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TheFourth Grade

TheFourth Grade

THE FOURTH GRADE

                                                      Prologue

 

The following are the dictionary definitions of the words order and chaos.

Order/ˈôrdər/

noun

1.      

the arrangement or disposition of people or things in relation to each other according to a particular sequence, pattern, or method.

"I filed the cards in alphabetical order"

synonyms:

sequencearrangementorganizationdispositionsystemseries,succession

 

The triggering of a thermal nuclear device involves the perfect sequence of events in a perfectly timed order. If all of these things happen (in less than a second) it goes BOOM!

 

Chaos/ˈkāˌäs/

noun

complete disorder and confusion.  a state in which behavior and events are not controlled by anything

1.      

synonyms:

disorderdisarray, disorganization, confusionmayhembedlam,pandemoniumhavocturmoiltumultcommotiondisruptionupheaval,uproarmaelstrom

 

A nuclear explosion creates the epitome of chaos.

 

Grover Cleveland Elementary School 1958.

My elementary school memories are few. However, in the fourth grade; now we have a story. I was born just a few years after WWII when Adolf Hitler was still fresh on our minds. Then the Cold War happened. We learned about propaganda and the CIA spies and the nuclear threat that Russia imposed upon us. We worried about the Atomic Bomb. We worried because we lived on Rachel Street, just a few miles from Long Beach Harbor and the Naval Base. It was said more than once; that the base would be a prime target for a nuclear attack.

The TV repeatedly showed the atomic bombing of Japan and the Bikini Island tests. I had an idea of what “ground zero” meant. There was the huge mushroom cloud, the powerful shock wave and the destruction in the aftermath. Even though it was a horrific scene I always felt that whatever the problem was that made people use the bomb it certainly ended that problem in a most efficient fashion. I felt relief.

The best shows on television were the scientific ones that showed the soldiers as guinea pigs. They would be in trenches, in the Las Vegas desert, standing to face the blast. No worry though, the army had supplied the soldiers with dark colored eye goggles to protect them. The U.S. Army thinks of everything.

Disney showed a color cartoon that explained about the atom by showing a genie being unleashed from a bottle. He was powerful like the atom.

The great mushroom cloud was very cool, but I always waited for the shock wave. I liked the way the shock wave hiccupped when the vacuum collapsed as the air rushes back to fill the void. I loved to see the buildings blown away.

The best part was I saw the little fake, mocked up neighborhoods. Real cars would be in the driveway and lawn mowers were left out in the yard. I was pretty sure that the lawn mowers were real too. But the very, best part was when they put automatic cameras in the house’s living rooms. They had manikin families in there. The dad was sitting on the couch reading the newspaper, with his pipe in his mouth. Then the mom was standing in the kitchen with her apron on and holding her spatula. The kids were sitting on the floor in front of a blank TV screen; all of them were smiling. The camera would cut back to the outside of the house. Suddenly the shock wave hit.

The lawn mower was never found even though the army spent many man-hours on that mission. Now for the very, very best part. The living room camera caught, in slow motion, the curtains as they started to blow into the house followed by hot dust and debris. Dad’s face began to melt away, with his elbow bent holding the pipe that was still in his mouth. The grins were wiped off the children faces as they melted into the carpet.

The army eventually found mom's spatula still intact and they ordered hundreds of them at $600 apiece from a guy that worked out of his garage. The guy is now the owner of a company that makes army stuff; probably like Bechtel Corporation or some other bloated government contractor.  And what in the hell did they build those damned cameras out of?

I really enjoyed the television shows about the people that built backyard, underground “bomb shelters.” Building contractors advertised their ability to provide you protection from the nuclear fallout. How neat would be to have a bomb shelter, with food and water and bunk beds and lots of flashlights and batteries?

The shelter would also have a big steel door to keep out the neighbors that didn't have enough foresight to build their own shelter.

The moral discussions were endless. Should you lock out your neighbors when the air raid sirens went off? If you did let them come into your bomb shelter, would you have enough room, food and supplies to sustain them? Do you take his children inside and leave him and his wife locked out? Should you save his 19-year-old daughter? Should you lock out your wife out? After the nuclear holocaust, you would need good breading stock to replenish the world.

Nine years old and I am contemplating these life and death questions. No wonder I am so screwed up. I had seen the mushroom cloud several times on TV as the bomb exploded into the atmosphere. There was the flash of light and X-rays that penetrated the body so the bones showed through the skin. I often thought about the shock wave that even leveled some cement buildings.

Then one day I found a Civil Defense pamphlet. It was so neat. It told me what to do if I didn't have the $8000-dollar contractor built, underground bomb/fallout shelter; which I always assumed we would have. I never once contemplated a scenario where my family would be held at bay by a shotgun-wielding neighbor blocking our entrance to the safety of his shelter, the shelter belonging to the neighbor with the 19-year-old daughter of course.

Maybe my father's pleading to the neighbor that I was an only child would get me into his shelter. Maybe I could be on the bottom bunk bed with the nineteen-year-old girl on the top bunk. Maybe.

Anyway, the pamphlet went on to suggest that you could simply dig out some of the dirt from under your houses concrete slab foundation. Then you could crawl in between the concrete slab and the ground; dirty, but apparently effective. Oh yeah; it said that I would need blankets to cover the opening to the outside. Also, and this was stressed, if I must leave for any reason, upon returning, be sure to have someone sweep your clothes off with a broom to remove any radioactive dust particles from my clothing! I was only 9 years old and even I couldn’t believe that this would work.

Let's see, a shovel that’s maybe five dollars. Next the blankets on my bed would do. No special broom was mentioned so I guess that a regular kitchen broom would work. Heck, almost everyone has a shovel. And if not, I could run over to the neighbor and just grab one from his garage after he locks his family in their shelter. Yes, the one with the nineteen-year-old daughter. Don't worry; he is the one that is going to be pissed off when he realizes that he could have gotten off for almost nothing.

Most of this talk didn't cause me any trauma. However, school scared the heck out of me. Bomb drills at Grover Cleveland Elementary had replaced fire drills, only we had them more often.

What we would do when the sirens blew, was to line up single file and calmly follow the teacher across the campus and into the auditorium. We were trained to face a seat and then to put the seat bottom down. Then, to kneel in front of the seat and put our left arm on it. Next, we were told to place our head on are arm then to take the right arm and cover our head or neck, the choice was yours. It would possibly be your last.

As we walked around the back of the auditorium, towards the front, I would notice a steel ladder, permanently affixed to the side of the building. It was the access to the roof for the maintenance personnel.

I developed a plan. I would always work my way to the back of the line of kids. This I practiced every time that we had a drill. The idea was to fall out of line and climb up the ladder to the roof. That way I could embrace the blast. I would get to see the flash of light and the x- rays that would allow me to see the bones in my hands. The mushroom cloud would appear, and then the shock wave would annihilate me, just like you see on TV.

How much better could this have been, then to be cloistered in the dimly lit theater waiting to die? All while my friends were sniffing an elementary school auditorium seat and missing the show of their lives while waiting to be annihilated; trying to decide if they should cover their heads or their necks? Not me!

I realized that I had a problem with my plan. How would I be able to tell the drill from the real thing? I looked for patterns in the way the drills were carried out. I tried to observe the behaviors of the teachers and principal. There seemed to be no way to compare their actions during a drill to their actions during the real thing.

One day though, we started another drill. I saw the principal give my teacher the “hurry up” sign, as we approached the rear of the auditorium. This was my clue. This was the real thing. My heart beat out of my chest. As the line of students rounded a corner of the building, I held back until I saw that they had turned their final corner. I finally stepped around my corner and saw no one.

Perfect. I hit the ladder running, jumped up and climbed to the roof. Nice view, but a little scary now that the realty of dying was imminent. I thought of my parents and my grandma and my cousins, my uncles and aunts. I waited, looking over the houses in the direction of Long Beach and the Naval Base waiting for the flash of light. The time passed and finally; I heard a loud roar. I looked down to see half of the school children looking up at me and laughing. The teachers were hollering for me to stay up there. “Don't come down someone will come up to get you,” shouted a teacher.

After the principal, the teachers, the school nurse, the police and my parents talked to me, I still had the child psychologists’ appointments. I only had to see him three times. That was my nuclear experience and little did I know that I would have a couple of more in my future.

