My clearest memory of the 13 days is that we were going to live in the hallway of our house. We did not have a bomb shelter in the back yard but we had the next best thing – a whole canned chicken. My mother laid in a supply of food in the bottom shelf of the linen closet and we were going to stay there if the Russians bombed the San Fernando Valley, which surely they would given the number of aeronautical engineers that lived there. We would have a buffer of one room on all sides that would protect us (or so my mom thought). I really don’t remember my dad (who was in aerospace) weighing in at all. Over the next year or so all of the cans of fruit and peas (my mother was horrifyingly big on canned peas), tuna and potatoes were used up (that last much to my delight in German potato salad) until all that was left was a whole canned chicken. I don’t recall seeing one before that event and I think it stayed by itself in the linen closet until my father sold the house 12 years later. I don’t want to spread internet porn so if you want to see what it looks like out of the can you can google it. Let’s just say it does NOT look like the label.
There was a curious sidebar in the news today along with all of the talk of the 50th anniversary and what a cool calm diplomat Kennedy was. The Cuban government is relaxing the requirements for Cuban citizens to travel. I wonder what this will do to the wet-foot / dry-foot law. Just buy a ticket to Miami and you get an automatic residence permit? Will this be another Mariel Boatlift? What I do know is that I would love to get back to the island myself…or at least to Portos for a medianoche and a potato ball.
It’s so interesting you’re writing about the Cuban Missile Crisis, especially after having just read that article. I remember that, air raid drills in school where we hid under our desks (which were supposed to protect us?), and the people around the corner who did have a bomb shelter built into their front yard. I remember walking home from school looking up into the air waiting for a nuclear bomb to fall on me. All this time — what an impact it had on my young life. I always wondered what kind of food the neighbors had in their bomb shelter. Now I know.
Yes, it was always terrifying when the teacher, in mid-sentence, yelled “DROP!”. Then there we would be under our desks with our butts up in the air. I knew enought to know that it wouldn’t do a bit of good.