Monday, October 15, 2012

New Details From the Bay of Pigs Crisis

I remember sitting on the kitchen counter when I was 9 years old, listening to my sister tell me that Milwaukee was number 33 on the Soviet nuke list. There was more to it than we knew.
But on Oct. 27, one day before the public crisis would end, Castro cabled Khrushchev to urge a preemptive nuclear strike on U.S. targets.
My reaction: take the empty wine bottles out of the trash bucket at the top of the steps to the basement, fill them with water, re-cork them, and put them in the concrete pump room off of the laundry room. Also, to steal a first aid kit from the school bus and hide it in my bedroom closet.

My recollection is that my parents, who did not know about the first aid kit, thought my actions were mildly amusing. My friend's parents built a fall out shelter in the basement. That, apparently, was also something not to take very seriously.

We kids liked to play army, and built a fort in the dark, damp, sandy crawl space under our summer porch, from which we could cover the road, ready to combat the advancing Russian forces.

At the same time, our school had nuclear war drills, herding us into concrete block closets, where we would sit on the floor with our heads between our knees, waiting for Mr. Khrushchev to explode atomic bombs over the school.

More on the Bay of Pigs fiasco here.

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