 

 

NUCLEAR SOLITUDE WORD   

ROUGH DRAFT 11/30/10

FINAL DRAFT (4th) 06/18/2016

 

PART 2 BELOW

**************************************************************

044.JPG  GOLD BLACK MONSTER.jpg
Nuclear

Nuclear

WITNESS MAGAZINE. CHAOS                      DRAFT

PHOTO INTRODUCTION

 

Nuclear Child

 

 

Order is defined as the arrangement or disposition of people or things in relation to each other according to a particular sequence; pattern or method. It is my understanding that the detonation sequence of an Atomic Bomb requires exact precision in a perfect order all in less than a second.

The epitome of chaos commences a millisecond after the detonation of said bomb.

When I was in the fourth grade and around 9 years old; the television repeatedly showed the atomic bombing of Japan. I had an idea of what ground zero meant. There was the huge mushroom cloud, the shock wave and the destruction in the aftermath. However, the shows that I liked the best were the scientific shows that showed the U. S. Army soldiers as guinea pigs. They were in trenches in the Las Vegas, Nevada desert; standing to face the blast. No worry though, the U. S. Army had supplied them with dark colored eye goggles to protect them. The Army thought of everything.

In my 9-year-old mind, I thought that they were exploding the Atomic Bomb really close to Las Vegas and I pictured the blast hitting the hotels on the Strip. Over the years my fantasy expanded as new landmark hotels were erected.

Some of these pictures are "raw," meaning that they were manipulated on the street with just the camera. A very inexpensive camera purchased after 2 am on QVC.

Other images have been "cooked" either a little or a lot, usually with Roxio. I have twisted almost all of the casinos in Las Vegas, but I really enjoy manipulating the iconic Stratosphere as you can see it from 360 degrees.

Everything that you are about to witness happened in a few seconds. What is the last thing that you will ever witness? What does the birth of chaos look like?

BEHOLD CHAOS!

 

 

STRATO BLAST . . . THE TIME IS 2 SECONDS AFTER DETONATION

 

GOLGATHA. SHOCK WAVE RAW (MGM . . . SIGNITURE CONDOS . . . PARIS)

 

STRATO WHIPPET DURING THE INITIAL SHOCK WAVE (COOKED WELL DONE)

 

2. ANNIHILATION

the state of being annihilated; total destruction; extinction:

fear of nuclear annihilation.

 

 

STRATO DRAGON . . . RAW

 

STRATOSPHEAR AS X-RAYS IMPACT (I COULD SEE THE BONES THROUGH MY SKIN)

 

PARIS STREET SCENE ONE SECOND BEFORE I PARRISHED LEAVING MY NEW TRIPOD ON THE SIDEWALK

 

CHAOS . . . FIRE

blu

BLUE DRAGON

 

 

PARIS BUTTER . . .MELTING AWAY CAN BE CHAOTIC

 

BENT LIBERTY . . .COOKED WELL DONE

 

SPEEDING NORTH ON HWY 80 TRYING TO BEAT THE BLAST

A TRUE SHOCK WAVE

 

STRATOSPHERE PIXELS

 

STRATO CANDLE

 

STRATOFIRE . . . AFTER THE BLAST

 

 

 

 

  THE FOURTH GRADE                                                           Prologue         The following are the dictionary definitions of the words order and chaos.    Order/ˈôrdər/     noun     1.            the arrangement or disposition of people or things in relation to each other according to a particular sequence, pattern, or method.    "I filed the cards in alphabetical order"     synonyms:      sequence   ,    arrangement   ,    organization   ,    disposition   ,    system   ,    series   ,   succession   ;           The triggering of a thermal nuclear device involves the perfect sequence of events in a perfectly timed order. If all of these things happen (in less than a second) it goes BOOM!          Chaos/ˈkāˌäs/     noun     complete disorder and confusion.      a state in which behavior and events are not controlled by anything    1.             synonyms:      disorder   ,    disarray   , disorganization,    confusion   ,    mayhem   ,    bedlam   ,   pandemonium   ,    havoc   ,    turmoil   ,    tumult   ,    commotion   ,    disruption   ,    upheaval   ,   uproar   ,    maelstrom   ;           A nuclear explosion creates the epitome of chaos.           Grover Cleveland Elementary School 1958.  My elementary school memories are few. However, in the fourth grade; now we have a story. I was born just a few years after WWII when Adolf Hitler was still fresh on our minds. Then the Cold War happened. We learned about propaganda and the CIA spies and the nuclear threat that Russia imposed upon us. We worried about the Atomic Bomb. We worried because we lived on Rachel Street, just a few miles from Long Beach Harbor and the Naval Base. It was said more than once; that the base would be a prime target for a nuclear attack.  The TV repeatedly showed the atomic bombing of Japan and the Bikini Island tests. I had an idea of what “ground zero” meant. There was the huge mushroom cloud, the powerful shock wave and the destruction in the aftermath. Even though it was a horrific scene I always felt that whatever the problem was that made people use the bomb it certainly ended that problem in a most efficient fashion. I felt relief.  The best shows on television were the scientific ones that showed the soldiers as guinea pigs. They would be in trenches, in the Las Vegas desert, standing to face the blast. No worry though, the army had supplied the soldiers with dark colored eye goggles to protect them. The U.S. Army thinks of everything.  Disney showed a color cartoon that explained about the atom by showing a genie being unleashed from a bottle. He was powerful like the atom.  The great mushroom cloud was very cool, but I always waited for the shock wave. I liked the way the shock wave hiccupped when the vacuum collapsed as the air rushes back to fill the void. I loved to see the buildings blown away.  The best part was I saw the little fake, mocked up neighborhoods. Real cars would be in the driveway and lawn mowers were left out in the yard. I was pretty sure that the lawn mowers were real too. But the very, best part was when they put automatic cameras in the house’s living rooms. They had manikin families in there. The dad was sitting on the couch reading the newspaper, with his pipe in his mouth. Then the mom was standing in the kitchen with her apron on and holding her spatula. The kids were sitting on the floor in front of a blank TV screen; all of them were smiling. The camera would cut back to the outside of the house. Suddenly the shock wave hit.  The lawn mower was never found even though the army spent many man-hours on that mission. Now for the very, very best part. The living room camera caught, in slow motion, the curtains as they started to blow into the house followed by hot dust and debris. Dad’s face began to melt away, with his elbow bent holding the pipe that was still in his mouth. The grins were wiped off the children faces as they melted into the carpet.  The army eventually found mom's spatula still intact and they ordered hundreds of them at $600 apiece from a guy that worked out of his garage. The guy is now the owner of a company that makes army stuff; probably like Bechtel Corporation or some other bloated government contractor.  And what in the hell did they build those damned cameras out of?  I really enjoyed the television shows about the people that built backyard, underground “bomb shelters.” Building contractors advertised their ability to provide you protection from the nuclear fallout. How neat would be to have a bomb shelter, with food and water and bunk beds and lots of flashlights and batteries?  The shelter would also have a big steel door to keep out the neighbors that didn't have enough foresight to build their own shelter.  The moral discussions were endless. Should you lock out your neighbors when the air raid sirens went off? If you did let them come into your bomb shelter, would you have enough room, food and supplies to sustain them? Do you take his children inside and leave him and his wife locked out? Should you save his 19-year-old daughter? Should you lock out your wife out? After the nuclear holocaust, you would need good breading stock to replenish the world.  Nine years old and I am contemplating these life and death questions. No wonder I am so screwed up. I had seen the mushroom cloud several times on TV as the bomb exploded into the atmosphere. There was the flash of light and X-rays that penetrated the body so the bones showed through the skin. I often thought about the shock wave that even leveled some cement buildings.  Then one day I found a Civil Defense pamphlet. It was so neat. It told me what to do if I didn't have the $8000-dollar contractor built, underground bomb/fallout shelter; which I always assumed we would have. I never once contemplated a scenario where my family would be held at bay by a shotgun-wielding neighbor blocking our entrance to the safety of his shelter, the shelter belonging to the neighbor with the 19-year-old daughter of course.  Maybe my father's pleading to the neighbor that I was an only child would get me into his shelter. Maybe I could be on the bottom bunk bed with the nineteen-year-old girl on the top bunk. Maybe.  Anyway, the pamphlet went on to suggest that you could simply dig out some of the dirt from under your houses concrete slab foundation. Then you could crawl in between the concrete slab and the ground; dirty, but apparently effective. Oh yeah; it said that I would need blankets to cover the opening to the outside. Also, and this was stressed, if I must leave for any reason, upon returning, be sure to have someone sweep your clothes off with a broom to remove any radioactive dust particles from my clothing! I was only 9 years old and even I couldn’t believe that this would work.  Let's see, a shovel that’s maybe five dollars. Next the blankets on my bed would do. No special broom was mentioned so I guess that a regular kitchen broom would work. Heck, almost everyone has a shovel. And if not, I could run over to the neighbor and just grab one from his garage after he locks his family in their shelter. Yes, the one with the nineteen-year-old daughter. Don't worry; he is the one that is going to be pissed off when he realizes that he could have gotten off for almost nothing.  Most of this talk didn't cause me any trauma. However, school scared the heck out of me. Bomb drills at Grover Cleveland Elementary had replaced fire drills, only we had them more often.  What we would do when the sirens blew, was to line up single file and calmly follow the teacher across the campus and into the auditorium. We were trained to face a seat and then to put the seat bottom down. Then, to kneel in front of the seat and put our left arm on it. Next, we were told to place our head on are arm then to take the right arm and cover our head or neck, the choice was yours. It would possibly be your last.  As we walked around the back of the auditorium, towards the front, I would notice a steel ladder, permanently affixed to the side of the building. It was the access to the roof for the maintenance personnel.  I developed a plan. I would always work my way to the back of the line of kids. This I practiced every time that we had a drill. The idea was to fall out of line and climb up the ladder to the roof. That way I could embrace the blast. I would get to see the flash of light and the x- rays that would allow me to see the bones in my hands. The mushroom cloud would appear, and then the shock wave would annihilate me, just like you see on TV.  How much better could this have been, then to be cloistered in the dimly lit theater waiting to die? All while my friends were sniffing an elementary school auditorium seat and missing the show of their lives while waiting to be annihilated; trying to decide if they should cover their heads or their necks? Not me!  I realized that I had a problem with my plan. How would I be able to tell the drill from the real thing? I looked for patterns in the way the drills were carried out. I tried to observe the behaviors of the teachers and principal. There seemed to be no way to compare their actions during a drill to their actions during the real thing.  One day though, we started another drill. I saw the principal give my teacher the “hurry up” sign, as we approached the rear of the auditorium. This was my clue. This was the real thing. My heart beat out of my chest. As the line of students rounded a corner of the building, I held back until I saw that they had turned their final corner. I finally stepped around my corner and saw no one.  Perfect. I hit the ladder running, jumped up and climbed to the roof. Nice view, but a little scary now that the realty of dying was imminent. I thought of my parents and my grandma and my cousins, my uncles and aunts. I waited, looking over the houses in the direction of Long Beach and the Naval Base waiting for the flash of light. The time passed and finally; I heard a loud roar. I looked down to see half of the school children looking up at me and laughing. The teachers were hollering for me to stay up there. “Don't come down someone will come up to get you,” shouted a teacher.  After the principal, the teachers, the school nurse, the police and my parents talked to me, I still had the child psychologists’ appointments. I only had to see him three times. That was my nuclear experience and little did I know that I would have a couple of more in my future.

