I have been reading Fish of Gold’s blog about natural disasters. There have been some very good comments since she was Freshly Pressed. There were comments about disaster drills for tornadoes and hurricanes. I made the comment the only drill we had when I went to school was a bomb drill. That was not true when I got to really thinking about it. We also had the earthquake drill where we got underneath our desks, and also the usual monthly fire drill, where we left the building in a quiet, orderly fashion. The 1950’s was a wonderous decade.
I had to bring home a note from school, so my parents could choose what I should do just in case “the bomb” was dropped. It seemed everyone stayed on edge. I guess after the war, they thought we were fair game to be “nuked”. My parents decided I was to come home if an alert sounded. There was a siren system set up for the town to use in case of emergencies. The town of Benicia was built on the rolling hills. It sits right on the bay and is not far from San Francisco.
My parents worked at the Benicia Arsnal until it closed in 1960; because it was a military base, it made everyone very nervous. Everyone knew it would be the Arsnal that would be hit. I remember hearing mom and dad talk about what could happen. They also had my parents doing drills on their job, on what to do if the atomic bomb is dropped. How much time you would have, depending on the drop site.
The people in power wanted to make sure everyone was totally aware of all possibilities. In the middle of the night, the sirens started going off. I remember being woke and thrown in the closet head first, and my sister coming in right on top of me. The sirens woke my mom and dad; because of all the training, they knew the bomb had been dropped. In less than a minute the house began to sway and things started crashing to the floor. It was an earthquake, not a bomb. I guess they forgot to differentiate the siren sounds between what was a bomb and an earthquake.
I don’t remember doing anymore bomb drills after that little episode. It was fine with me, trying to run as fast as you could for six blocks to get home, was not fun.
Fish of Gold really provoked some serious childhood memories. Those bomb drills had not been thought of for years. I guess the war was over, but no one felt that it was “really” over. I can’t even start to think, the closet would have protected us from anything. It might have taken a second longer for the blast wave to get to us, but it would have arrived. Thank God, it never happened the way people thought it would. That’s my two-cents for today.