|It happened one autumn|
|Written by Joe Awad|
|Tuesday, November 27, 2012 9:42 PM|
October came and went. November is nearly behind us, and I have seen little coverage of the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Buried, I’m sure, by the historic election, campaign and post-election coverage that has dominated the national news scene.
Yet, the CMC remains a defining period in America and throughout the world. It is, in my assessment, the crescendo of the Cold War.
Two great nuclear powers stood toe to toe, and many adults felt as the end of the world was imminent. but what do adults know?
Mom was frightened, tense, filling the bathtub with water for the expected “atomic bomb” attack from the Soviet Union, which everyone in my neighborhood called Russia.
I remember her telling me we needed fresh water because the bombs would contaminate outside sources with “X-rays.” She rushed me off to basement, instructing me to clean the “storm cellar” spick and span.
It was more like an alcove from which my dad ran his little repair shop for black and white tube-type TVs and home dial radios. I was entrusted with the job, no one else.
I stood in the small room gazing at my dad’s electronics repair equipment, trying to figure out the whole X-ray business with the basic understanding that X-rays were good things as far as I knew. The tubes, still there, under my brother’s ownership, remind me of bombs to this day.
The place was cool and quiet but my drifting thoughts were interrupted by Mom calling me to fill up pots and pans with water, then place them in the little room, and to scoop the canned goods from the shelves and stack them neatly in the corner of the alcove.
This was survival water, and, by God, we were determined to survive. What do adults know, anyway.
Someone, Mary, Tina, screamed there was no transistor radio in the room as instructed by the news guy. Ironic: hours before the room had been filled with radios … broken radios.
We were ready; our bunker was prepared. Little did we know that it would be our grave if a nuclear bomb had detonated in Greater Cincinnati. I laugh when I think of our general ignorance or see those film clips of school kids ducking under desks.
Each day passed, and we drained and refilled the bathtub as the little room became increasingly disorganized. In the end, no “atomic bomb” could render it any worse.
We had survived. That’s the way I remember it.
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