THE FOURTH GRADE

                                                      Prologue

 

The following are the dictionary definitions of the words order and chaos.

Order/ˈôrdər/

noun

1.      

the arrangement or disposition of people or things in relation to each other according to a particular sequence, pattern, or method.

"I filed the cards in alphabetical order"

synonyms:

sequencearrangementorganizationdispositionsystemseries,succession

 

The triggering of a thermal nuclear device involves the perfect sequence of events in a perfectly timed order. If all of these things happen (in less than a second) it goes BOOM!

 

Chaos/ˈkāˌäs/

noun

complete disorder and confusion.  a state in which behavior and events are not controlled by anything

1.      

synonyms:

disorderdisarray, disorganization, confusionmayhembedlam,pandemoniumhavocturmoiltumultcommotiondisruptionupheaval,uproarmaelstrom

 

A nuclear explosion creates the epitome of chaos.

 

Grover Cleveland Elementary School 1958.

My elementary school memories are few. However, in the fourth grade; now we have a story. I was born just a few years after WWII when Adolf Hitler was still fresh on our minds. Then the Cold War happened. We learned about propaganda and the CIA spies and the nuclear threat that Russia imposed upon us. We worried about the Atomic Bomb. We worried because we lived on Rachel Street, just a few miles from Long Beach Harbor and the Naval Base. It was said more than once; that the base would be a prime target for a nuclear attack.

The TV repeatedly showed the atomic bombing of Japan and the Bikini Island tests. I had an idea of what “ground zero” meant. There was the huge mushroom cloud, the powerful shock wave and the destruction in the aftermath. Even though it was a horrific scene I always felt that whatever the problem was that made people use the bomb it certainly ended that problem in a most efficient fashion. I felt relief.

The best shows on television were the scientific ones that showed the soldiers as guinea pigs. They would be in trenches, in the Las Vegas desert, standing to face the blast. No worry though, the army had supplied the soldiers with dark colored eye goggles to protect them. The U.S. Army thinks of everything.

Disney showed a color cartoon that explained about the atom by showing a genie being unleashed from a bottle. He was powerful like the atom.

The great mushroom cloud was very cool, but I always waited for the shock wave. I liked the way the shock wave hiccupped when the vacuum collapsed as the air rushes back to fill the void. I loved to see the buildings blown away.

The best part was I saw the little fake, mocked up neighborhoods. Real cars would be in the driveway and lawn mowers were left out in the yard. I was pretty sure that the lawn mowers were real too. But the very, best part was when they put automatic cameras in the house’s living rooms. They had manikin families in there. The dad was sitting on the couch reading the newspaper, with his pipe in his mouth. Then the mom was standing in the kitchen with her apron on and holding her spatula. The kids were sitting on the floor in front of a blank TV screen; all of them were smiling. The camera would cut back to the outside of the house. Suddenly the shock wave hit.

The lawn mower was never found even though the army spent many man-hours on that mission. Now for the very, very best part. The living room camera caught, in slow motion, the curtains as they started to blow into the house followed by hot dust and debris. Dad’s face began to melt away, with his elbow bent holding the pipe that was still in his mouth. The grins were wiped off the children faces as they melted into the carpet.

The army eventually found mom's spatula still intact and they ordered hundreds of them at $600 apiece from a guy that worked out of his garage. The guy is now the owner of a company that makes army stuff; probably like Bechtel Corporation or some other bloated government contractor.  And what in the hell did they build those damned cameras out of?

I really enjoyed the television shows about the people that built backyard, underground “bomb shelters.” Building contractors advertised their ability to provide you protection from the nuclear fallout. How neat would be to have a bomb shelter, with food and water and bunk beds and lots of flashlights and batteries?

The shelter would also have a big steel door to keep out the neighbors that didn't have enough foresight to build their own shelter.

The moral discussions were endless. Should you lock out your neighbors when the air raid sirens went off? If you did let them come into your bomb shelter, would you have enough room, food and supplies to sustain them? Do you take his children inside and leave him and his wife locked out? Should you save his 19-year-old daughter? Should you lock out your wife out? After the nuclear holocaust, you would need good breading stock to replenish the world.

Nine years old and I am contemplating these life and death questions. No wonder I am so screwed up. I had seen the mushroom cloud several times on TV as the bomb exploded into the atmosphere. There was the flash of light and X-rays that penetrated the body so the bones showed through the skin. I often thought about the shock wave that even leveled some cement buildings.

Then one day I found a Civil Defense pamphlet. It was so neat. It told me what to do if I didn't have the $8000-dollar contractor built, underground bomb/fallout shelter; which I always assumed we would have. I never once contemplated a scenario where my family would be held at bay by a shotgun-wielding neighbor blocking our entrance to the safety of his shelter, the shelter belonging to the neighbor with the 19-year-old daughter of course.

Maybe my father's pleading to the neighbor that I was an only child would get me into his shelter. Maybe I could be on the bottom bunk bed with the nineteen-year-old girl on the top bunk. Maybe.

Anyway, the pamphlet went on to suggest that you could simply dig out some of the dirt from under your houses concrete slab foundation. Then you could crawl in between the concrete slab and the ground; dirty, but apparently effective. Oh yeah; it said that I would need blankets to cover the opening to the outside. Also, and this was stressed, if I must leave for any reason, upon returning, be sure to have someone sweep your clothes off with a broom to remove any radioactive dust particles from my clothing! I was only 9 years old and even I couldn’t believe that this would work.

Let's see, a shovel that’s maybe five dollars. Next the blankets on my bed would do. No special broom was mentioned so I guess that a regular kitchen broom would work. Heck, almost everyone has a shovel. And if not, I could run over to the neighbor and just grab one from his garage after he locks his family in their shelter. Yes, the one with the nineteen-year-old daughter. Don't worry; he is the one that is going to be pissed off when he realizes that he could have gotten off for almost nothing.

Most of this talk didn't cause me any trauma. However, school scared the heck out of me. Bomb drills at Grover Cleveland Elementary had replaced fire drills, only we had them more often.

