Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Alas Babylon, A Montana Childhood and a Quirk

I grew up in Billings, Montana in the sixties, I was in first grade when President Kennedy was assasinated. Back then we had Abomb drills of the duck under the desk variety.

I also had a much older brother who loved scifi. Doug had an extensive collection of paperbacks, which I started reading at a young age since I was  a good reader and a complete bookworm.

In central Montana, near Great Falls, there are tons of nuclear missile silos all pointed at the USSR, which made Montana a first strike target in a nuclear war.

I can still remember several vivid nightmares about ABombs

One of the books I read in fifth or sixth grade was Alas Babylon by Pat Frank, about a family surviving nuclear war in rural Florida. While not a hopeless depressing book, it left a lasting impression. Later, in high school, our theater department put on the play  of this book.

As I got older I was told that nuclear war wouldn't be like that book, instead, few would survive, it was hopeless.

The Cold War is over now, and I'm glad since the threat of a huge nuclear war is over. But countries still have the bombs and someday someone will shoot one off.

So call me crazy. I keep a supply of iodine stocked up. I know how much to apply as a protection from fall out. I still live east of Great Falls/central Montana, in the wind patterns that would bring fall out my way.

We all have our quirks, right? I just sleep better with iodine in the house.

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