Autumn, 1962. The thermometer was climbing and so was the economy; Dad’s income had boomed. To celebrate we’d decided to shoehorn a swimming pool into our miniature suburban SoCal back yard. Visions of bikinied girls and all the spectacular dives I’d make to impress them glided through my pre-adolescent head. We visited half a dozen swimming pool sales lots—they were everywhere in the boomy 60s. Life was good, and soon to be gooder! We found a pool company, appropriately named Aladdin, to make our wishes come true, and were about to close the deal when…

thmakj279jPresident Kennedy announced the Cuban Missile Crisis: Russian missiles with nuclear warheads aimed at the United States!

Everything changed. At school we learned to “duck and cover” (because no measly foreign-made atomic bomb could stand up to a well-made Masonite desk). Dad came home with brochures, and suddenly we were visiting bomb shelter sales lots—which also were everywhere in the boomy 60s. We stepped down into one depressing abyss after another, and were about to close the depressing deal when…

On October 28, President Kennedy announced that the crisis had ended. He and the Russians had come up with an 11th hour bailout based on the MAD (mutually assured destruction) doctrine. In a nutshell: If you destroy us, we’ll destroy you and then we’ll all be dead and no one will be left to care who started it.

So Dad tore up the bomb shelter lit, rubbed the Aladdin brochure, and soon the sweetest little swimming hole in all of balmy suburban SoCal appeared!

Three days later the least scary Halloween I’d ever experienced arrived.  I’d come to realize that zombies and ghouls were nothing.

It was humans you had to worry about.


About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Memoir and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Boom!

  1. I was there too, in nearby Ontario, Cal, Mitch. Remember the dire diagrams in the L.A. Times showing that the latest Russian H-Bomb would vaporize everything in a circle that stretched from Catalina Island to San Bernardino? Yep, humnas are way more dangerous than ghouls and critters.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. BelleUnruh says:

    I lived in Redlands, Calif at the time. I’m sure glad you got your swimming pool! Hiding under a desk was pretty stupid. Lol I also remember the sirens that would go off and emergency tests on the TV. My dad and I went to look at bomb shelters in the parking lot of a grocery store. Ah, those were the days.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Heather says:

    It was humans you had to watch out for.

    No kidding! We seem to be able to misuse or destroy nearly every good thing we discover or create.

    Good article, BTW.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, yes, I remember those days, too. Brings back memories. We had a pool, too. The circular, above-ground kind we filled with a hose. 😉 It sure cooled us off during Sacramento 112-degree summers, though!
    The ’60s were a horrible decade for so many reasons, not the least of which was the kind of division we seem to be reliving. As Yogi Berra said, “It’s Deja vu all over again.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. William Hill says:

    Lol! I, too, experienced the Cuba thing. I lived in suburban Washington, D.C. We had the hide under the desk, hands over head, kiss your a** goodbye drills for about a week, until someone logically deduced that – as it had been reported that the Soviets had some 10 nuclear missiles aimed at D.C – any hope of survival within a 50 mile radius was foolish, and the drills stopped. It was actually a mental release, knowing that if it happened it would be so massive and sudden we’d never know it and didn’t have to worry about being a survivor in an apocalyptic world.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. toutparmoi says:

    Being young and on the other side of the world, I remember following the news of the Missile Crisis with curiousity rather than alarm. I honestly never stopped to think how frightening it must have been for those in the Northern Hemisphere (including many Russians).

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lucie says:

    Nice piece, Mitch. I liked how you mixed “your lighter side” with a more profound statement. In some ways, life was “gooder” back then. Beautifully written…..

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: A Tale of Two Jacks | Mitch Teemley

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