What we would do when the sirens blew, was to line up single file and calmly follow the teacher across the campus and into the auditorium. We were trained to face a seat and then to put the seat bottom down. Then, to kneel in front of the seat and put our left arm on it. Next, we were told to place our head on are arm then to take the right arm and cover our head or neck, the choice was yours. It would possibly be your last.

As we walked around the back of the auditorium, towards the front, I would notice a steel ladder, permanently affixed to the side of the building. It was the access to the roof for the maintenance personnel.

I developed a plan. I would always work my way to the back of the line of kids. This I practiced every time that we had a drill. The idea was to fall out of line and climb up the ladder to the roof. That way I could embrace the blast. I would get to see the flash of light and the x- rays that would allow me to see the bones in my hands. The mushroom cloud would appear, and then the shock wave would annihilate me, just like you see on TV.

How much better could this have been, then to be cloistered in the dimly lit theater waiting to die? All while my friends were sniffing an elementary school auditorium seat and missing the show of their lives while waiting to be annihilated; trying to decide if they should cover their heads or their necks? Not me!

I realized that I had a problem with my plan. How would I be able to tell the drill from the real thing? I looked for patterns in the way the drills were carried out. I tried to observe the behaviors of the teachers and principal. There seemed to be no way to compare their actions during a drill to their actions during the real thing.

One day though, we started another drill. I saw the principal give my teacher the “hurry up” sign, as we approached the rear of the auditorium. This was my clue. This was the real thing. My heart beat out of my chest. As the line of students rounded a corner of the building, I held back until I saw that they had turned their final corner. I finally stepped around my corner and saw no one.

Perfect. I hit the ladder running, jumped up and climbed to the roof. Nice view, but a little scary now that the realty of dying was imminent. I thought of my parents and my grandma and my cousins, my uncles and aunts. I waited, looking over the houses in the direction of Long Beach and the Naval Base waiting for the flash of light. The time passed and finally; I heard a loud roar. I looked down to see half of the school children looking up at me and laughing. The teachers were hollering for me to stay up there. “Don't come down someone will come up to get you,” shouted a teacher.

After the principal, the teachers, the school nurse, the police and my parents talked to me, I still had the child psychologists’ appointments. I only had to see him three times. That was my nuclear experience and little did I know that I would have a couple of more in my future.

  THE FOURTH GRADE                                                           Prologue         The following are the dictionary definitions of the words order and chaos.    Order/ˈôrdər/     noun     1.            the arrangement or disposition of people or things in relation to each other according to a particular sequence, pattern, or method.    "I filed the cards in alphabetical order"     synonyms:      sequence   ,    arrangement   ,    organization   ,    disposition   ,    system   ,    series   ,   succession   ;           The triggering of a thermal nuclear device involves the perfect sequence of events in a perfectly timed order. If all of these things happen (in less than a second) it goes BOOM!          Chaos/ˈkāˌäs/     noun     complete disorder and confusion.      a state in which behavior and events are not controlled by anything    1.             synonyms:      disorder   ,    disarray   , disorganization,    confusion   ,    mayhem   ,    bedlam   ,   pandemonium   ,    havoc   ,    turmoil   ,    tumult   ,    commotion   ,    disruption   ,    upheaval   ,   uproar   ,    maelstrom   ;           A nuclear explosion creates the epitome of chaos.           Grover Cleveland Elementary School 1958.  My elementary school memories are few. However, in the fourth grade; now we have a story. I was born just a few years after WWII when Adolf Hitler was still fresh on our minds. Then the Cold War happened. We learned about propaganda and the CIA spies and the nuclear threat that Russia imposed upon us. We worried about the Atomic Bomb. We worried because we lived on Rachel Street, just a few miles from Long Beach Harbor and the Naval Base. It was said more than once; that the base would be a prime target for a nuclear attack.  The TV repeatedly showed the atomic bombing of Japan and the Bikini Island tests. I had an idea of what “ground zero” meant. There was the huge mushroom cloud, the powerful shock wave and the destruction in the aftermath. Even though it was a horrific scene I always felt that whatever the problem was that made people use the bomb it certainly ended that problem in a most efficient fashion. I felt relief.  The best shows on television were the scientific ones that showed the soldiers as guinea pigs. They would be in trenches, in the Las Vegas desert, standing to face the blast. No worry though, the army had supplied the soldiers with dark colored eye goggles to protect them. The U.S. Army thinks of everything.  Disney showed a color cartoon that explained about the atom by showing a genie being unleashed from a bottle. He was powerful like the atom.  The great mushroom cloud was very cool, but I always waited for the shock wave. I liked the way the shock wave hiccupped when the vacuum collapsed as the air rushes back to fill the void. I loved to see the buildings blown away.  The best part was I saw the little fake, mocked up neighborhoods. Real cars would be in the driveway and lawn mowers were left out in the yard. I was pretty sure that the lawn mowers were real too. But the very, best part was when they put automatic cameras in the house’s living rooms. They had manikin families in there. The dad was sitting on the couch reading the newspaper, with his pipe in his mouth. Then the mom was standing in the kitchen with her apron on and holding her spatula. The kids were sitting on the floor in front of a blank TV screen; all of them were smiling. The camera would cut back to the outside of the house. Suddenly the shock wave hit.  The lawn mower was never found even though the army spent many man-hours on that mission. Now for the very, very best part. The living room camera caught, in slow motion, the curtains as they started to blow into the house followed by hot dust and debris. Dad’s face began to melt away, with his elbow bent holding the pipe that was still in his mouth. The grins were wiped off the children faces as they melted into the carpet.  The army eventually found mom's spatula still intact and they ordered hundreds of them at $600 apiece from a guy that worked out of his garage. The guy is now the owner of a company that makes army stuff; probably like Bechtel Corporation or some other bloated government contractor.  And what in the hell did they build those damned cameras out of?  I really enjoyed the television shows about the people that built backyard, underground “bomb shelters.” Building contractors advertised their ability to provide you protection from the nuclear fallout. How neat would be to have a bomb shelter, with food and water and bunk beds and lots of flashlights and batteries?  The shelter would also have a big steel door to keep out the neighbors that didn't have enough foresight to build their own shelter.  The moral discussions were endless. Should you lock out your neighbors when the air raid sirens went off? If you did let them come into your bomb shelter, would you have enough room, food and supplies to sustain them? Do you take his children inside and leave him and his wife locked out? Should you save his 19-year-old daughter? Should you lock out your wife out? After the nuclear holocaust, you would need good breading stock to replenish the world.  Nine years old and I am contemplating these life and death questions. No wonder I am so screwed up. I had seen the mushroom cloud several times on TV as the bomb exploded into the atmosphere. There was the flash of light and X-rays that penetrated the body so the bones showed through the skin. I often thought about the shock wave that even leveled some cement buildings.  Then one day I found a Civil Defense pamphlet. It was so neat. It told me what to do if I didn't have the $8000-dollar contractor built, underground bomb/fallout shelter; which I always assumed we would have. I never once contemplated a scenario where my family would be held at bay by a shotgun-wielding neighbor blocking our entrance to the safety of his shelter, the shelter belonging to the neighbor with the 19-year-old daughter of course.  Maybe my father's pleading to the neighbor that I was an only child would get me into his shelter. Maybe I could be on the bottom bunk bed with the nineteen-year-old girl on the top bunk. Maybe.  Anyway, the pamphlet went on to suggest that you could simply dig out some of the dirt from under your houses concrete slab foundation. Then you could crawl in between the concrete slab and the ground; dirty, but apparently effective. Oh yeah; it said that I would need blankets to cover the opening to the outside. Also, and this was stressed, if I must leave for any reason, upon returning, be sure to have someone sweep your clothes off with a broom to remove any radioactive dust particles from my clothing! I was only 9 years old and even I couldn’t believe that this would work.  Let's see, a shovel that’s maybe five dollars. Next the blankets on my bed would do. No special broom was mentioned so I guess that a regular kitchen broom would work. Heck, almost everyone has a shovel. And if not, I could run over to the neighbor and just grab one from his garage after he locks his family in their shelter. Yes, the one with the nineteen-year-old daughter. Don't worry; he is the one that is going to be pissed off when he realizes that he could have gotten off for almost nothing.  Most of this talk didn't cause me any trauma. However, school scared the heck out of me. Bomb drills at Grover Cleveland Elementary had replaced fire drills, only we had them more often.  What we would do when the sirens blew, was to line up single file and calmly follow the teacher across the campus and into the auditorium. We were trained to face a seat and then to put the seat bottom down. Then, to kneel in front of the seat and put our left arm on it. Next, we were told to place our head on are arm then to take the right arm and cover our head or neck, the choice was yours. It would possibly be your last.  As we walked around the back of the auditorium, towards the front, I would notice a steel ladder, permanently affixed to the side of the building. It was the access to the roof for the maintenance personnel.  I developed a plan. I would always work my way to the back of the line of kids. This I practiced every time that we had a drill. The idea was to fall out of line and climb up the ladder to the roof. That way I could embrace the blast. I would get to see the flash of light and the x- rays that would allow me to see the bones in my hands. The mushroom cloud would appear, and then the shock wave would annihilate me, just like you see on TV.  How much better could this have been, then to be cloistered in the dimly lit theater waiting to die? All while my friends were sniffing an elementary school auditorium seat and missing the show of their lives while waiting to be annihilated; trying to decide if they should cover their heads or their necks? Not me!  I realized that I had a problem with my plan. How would I be able to tell the drill from the real thing? I looked for patterns in the way the drills were carried out. I tried to observe the behaviors of the teachers and principal. There seemed to be no way to compare their actions during a drill to their actions during the real thing.  One day though, we started another drill. I saw the principal give my teacher the “hurry up” sign, as we approached the rear of the auditorium. This was my clue. This was the real thing. My heart beat out of my chest. As the line of students rounded a corner of the building, I held back until I saw that they had turned their final corner. I finally stepped around my corner and saw no one.  Perfect. I hit the ladder running, jumped up and climbed to the roof. Nice view, but a little scary now that the realty of dying was imminent. I thought of my parents and my grandma and my cousins, my uncles and aunts. I waited, looking over the houses in the direction of Long Beach and the Naval Base waiting for the flash of light. The time passed and finally; I heard a loud roar. I looked down to see half of the school children looking up at me and laughing. The teachers were hollering for me to stay up there. “Don't come down someone will come up to get you,” shouted a teacher.  After the principal, the teachers, the school nurse, the police and my parents talked to me, I still had the child psychologists’ appointments. I only had to see him three times. That was my nuclear experience and little did I know that I would have a couple of more in my future.

