitality is available for purchase on Amazon.


The Museum of the American Military Family & Learning Center releases its newest anthology, HOST NATION HOSPITALITY.

When US military troops serve abroad, they are often accompanied by their families. Host Nation Hospitality presents more than a hundred first-hand stories and commentary documenting their living and working experiences in all parts of the world. There are memories dating from the rubble of World War II to the present. The stories come from US and Host Nation perspectives and cover topics from friendships to fiascos.

Compiled by MAMF’s 2020-2022 Writer-in-Residence Valerie Bonham Moon, editors Circe Olson Woessner and Allen Dale Olson, and illustrator Joan Y. Olson, this book is a companion to Schooling with Uncle Sam, MAMF’s tribute to the 75th anniversary of the Department of Defense world-wide school system for the children of military personnel. Schooling is available on Amazon.

HOST NATION HOSPITALITY is available on Amazon and other book retailers.


Some quotes from the anthology:

“When they asked me for my “shot record,” I was bewildered as I had never had a shot in my life. That first day, they gave me Tetanus, Small Pox, Yellow Fever, and a TB test. Thankfully, no horrible reaction resulted!”


“The village custom is to gather everyone together during the Qingming Festival for a communal dinner, a ‘block party’ as it is known in the USA. We walked down the road to the community center where dozens of tables and red plastic chairs were waiting for the entire population of Baiqi.”

“The first night my mother went to cook dinner in our new flat, we learned a lot! For starters…there was a coin-fed meter in the cabinet under the stove burners. When Mother went to cook, she first had to feed the meter a few coins. If cooking took longer than expected, and she used up her gas purchase, the gas burners on the stove would start to go “pop-pop-pop” as the gas ran out. Like most folks back then, we learned to keep a cup in a drawer near the stove with coins to feed the meter.”

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