Two years earlier a counselor had told Amy that we were not unlike army children, who had to make friends quickly and adjust to new surroundings all the time. We knew the difference even then. Army brats were with other army brats. A best friend on Friday might be half a world away by Monday, but they might meet again later, and they were all in the same situation. We were always going into a community of children who had known one another for years, who had slumber parties, whose parents knew the other parents and shared car pools, were room mothers, went running together. If the schools we had come from had not yet touched on subjects, we were the new dummies. Amy and Kevin had taught me fractions. Dad had taught Amy how to diagram sentences. If our previous schools had been more advanced, we were stuck-up, snobs. We always knew more about geography than anyone, often more than our teachers. We all learned not to volunteer answers. Our accents were always wrong — too southern, too northern, too midwestern. . . . We never knew the new recess rules, the pecking order. If we carried lunches in boxes, the other kids used brown paper bags. If we took drinks in thermoses, they bought milk at school. We were used to being out of step for weeks or even months.