THE FOURTH GRADE

                                                      Prologue

 

The following are the dictionary definitions of the words order and chaos.

Order/ˈôrdər/

noun

1.      

the arrangement or disposition of people or things in relation to each other according to a particular sequence, pattern, or method.

"I filed the cards in alphabetical order"

synonyms:

sequencearrangementorganizationdispositionsystemseries,succession

 

The triggering of a thermal nuclear device involves the perfect sequence of events in a perfectly timed order. If all of these things happen (in less than a second) it goes BOOM!

 

Chaos/ˈkāˌäs/

noun

complete disorder and confusion.  a state in which behavior and events are not controlled by anything

1.      

synonyms:

disorderdisarray, disorganization, confusionmayhembedlam,pandemoniumhavocturmoiltumultcommotiondisruptionupheaval,uproarmaelstrom

 

A nuclear explosion creates the epitome of chaos.

 

Grover Cleveland Elementary School 1958.

My elementary school memories are few. However, in the fourth grade; now we have a story. I was born just a few years after WWII when Adolf Hitler was still fresh on our minds. Then the Cold War happened. We learned about propaganda and the CIA spies and the nuclear threat that Russia imposed upon us. We worried about the Atomic Bomb. We worried because we lived on Rachel Street, just a few miles from Long Beach Harbor and the Naval Base. It was said more than once; that the base would be a prime target for a nuclear attack.

The TV repeatedly showed the atomic bombing of Japan and the Bikini Island tests. I had an idea of what “ground zero” meant. There was the huge mushroom cloud, the powerful shock wave and the destruction in the aftermath. Even though it was a horrific scene I always felt that whatever the problem was that made people use the bomb it certainly ended that problem in a most efficient fashion. I felt relief.

The best shows on television were the scientific ones that showed the soldiers as guinea pigs. They would be in trenches, in the Las Vegas desert, standing to face the blast. No worry though, the army had supplied the soldiers with dark colored eye goggles to protect them. The U.S. Army thinks of everything.

Disney showed a color cartoon that explained about the atom by showing a genie being unleashed from a bottle. He was powerful like the atom.

The great mushroom cloud was very cool, but I always waited for the shock wave. I liked the way the shock wave hiccupped when the vacuum collapsed as the air rushes back to fill the void. I loved to see the buildings blown away.

The best part was I saw the little fake, mocked up neighborhoods. Real cars would be in the driveway and lawn mowers were left out in the yard. I was pretty sure that the lawn mowers were real too. But the very, best part was when they put automatic cameras in the house’s living rooms. They had manikin families in there. The dad was sitting on the couch reading the newspaper, with his pipe in his mouth. Then the mom was standing in the kitchen with her apron on and holding her spatula. The kids were sitting on the floor in front of a blank TV screen; all of them were smiling. The camera would cut back to the outside of the house. Suddenly the shock wave hit.

The lawn mower was never found even though the army spent many man-hours on that mission. Now for the very, very best part. The living room camera caught, in slow motion, the curtains as they started to blow into the house followed by hot dust and debris. Dad’s face began to melt away, with his elbow bent holding the pipe that was still in his mouth. The grins were wiped off the children faces as they melted into the carpet.

The army eventually found mom's spatula still intact and they ordered hundreds of them at $600 apiece from a guy that worked out of his garage. The guy is now the owner of a company that makes army stuff; probably like Bechtel Corporation or some other bloated government contractor.  And what in the hell did they build those damned cameras out of?

I really enjoyed the television shows about the people that built backyard, underground “bomb shelters.” Building contractors advertised their ability to provide you protection from the nuclear fallout. How neat would be to have a bomb shelter, with food and water and bunk beds and lots of flashlights and batteries?

The shelter would also have a big steel door to keep out the neighbors that didn't have enough foresight to build their own shelter.

The moral discussions were endless. Should you lock out your neighbors when the air raid sirens went off? If you did let them come into your bomb shelter, would you have enough room, food and supplies to sustain them? Do you take his children inside and leave him and his wife locked out? Should you save his 19-year-old daughter? Should you lock out your wife out? After the nuclear holocaust, you would need good breading stock to replenish the world.

Nine years old and I am contemplating these life and death questions. No wonder I am so screwed up. I had seen the mushroom cloud several times on TV as the bomb exploded into the atmosphere. There was the flash of light and X-rays that penetrated the body so the bones showed through the skin. I often thought about the shock wave that even leveled some cement buildings.

Then one day I found a Civil Defense pamphlet. It was so neat. It told me what to do if I didn't have the $8000-dollar contractor built, underground bomb/fallout shelter; which I always assumed we would have. I never once contemplated a scenario where my family would be held at bay by a shotgun-wielding neighbor blocking our entrance to the safety of his shelter, the shelter belonging to the neighbor with the 19-year-old daughter of course.

Maybe my father's pleading to the neighbor that I was an only child would get me into his shelter. Maybe I could be on the bottom bunk bed with the nineteen-year-old girl on the top bunk. Maybe.

Anyway, the pamphlet went on to suggest that you could simply dig out some of the dirt from under your houses concrete slab foundation. Then you could crawl in between the concrete slab and the ground; dirty, but apparently effective. Oh yeah; it said that I would need blankets to cover the opening to the outside. Also, and this was stressed, if I must leave for any reason, upon returning, be sure to have someone sweep your clothes off with a broom to remove any radioactive dust particles from my clothing! I was only 9 years old and even I couldn’t believe that this would work.

Let's see, a shovel that’s maybe five dollars. Next the blankets on my bed would do. No special broom was mentioned so I guess that a regular kitchen broom would work. Heck, almost everyone has a shovel. And if not, I could run over to the neighbor and just grab one from his garage after he locks his family in their shelter. Yes, the one with the nineteen-year-old daughter. Don't worry; he is the one that is going to be pissed off when he realizes that he could have gotten off for almost nothing.

Most of this talk didn't cause me any trauma. However, school scared the heck out of me. Bomb drills at Grover Cleveland Elementary had replaced fire drills, only we had them more often.

What we would do when the sirens blew, was to line up single file and calmly follow the teacher across the campus and into the auditorium. We were trained to face a seat and then to put the seat bottom down. Then, to kneel in front of the seat and put our left arm on it. Next, we were told to place our head on are arm then to take the right arm and cover our head or neck, the choice was yours. It would possibly be your last.

As we walked around the back of the auditorium, towards the front, I would notice a steel ladder, permanently affixed to the side of the building. It was the access to the roof for the maintenance personnel.

