Title: Air Raid Drills by the Ocean
created on 10 Sep 19

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Comments on this picture (35):
1. chelydra wrote:
 I assembled this without thinking it through, but now it's done it dawns on me that looming over our grade school...
2. chelydra wrote:
 ...were two overwhelming mysteries: the nearby Atlantic Ocean, with its propensity for hurricanes just around the beginning of the school year — three big ones landed one after another when I was six. Our grandmothers look turns taking us in.
3. chelydra wrote:
 And then there were the air raid drills, heads under desk or lining up in hallways, depending on ever-changing recommendations from on high..
4. chelydra wrote:
 My first encounter with big bombs was when news came over the living room radio of an H-Bomb test that went haywire and killed millions of fish...
5. chelydra wrote:
 (to be continued after supper)
6. chelydra wrote:
 That was the Castle Bravo bomb on Bikini Atoll, detonated on March 1 1954, but kept out of the news for a week or two after.
7. chelydra wrote:
 Someday I'm going to publish what I can remember and/or reconstruct of my Q&A with my maternal grandma. She explained we needed to kill the fish on account of bad people, people so bad they don't believe in God.
8. chelydra wrote:
 Until then I didn't know anyone could be THAT bad. If I'd been really clever, I would have asked her if those blown-up fish believed in God.
9. chelydra wrote:
 But this mind-blowing news was way too big to be comprehended by even the cleverest of minds, and that slow-witted 5-yr-old couldn't make head nor tail of it, especially not the confounding God part.
10. chelydra wrote:
 Imagine people so bad they don't believe in God! I couldn't. Nor could I imagine the chain of cause-and-effect that would led from that to the necessity of blowing up lots and lots of fish—you could count to a hundred a hundred times and not get anywher
11. chelydra wrote:
 ...e near even one million. It was all too much. The simplest explanation was that grown-ups were much, much crazier than they'd ever admit.
12. chelydra wrote:
 BTW, that was 100% remembered actual conversation, from the millions of fish to the unbelievers. It was only recently I figured out exactly which bomb it must have been.
13. chelydra wrote:
 Ten years before I was born the biggest-ever hurricane (so it was said) roared through our little village. A sizable morgue had to be improvised in a private club. All through my childhood, grown-ups spoke about it like it happened last week.
14. chelydra wrote:
 What I never heard mentioned, ever, was even a rumor of the nuclear bombs hidden in the pine woods by the air force base, waiting to go off.
15. chelydra wrote:
 Until a classmate mentioned that his dad (who later became a 3-star general but at that time was flying fighters in Vietnam) had said something about it.
16. chelydra wrote:
 I can thank Wikipedia for helping me figure out the date of the fish-bombing. Wikipedia, to my horror, also confirmed the story of the bombs in the woods—and explained it, as logically as something so mad can be explained.
17. chelydra wrote:
 We'd all heard of the Bomarc missiles being installed in northeastern Speonk. a mile or two west of the Air Force base. We knew they were supposed to keep us safe from Russian bombers (who might pass overhead on their way to obliterate New York City)
18. chelydra wrote:
 When I found out just recently how the Bomarcs intended to get rid of the Russian planes, I realized that was what my friend was referring to.
19. chelydra wrote:
 Each missile had a small nuclear warhead, to be detonate, not on impact, but in the sky, in the general vicinity of the bomber fleet.
20. chelydra wrote:
 With dozens of Bomarcs blasting the air with their mini-nukes, the resulting shock waves would, in theory, screw up the Russians enough to neutralize their attack.
21. chelydra wrote:
 Those mini-nukes are still pretty formidable bombs. Even all together, they'd never add up to the 15-megaton Castle Bravo H-bomb. Hell, we'd just have a several dozen little Hiroshimas and Nagasakis lighting up the sky overhead.
22. chelydra wrote:
 Would they take out the Russians? Maybe, with luck, some of them anyway. Would they take out the little seaside villages and farming hamlets and sprawling suburbs on the ground below? You betcha! Every damn one!
23. chelydra wrote:
 What we the odds those Bomarcs mighta been scrambled and launched by mistake, due to a false alarm or crossed wires? Lord only knows.
24. chelydra wrote:
 But the Lord's mercy flowed down upon us in great ravishing torrents of joy, because lo and behold, the Russians were already moving all their big bombs into ICBMs—giant rockets that can fly at a zillion M.P.H. and land anywhere they want in no time fl
25. chelydra wrote:
 no time flat. Wham! Bang! Boom! So our brave little Bomarcs were seriously obsolete even before they were installed in our woods. They were a boondoggle.
26. chelydra wrote:
 And so the Lord (or the President maybe) commanded that Bomarc bases should be dismantled and that was that.
27. chelydra wrote:
 Or was it? My classmate's whisper about nukes in the pine woods were whispered circa 1966. The Bomarcs went in in the late 1950s and got decommissioned very soon after. Who wants yesterday's paper, who wants yesterday's girl? Nobody in the world!
28. chelydra wrote:
 Okay then, who wants yesterday's a-bombs (a little weatherbeaten and motheaten, unstable and accident-prone on their dotage.) A whole lot less than nobody in the world, I'd wager.
29. chelydra wrote:
 So I'm inclined to believe there really are a bunch of atomic warheads tossed in among the dwarf pines, scrub oaks, songbirds and turtles... doing whatever very old discarded a-bombs do in the woods when nobody's looking.
30. chelydra wrote:
 Good thing we didn't know any of this in grade school. We'd have tossed and turned all night long every night and probably we'd all be dead from anxiety before we even graduated. Praise the Lord, we had no idea!
31. indigo wrote:
 GREAT story and AMAZING pic! I was three years old. Frightening to think that about the woods! Let's keep hoping and praying what with the world the way it is... :(
32. chelydra wrote:
 Thanks Indigo! And thanks too to whatever supernatural force keeps you here, busy as a bee, spreading beauty and wisdom like pollen!
33. AFSOUTH wrote:
  Outstanding!
34. chellalynn wrote:
 love the story and the pic is great. Amen Indigo..i agree. very scary out there.. love your stories chelydra and the way you tell them. as you have probably figured out I don't get out much anymore so I lack that conversing with others so my vocabula
35. chellalynn wrote:
 vocabulary, spelling, etc are not what they use to be. kinda like the ole gray mare. lol.. love the stories and your storytelling abilites..and the pic is great too. (o;



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