Billy B. wondered where he was at. A bomb had literally fallen on St. Louis, Missouri and there were black particles in the air in Eldorado, Illinois…his town. He and his mom and dad and Chet and Thelma…had sheltered in their backyard bomb shelter. They had been in it for a month. Jane had been with her family in their bomb shelter. They wondered if Southern Illinois had been a good place to live when the Russians fired upon the United States. School had been canceled…indefinitely. The Food Center had no food and neither did Big Johns Supermarket. The smaller neighborhood markets had saved some food for their loyal customers…but it was running out quickly.
Chet remembered President Kennedy warning the Soviet Union to remove the nuclear missiles that they had placed in Cuba…ninety miles off the coast of Florida. Thelma, Chets’ mom, had told him that what was happening had been prophesied in the Bible. Joe, the owner of the Orpheum Theatre, had told Chet and Billy B. not to worry…as the news of imminent danger was the same superheated talk that he had been hearing for most of his life. Joe and Ivy did not seem to be worried in the least…why Chet and Billy B. and Jane had attended the Science Fiction Classic Film, The War Of The Worlds, just a week before the bombs fell.
Neva J. had been coughing a lot. She also said that her hair was coming out by the comb-full. Jefferson told Billy B. that he would take Neva J. to Deaconess Hospital in Evansville, Indiana, but he had heard that it had been leveled to the ground. Billy B. wondered what ‘Leveled to the ground,’ meant.
Walter Cronkite was no longer on television with the Evening News With Walter Cronkite. New York City was a wasteland. The BBC was broadcasting on Ham Radio. Mr. Gray, the Washington School 7th Grade Science Teacher was a certified Ham Radio Operator. Mr. Gray gathered Billy B. and Jane and Chet and Daryl into his classroom and told them what he had heard. Mr Gray was a teacher that connected to his students…he had a servant’s heart. He made Reel to Reel tapes each year of his 7th Grade Science Students. He loved what students said on the tapes and what students told him. He was a local Art Linkletter…of Kids’ Say The Darndest Things…
‘How did this happen, Mr. Gray,’ asked Billy B.? ‘Well, people become greedy and they want what they do not have…and they are willing to take it by force,’ said Mr. Gray. Now, Mr. Gray was a scholar in many subjects and not just science. He loved people and he loved learning. He understood that his student was just little people and that they deserved the respect and appreciation for their opinions and thoughts as any grown adult.
Bozo the Clown was on Billy Bs’ TV. Bozo was telling the kids not to worry and that this was just a test of the Emergency Broadcasting System…and in the event of a real emergency that they should stay tuned to the television station that they were watching for further instructions.
‘Supper Time,’ cried Neva J. Billy B. awakened from his unplanned slumber. There he was wth his head resting against the block hallway wall of Hillcrest School. And…he wondered how he had heard his mom’s voice at the School? And, he awoke in his bed…he had been taking a nap after school…which he dearly loved as he seemed to be tired most of the time. President Kennedy was announcing the end of the Cuban Missile Crisis…and Billy B. ruminated that the answer to our fear of bombs…was Supper Time…