I developed a plan. I would always work my way to the back of the line of kids. This I practiced every time that we had a drill. The idea was to fall out of line and climb up the ladder to the roof. That way I could embrace the blast. I would get to see the flash of light and the x- rays that would allow me to see the bones in my hands. The mushroom cloud would appear, and then the shock wave would annihilate me, just like you see on TV.

How much better could this have been, then to be cloistered in the dimly lit theater waiting to die? All while my friends were sniffing an elementary school auditorium seat and missing the show of their lives while waiting to be annihilated; trying to decide if they should cover their heads or their necks? Not me!

I realized that I had a problem with my plan. How would I be able to tell the drill from the real thing? I looked for patterns in the way the drills were carried out. I tried to observe the behaviors of the teachers and principal. There seemed to be no way to compare their actions during a drill to their actions during the real thing.

One day though, we started another drill. I saw the principal give my teacher the “hurry up” sign, as we approached the rear of the auditorium. This was my clue. This was the real thing. My heart beat out of my chest. As the line of students rounded a corner of the building, I held back until I saw that they had turned their final corner. I finally stepped around my corner and saw no one.

Perfect. I hit the ladder running, jumped up and climbed to the roof. Nice view, but a little scary now that the realty of dying was imminent. I thought of my parents and my grandma and my cousins, my uncles and aunts. I waited, looking over the houses in the direction of Long Beach and the Naval Base waiting for the flash of light. The time passed and finally; I heard a loud roar. I looked down to see half of the school children looking up at me and laughing. The teachers were hollering for me to stay up there. “Don't come down someone will come up to get you,” shouted a teacher.

After the principal, the teachers, the school nurse, the police and my parents talked to me, I still had the child psychologists’ appointments. I only had to see him three times. That was my nuclear experience and little did I know that I would have a couple of more in my future.

THE FOURTH GRADE

THE FOURTH GRADE

THE FOURTH GRADE

                                                      Prologue

 

The following are the dictionary definitions of the words order and chaos.

Order/ˈôrdər/

noun

1.      

the arrangement or disposition of people or things in relation to each other according to a particular sequence, pattern, or method.

"I filed the cards in alphabetical order"

synonyms:

sequencearrangementorganizationdispositionsystemseries,succession

 

The triggering of a thermal nuclear device involves the perfect sequence of events in a perfectly timed order. If all of these things happen (in less than a second) it goes BOOM!

 

Chaos/ˈkāˌäs/

noun

complete disorder and confusion.  a state in which behavior and events are not controlled by anything

1.      

synonyms:

disorderdisarray, disorganization, confusionmayhembedlam,pandemoniumhavocturmoiltumultcommotiondisruptionupheaval,uproarmaelstrom

 

A nuclear explosion creates the epitome of chaos.

 

Grover Cleveland Elementary School 1958.

My elementary school memories are few. However, in the fourth grade; now we have a story. I was born just a few years after WWII when Adolf Hitler was still fresh on our minds. Then the Cold War happened. We learned about propaganda and the CIA spies and the nuclear threat that Russia imposed upon us. We worried about the Atomic Bomb. We worried because we lived on Rachel Street, just a few miles from Long Beach Harbor and the Naval Base. It was said more than once; that the base would be a prime target for a nuclear attack.

The TV repeatedly showed the atomic bombing of Japan and the Bikini Island tests. I had an idea of what “ground zero” meant. There was the huge mushroom cloud, the powerful shock wave and the destruction in the aftermath. Even though it was a horrific scene I always felt that whatever the problem was that made people use the bomb it certainly ended that problem in a most efficient fashion. I felt relief.

The best shows on television were the scientific ones that showed the soldiers as guinea pigs. They would be in trenches, in the Las Vegas desert, standing to face the blast. No worry though, the army had supplied the soldiers with dark colored eye goggles to protect them. The U.S. Army thinks of everything.

Disney showed a color cartoon that explained about the atom by showing a genie being unleashed from a bottle. He was powerful like the atom.

The great mushroom cloud was very cool, but I always waited for the shock wave. I liked the way the shock wave hiccupped when the vacuum collapsed as the air rushes back to fill the void. I loved to see the buildings blown away.

The best part was I saw the little fake, mocked up neighborhoods. Real cars would be in the driveway and lawn mowers were left out in the yard. I was pretty sure that the lawn mowers were real too. But the very, best part was when they put automatic cameras in the house’s living rooms. They had manikin families in there. The dad was sitting on the couch reading the newspaper, with his pipe in his mouth. Then the mom was standing in the kitchen with her apron on and holding her spatula. The kids were sitting on the floor in front of a blank TV screen; all of them were smiling. The camera would cut back to the outside of the house. Suddenly the shock wave hit.

The lawn mower was never found even though the army spent many man-hours on that mission. Now for the very, very best part. The living room camera caught, in slow motion, the curtains as they started to blow into the house followed by hot dust and debris. Dad’s face began to melt away, with his elbow bent holding the pipe that was still in his mouth. The grins were wiped off the children faces as they melted into the carpet.

The army eventually found mom's spatula still intact and they ordered hundreds of them at $600 apiece from a guy that worked out of his garage. The guy is now the owner of a company that makes army stuff; probably like Bechtel Corporation or some other bloated government contractor.  And what in the hell did they build those damned cameras out of?

I really enjoyed the television shows about the people that built backyard, underground “bomb shelters.” Building contractors advertised their ability to provide you protection from the nuclear fallout. How neat would be to have a bomb shelter, with food and water and bunk beds and lots of flashlights and batteries?

The shelter would also have a big steel door to keep out the neighbors that didn't have enough foresight to build their own shelter.

The moral discussions were endless. Should you lock out your neighbors when the air raid sirens went off? If you did let them come into your bomb shelter, would you have enough room, food and supplies to sustain them? Do you take his children inside and leave him and his wife locked out? Should you save his 19-year-old daughter? Should you lock out your wife out? After the nuclear holocaust, you would need good breading stock to replenish the world.

Nine years old and I am contemplating these life and death questions. No wonder I am so screwed up. I had seen the mushroom cloud several times on TV as the bomb exploded into the atmosphere. There was the flash of light and X-rays that penetrated the body so the bones showed through the skin. I often thought about the shock wave that even leveled some cement buildings.

Then one day I found a Civil Defense pamphlet. It was so neat. It told me what to do if I didn't have the $8000-dollar contractor built, underground bomb/fallout shelter; which I always assumed we would have. I never once contemplated a scenario where my family would be held at bay by a shotgun-wielding neighbor blocking our entrance to the safety of his shelter, the shelter belonging to the neighbor with the 19-year-old daughter of course.

Maybe my father's pleading to the neighbor that I was an only child would get me into his shelter. Maybe I could be on the bottom bunk bed with the nineteen-year-old girl on the top bunk. Maybe.

Anyway, the pamphlet went on to suggest that you could simply dig out some of the dirt from under your houses concrete slab foundation. Then you could crawl in between the concrete slab and the ground; dirty, but apparently effective. Oh yeah; it said that I would need blankets to cover the opening to the outside. Also, and this was stressed, if I must leave for any reason, upon returning, be sure to have someone sweep your clothes off with a broom to remove any radioactive dust particles from my clothing! I was only 9 years old and even I couldn’t believe that this would work.

Let's see, a shovel that’s maybe five dollars. Next the blankets on my bed would do. No special broom was mentioned so I guess that a regular kitchen broom would work. Heck, almost everyone has a shovel. And if not, I could run over to the neighbor and just grab one from his garage after he locks his family in their shelter. Yes, the one with the nineteen-year-old daughter. Don't worry; he is the one that is going to be pissed off when he realizes that he could have gotten off for almost nothing.

Most of this talk didn't cause me any trauma. However, school scared the heck out of me. Bomb drills at Grover Cleveland Elementary had replaced fire drills, only we had them more often.

What we would do when the sirens blew, was to line up single file and calmly follow the teacher across the campus and into the auditorium. We were trained to face a seat and then to put the seat bottom down. Then, to kneel in front of the seat and put our left arm on it. Next, we were told to place our head on are arm then to take the right arm and cover our head or neck, the choice was yours. It would possibly be your last.

As we walked around the back of the auditorium, towards the front, I would notice a steel ladder, permanently affixed to the side of the building. It was the access to the roof for the maintenance personnel.

I developed a plan. I would always work my way to the back of the line of kids. This I practiced every time that we had a drill. The idea was to fall out of line and climb up the ladder to the roof. That way I could embrace the blast. I would get to see the flash of light and the x- rays that would allow me to see the bones in my hands. The mushroom cloud would appear, and then the shock wave would annihilate me, just like you see on TV.

