Billy B. loved his Bomb Shelter. His dad had the hole dug for it back in 1961 and he and Chet had played Daniel Boone and Stony the Army Man in it…for the past year. They enjoyed the mystery of a little room in the earth in their backyard.
1962 promised to be a special adventure. It was already October and that was the month that both Billy B. and Chet were very fond of as they were both born on October the 24th… Chet said, ‘Have you noticed how Mrs. K has been talking a lot about our class being aware of the difference between a fire alarm and a bomb alarm?’ Billy B. said that he not only had noticed the increased emphasis on School Bomb Drills but that he had wondered how walking out to the hallway and kneeling with your head against the wall…and then covering it with your hands…would protect you against an atomic bomb? Chet said, ‘Yes…and if we did not file out in a single-file to the hallway…we ‘Duck and Cover’ under our desk…and how does that protect you against a Bomb that destroys schools…and not just desks?’
Billy B.’s mom and dad seemed increasingly preoccupied with Walter Cronkite and the CBS Evening News. There was adult talk about a missile attack on the United States…and missiles that were dangerously close. Billy B.’s dad moved some cots into the Bomb Shelter…and Billy B. and Chet planned their joint Birthday Party. Chet said that his mom had been crying when she watched the news and had begun reading her Bible often. Neva J. told Billy B. that the three of them and Chet and his mom, Thelma, was going to start spending the nights in their Bomb Shelter.
Billy B. wondered why his mom had given him his birthday gift of a Big Swinger Polaroid Camera…4 days early. He began snapping photos of mom and dad and Chet and Thelma….. and a brilliant light that filled the sky…and looked like a mushroom…