Well, things seem to be continuing to wind on down in 2020. The Old Man and The Old Woman have been trying to continue their farm life as usual. Something has been happening in the outside world, and some unknown tension was kinda sweeping over their beloved America. The Old Woman had been catching on to a little propaganda on the news, and this came to her realization after July the Fourth. She had taken her freedoms for granted, I’m guessing. I suppose she thought turmoil had been brewing for a long time and wouldn’t amount to much. The old couple had been minding their own business and checking their farm chore lists.
The Old Woman’s mind had a been little fuzzier this year, but some historic things still came clearly to her mind. I’m thinking she remembers more of the 60s than she does of yesterday!! Of course, she tells me many stories and repeats them until they definitely stay on MY mind! Oh my!! She woke up on July 5, 2020 and began thinking of her past life again!! She must have been thinking of when she was 12 years old today!! The Old Man thought she was thinking a little too much!! She began the story with the highway closing in front of the her old home place early one day in the early 60s to make room for a large missile to be transported to a site off of Highway 16. Now in the 80s the same thing happened, but this time the missile was going the opposite direction because it was moved out of the missile base before a major accident happened.
A lot had gone on during her childhood in Arkansas. The Cold War in the 50s led to the missile bases. Then in early 1960s the fear of nuclear war during President Kennedy’s time in office brought more interest of building group and family fallout shelters. President Kennedy was all for these endeavors, so builders began to study plans for construction of them. People were told to be prepared for a nuclear war. A kinda ‘duck and cover’ I guess!!! It didn’t help that horror movies included nuclear attacks and communist takeovers as their subject matter!!
The Old Woman’s dad was very creative and loved new challenges so he began his own study of these fallout shelters. He built one of the first fallout shelters in Heber Springs in the early 60s. Now the Old Woman’s memory isn’t as good as it should be lately, but she remembered the nuclear war scare during that time. She wasn’t for sure how many bomb shelters (as they were sometimes called) that her dad had built in the area, but he wanted his own family to be ready for attacks. He began the fallout shelter under the garage of their new home.
The fallout shelter was an expense with all the thick concrete on every side, floor, and ceiling. Her dad ordered the circulation fan from a catalog and put an air source in the top. It was guaranteed to take fallout particles from the air. They opted for a manual crank because they didn’t think there would be electricity during a nuclear attack. There awas a pump in the floor in case there was a water leak. It wouldn’t be the most comfortable of conditions if you had to wait out after being attacked!! Now I’m wondering how they knew this guarantee of the shelter’s working was legitimate? Guess if it didn’t work no one would be around to get their money back!?!
That shelter under her home definitely came to the Old Woman’s mind. It was quite an experience going down the small opening, down a ladder, and through a short hallway to a room. There was the machine to crank on a wall that brought air into the room and cleaned out the dangerous particles! (She decided to Google pictures for me to look at!!!?!) They had used the family fallout shelter as an old root cellar to keep home canning of vegetables and fruits. I’m not for sure if they knew how long they would stay below ground in a nuclear attack, so hopefully their home canning would supply their needs? They had practices as a family going into the shelter if there was a storm warning. Of course no cell phones then, but they brought a radio with them. Her dad decided if the bomb shelter could take a bomb surely it would withstand a tornado. Now if you were a bit claustrophobic as sometimes The Old Woman was this could be a scary experience. You just had to weigh the risks, I guess.
2020 had brought different issues for people to think about. Pandemics, quarantines, riots in the streets, monuments coming down or defaced, flags burned, economic worries, a wall going up on the border or not, whether news was true or not! (The Old Woman remembered Walter Cronkite – she trusted what HE said!!). The Old couple didn’t really understand how they would be able to protect themselves in 2020. What kind of shelter would THEY need!!?! They decided that compared to all of the things going in 2020 maybe the 60s had an easier solution to their problems and fears – just build yourself a family fallout shelter!!