How much better could this have been, then to be cloistered in the dimly lit theater waiting to die? All while my friends were sniffing an elementary school auditorium seat and missing the show of their lives while waiting to be annihilated; trying to decide if they should cover their heads or their necks? Not me!

I realized that I had a problem with my plan. How would I be able to tell the drill from the real thing? I looked for patterns in the way the drills were carried out. I tried to observe the behaviors of the teachers and principal. There seemed to be no way to compare their actions during a drill to their actions during the real thing.

One day though, we started another drill. I saw the principal give my teacher the “hurry up” sign, as we approached the rear of the auditorium. This was my clue. This was the real thing. My heart beat out of my chest. As the line of students rounded a corner of the building, I held back until I saw that they had turned their final corner. I finally stepped around my corner and saw no one.

Perfect. I hit the ladder running, jumped up and climbed to the roof. Nice view, but a little scary now that the realty of dying was imminent. I thought of my parents and my grandma and my cousins, my uncles and aunts. I waited, looking over the houses in the direction of Long Beach and the Naval Base waiting for the flash of light. The time passed and finally; I heard a loud roar. I looked down to see half of the school children looking up at me and laughing. The teachers were hollering for me to stay up there. “Don't come down someone will come up to get you,” shouted a teacher.

After the principal, the teachers, the school nurse, the police and my parents talked to me, I still had the child psychologists’ appointments. I only had to see him three times. That was my nuclear experience and little did I know that I would have a couple of more in my future.

 

  THE FOURTH GRADE                                                           Prologue         The following are the dictionary definitions of the words order and chaos.    Order/ˈôrdər/     noun     1.            the arrangement or disposition of people or things in relation to each other according to a particular sequence, pattern, or method.    "I filed the cards in alphabetical order"     synonyms:      sequence   ,    arrangement   ,    organization   ,    disposition   ,    system   ,    series   ,   succession   ;           The triggering of a thermal nuclear device involves the perfect sequence of events in a perfectly timed order. If all of these things happen (in less than a second) it goes BOOM!          Chaos/ˈkāˌäs/     noun     complete disorder and confusion.      a state in which behavior and events are not controlled by anything    1.             synonyms:      disorder   ,    disarray   , disorganization,    confusion   ,    mayhem   ,    bedlam   ,   pandemonium   ,    havoc   ,    turmoil   ,    tumult   ,    commotion   ,    disruption   ,    upheaval   ,   uproar   ,    maelstrom   ;           A nuclear explosion creates the epitome of chaos.           Grover Cleveland Elementary School 1958.  My elementary school memories are few. However, in the fourth grade; now we have a story. I was born just a few years after WWII when Adolf Hitler was still fresh on our minds. Then the Cold War happened. We learned about propaganda and the CIA spies and the nuclear threat that Russia imposed upon us. We worried about the Atomic Bomb. We worried because we lived on Rachel Street, just a few miles from Long Beach Harbor and the Naval Base. It was said more than once; that the base would be a prime target for a nuclear attack.  The TV repeatedly showed the atomic bombing of Japan and the Bikini Island tests. I had an idea of what “ground zero” meant. There was the huge mushroom cloud, the powerful shock wave and the destruction in the aftermath. Even though it was a horrific scene I always felt that whatever the problem was that made people use the bomb it certainly ended that problem in a most efficient fashion. I felt relief.  The best shows on television were the scientific ones that showed the soldiers as guinea pigs. They would be in trenches, in the Las Vegas desert, standing to face the blast. No worry though, the army had supplied the soldiers with dark colored eye goggles to protect them. The U.S. Army thinks of everything.  Disney showed a color cartoon that explained about the atom by showing a genie being unleashed from a bottle. He was powerful like the atom.  The great mushroom cloud was very cool, but I always waited for the shock wave. I liked the way the shock wave hiccupped when the vacuum collapsed as the air rushes back to fill the void. I loved to see the buildings blown away.  The best part was I saw the little fake, mocked up neighborhoods. Real cars would be in the driveway and lawn mowers were left out in the yard. I was pretty sure that the lawn mowers were real too. But the very, best part was when they put automatic cameras in the house’s living rooms. They had manikin families in there. The dad was sitting on the couch reading the newspaper, with his pipe in his mouth. Then the mom was standing in the kitchen with her apron on and holding her spatula. The kids were sitting on the floor in front of a blank TV screen; all of them were smiling. The camera would cut back to the outside of the house. Suddenly the shock wave hit.  The lawn mower was never found even though the army spent many man-hours on that mission. Now for the very, very best part. The living room camera caught, in slow motion, the curtains as they started to blow into the house followed by hot dust and debris. Dad’s face began to melt away, with his elbow bent holding the pipe that was still in his mouth. The grins were wiped off the children faces as they melted into the carpet.  The army eventually found mom's spatula still intact and they ordered hundreds of them at $600 apiece from a guy that worked out of his garage. The guy is now the owner of a company that makes army stuff; probably like Bechtel Corporation or some other bloated government contractor.  And what in the hell did they build those damned cameras out of?  I really enjoyed the television shows about the people that built backyard, underground “bomb shelters.” Building contractors advertised their ability to provide you protection from the nuclear fallout. How neat would be to have a bomb shelter, with food and water and bunk beds and lots of flashlights and batteries?  The shelter would also have a big steel door to keep out the neighbors that didn't have enough foresight to build their own shelter.  The moral discussions were endless. Should you lock out your neighbors when the air raid sirens went off? If you did let them come into your bomb shelter, would you have enough room, food and supplies to sustain them? Do you take his children inside and leave him and his wife locked out? Should you save his 19-year-old daughter? Should you lock out your wife out? After the nuclear holocaust, you would need good breading stock to replenish the world.  Nine years old and I am contemplating these life and death questions. No wonder I am so screwed up. I had seen the mushroom cloud several times on TV as the bomb exploded into the atmosphere. There was the flash of light and X-rays that penetrated the body so the bones showed through the skin. I often thought about the shock wave that even leveled some cement buildings.  Then one day I found a Civil Defense pamphlet. It was so neat. It told me what to do if I didn't have the $8000-dollar contractor built, underground bomb/fallout shelter; which I always assumed we would have. I never once contemplated a scenario where my family would be held at bay by a shotgun-wielding neighbor blocking our entrance to the safety of his shelter, the shelter belonging to the neighbor with the 19-year-old daughter of course.  Maybe my father's pleading to the neighbor that I was an only child would get me into his shelter. Maybe I could be on the bottom bunk bed with the nineteen-year-old girl on the top bunk. Maybe.  Anyway, the pamphlet went on to suggest that you could simply dig out some of the dirt from under your houses concrete slab foundation. Then you could crawl in between the concrete slab and the ground; dirty, but apparently effective. Oh yeah; it said that I would need blankets to cover the opening to the outside. Also, and this was stressed, if I must leave for any reason, upon returning, be sure to have someone sweep your clothes off with a broom to remove any radioactive dust particles from my clothing! I was only 9 years old and even I couldn’t believe that this would work.  Let's see, a shovel that’s maybe five dollars. Next the blankets on my bed would do. No special broom was mentioned so I guess that a regular kitchen broom would work. Heck, almost everyone has a shovel. And if not, I could run over to the neighbor and just grab one from his garage after he locks his family in their shelter. Yes, the one with the nineteen-year-old daughter. Don't worry; he is the one that is going to be pissed off when he realizes that he could have gotten off for almost nothing.  Most of this talk didn't cause me any trauma. However, school scared the heck out of me. Bomb drills at Grover Cleveland Elementary had replaced fire drills, only we had them more often.  What we would do when the sirens blew, was to line up single file and calmly follow the teacher across the campus and into the auditorium. We were trained to face a seat and then to put the seat bottom down. Then, to kneel in front of the seat and put our left arm on it. Next, we were told to place our head on are arm then to take the right arm and cover our head or neck, the choice was yours. It would possibly be your last.  As we walked around the back of the auditorium, towards the front, I would notice a steel ladder, permanently affixed to the side of the building. It was the access to the roof for the maintenance personnel.  I developed a plan. I would always work my way to the back of the line of kids. This I practiced every time that we had a drill. The idea was to fall out of line and climb up the ladder to the roof. That way I could embrace the blast. I would get to see the flash of light and the x- rays that would allow me to see the bones in my hands. The mushroom cloud would appear, and then the shock wave would annihilate me, just like you see on TV.  How much better could this have been, then to be cloistered in the dimly lit theater waiting to die? All while my friends were sniffing an elementary school auditorium seat and missing the show of their lives while waiting to be annihilated; trying to decide if they should cover their heads or their necks? Not me!  I realized that I had a problem with my plan. How would I be able to tell the drill from the real thing? I looked for patterns in the way the drills were carried out. I tried to observe the behaviors of the teachers and principal. There seemed to be no way to compare their actions during a drill to their actions during the real thing.  One day though, we started another drill. I saw the principal give my teacher the “hurry up” sign, as we approached the rear of the auditorium. This was my clue. This was the real thing. My heart beat out of my chest. As the line of students rounded a corner of the building, I held back until I saw that they had turned their final corner. I finally stepped around my corner and saw no one.  Perfect. I hit the ladder running, jumped up and climbed to the roof. Nice view, but a little scary now that the realty of dying was imminent. I thought of my parents and my grandma and my cousins, my uncles and aunts. I waited, looking over the houses in the direction of Long Beach and the Naval Base waiting for the flash of light. The time passed and finally; I heard a loud roar. I looked down to see half of the school children looking up at me and laughing. The teachers were hollering for me to stay up there. “Don't come down someone will come up to get you,” shouted a teacher.  After the principal, the teachers, the school nurse, the police and my parents talked to me, I still had the child psychologists’ appointments. I only had to see him three times. That was my nuclear experience and little did I know that I would have a couple of more in my future.

