Recalling The Cold War, as a 12 year old

fallout shelter

The Cold War was mentioned on tv the other day, and it occurred to me I hadn’t thought about some of the aspects of that for many, many years.  I was born in 1948, and when I was about 12, there was serious concern about nuclear war.  Kids today don’t know any of this, and that’s a good thing.  But it was pretty scary for a 12-year-old back then.

People built bomb shelters,  some in their basements, some separate.  Some lined the walls with lead.  Provisions for sometimes up to 6 months were put into the shelters. Public buildings sometimes had Fallout Shelters in them too, with signs like the one above, to direct you where to go in the event of a nuclear attack.

We all watched tv shows showing mushroom clouds and telling us what would happen if we were exposed to that kind of radiation.  Books were written about nuclear attacks and the aftermath, and movies came out about it.  People were afraid.

In school, we did drills about what to do if there were bombs.  We got under the desks furthest from the windows.  I lived out in the country, and the school was a few miles from my house as the crow flies, and more miles on the roads.  People were instructed to teach their kids how to get home if the school busses couldn’t take them.  My parents drove me to the school and showed me how to walk the shortest route to get home in case I had to. It was still quite a distance, and I’m not sure I would have made it without getting lost, especially while being scared to death.

It’s been many years since I saw a Fallout Shelter sign, and that’s a good thing.  Looking at the world today, it’s pretty scary to turn on the news now, but it was pretty scary to be living thru that then too.  I have no point here, except recalling.  And it’s an interesting point of view to point out to someone who has never been thru it, which by now, there’s a lot of people who haven’t.

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