THE FOURTH GRADE

                                                      Prologue

 

The following are the dictionary definitions of the words order and chaos.

Order/ˈôrdər/

noun

1.      

the arrangement or disposition of people or things in relation to each other according to a particular sequence, pattern, or method.

"I filed the cards in alphabetical order"

synonyms:

sequencearrangementorganizationdispositionsystemseries,succession

 

The triggering of a thermal nuclear device involves the perfect sequence of events in a perfectly timed order. If all of these things happen (in less than a second) it goes BOOM!

 

Chaos/ˈkāˌäs/

noun

complete disorder and confusion.  a state in which behavior and events are not controlled by anything

1.      

synonyms:

disorderdisarray, disorganization, confusionmayhembedlam,pandemoniumhavocturmoiltumultcommotiondisruptionupheaval,uproarmaelstrom

 

A nuclear explosion creates the epitome of chaos.

 

Grover Cleveland Elementary School 1958.

My elementary school memories are few. However, in the fourth grade; now we have a story. I was born just a few years after WWII when Adolf Hitler was still fresh on our minds. Then the Cold War happened. We learned about propaganda and the CIA spies and the nuclear threat that Russia imposed upon us. We worried about the Atomic Bomb. We worried because we lived on Rachel Street, just a few miles from Long Beach Harbor and the Naval Base. It was said more than once; that the base would be a prime target for a nuclear attack.

The TV repeatedly showed the atomic bombing of Japan and the Bikini Island tests. I had an idea of what “ground zero” meant. There was the huge mushroom cloud, the powerful shock wave and the destruction in the aftermath. Even though it was a horrific scene I always felt that whatever the problem was that made people use the bomb it certainly ended that problem in a most efficient fashion. I felt relief.

The best shows on television were the scientific ones that showed the soldiers as guinea pigs. They would be in trenches, in the Las Vegas desert, standing to face the blast. No worry though, the army had supplied the soldiers with dark colored eye goggles to protect them. The U.S. Army thinks of everything.

Disney showed a color cartoon that explained about the atom by showing a genie being unleashed from a bottle. He was powerful like the atom.

The great mushroom cloud was very cool, but I always waited for the shock wave. I liked the way the shock wave hiccupped when the vacuum collapsed as the air rushes back to fill the void. I loved to see the buildings blown away.

The best part was I saw the little fake, mocked up neighborhoods. Real cars would be in the driveway and lawn mowers were left out in the yard. I was pretty sure that the lawn mowers were real too. But the very, best part was when they put automatic cameras in the house’s living rooms. They had manikin families in there. The dad was sitting on the couch reading the newspaper, with his pipe in his mouth. Then the mom was standing in the kitchen with her apron on and holding her spatula. The kids were sitting on the floor in front of a blank TV screen; all of them were smiling. The camera would cut back to the outside of the house. Suddenly the shock wave hit.

The lawn mower was never found even though the army spent many man-hours on that mission. Now for the very, very best part. The living room camera caught, in slow motion, the curtains as they started to blow into the house followed by hot dust and debris. Dad’s face began to melt away, with his elbow bent holding the pipe that was still in his mouth. The grins were wiped off the children faces as they melted into the carpet.

The army eventually found mom's spatula still intact and they ordered hundreds of them at $600 apiece from a guy that worked out of his garage. The guy is now the owner of a company that makes army stuff; probably like Bechtel Corporation or some other bloated government contractor.  And what in the hell did they build those damned cameras out of?

I really enjoyed the television shows about the people that built backyard, underground “bomb shelters.” Building contractors advertised their ability to provide you protection from the nuclear fallout. How neat would be to have a bomb shelter, with food and water and bunk beds and lots of flashlights and batteries?

The shelter would also have a big steel door to keep out the neighbors that didn't have enough foresight to build their own shelter.

The moral discussions were endless. Should you lock out your neighbors when the air raid sirens went off? If you did let them come into your bomb shelter, would you have enough room, food and supplies to sustain them? Do you take his children inside and leave him and his wife locked out? Should you save his 19-year-old daughter? Should you lock out your wife out? After the nuclear holocaust, you would need good breading stock to replenish the world.

Nine years old and I am contemplating these life and death questions. No wonder I am so screwed up. I had seen the mushroom cloud several times on TV as the bomb exploded into the atmosphere. There was the flash of light and X-rays that penetrated the body so the bones showed through the skin. I often thought about the shock wave that even leveled some cement buildings.

Then one day I found a Civil Defense pamphlet. It was so neat. It told me what to do if I didn't have the $8000-dollar contractor built, underground bomb/fallout shelter; which I always assumed we would have. I never once contemplated a scenario where my family would be held at bay by a shotgun-wielding neighbor blocking our entrance to the safety of his shelter, the shelter belonging to the neighbor with the 19-year-old daughter of course.

Maybe my father's pleading to the neighbor that I was an only child would get me into his shelter. Maybe I could be on the bottom bunk bed with the nineteen-year-old girl on the top bunk. Maybe.

Anyway, the pamphlet went on to suggest that you could simply dig out some of the dirt from under your houses concrete slab foundation. Then you could crawl in between the concrete slab and the ground; dirty, but apparently effective. Oh yeah; it said that I would need blankets to cover the opening to the outside. Also, and this was stressed, if I must leave for any reason, upon returning, be sure to have someone sweep your clothes off with a broom to remove any radioactive dust particles from my clothing! I was only 9 years old and even I couldn’t believe that this would work.

Let's see, a shovel that’s maybe five dollars. Next the blankets on my bed would do. No special broom was mentioned so I guess that a regular kitchen broom would work. Heck, almost everyone has a shovel. And if not, I could run over to the neighbor and just grab one from his garage after he locks his family in their shelter. Yes, the one with the nineteen-year-old daughter. Don't worry; he is the one that is going to be pissed off when he realizes that he could have gotten off for almost nothing.

Most of this talk didn't cause me any trauma. However, school scared the heck out of me. Bomb drills at Grover Cleveland Elementary had replaced fire drills, only we had them more often.

What we would do when the sirens blew, was to line up single file and calmly follow the teacher across the campus and into the auditorium. We were trained to face a seat and then to put the seat bottom down. Then, to kneel in front of the seat and put our left arm on it. Next, we were told to place our head on are arm then to take the right arm and cover our head or neck, the choice was yours. It would possibly be your last.

As we walked around the back of the auditorium, towards the front, I would notice a steel ladder, permanently affixed to the side of the building. It was the access to the roof for the maintenance personnel.

I developed a plan. I would always work my way to the back of the line of kids. This I practiced every time that we had a drill. The idea was to fall out of line and climb up the ladder to the roof. That way I could embrace the blast. I would get to see the flash of light and the x- rays that would allow me to see the bones in my hands. The mushroom cloud would appear, and then the shock wave would annihilate me, just like you see on TV.

How much better could this have been, then to be cloistered in the dimly lit theater waiting to die? All while my friends were sniffing an elementary school auditorium seat and missing the show of their lives while waiting to be annihilated; trying to decide if they should cover their heads or their necks? Not me!

I realized that I had a problem with my plan. How would I be able to tell the drill from the real thing? I looked for patterns in the way the drills were carried out. I tried to observe the behaviors of the teachers and principal. There seemed to be no way to compare their actions during a drill to their actions during the real thing.

One day though, we started another drill. I saw the principal give my teacher the “hurry up” sign, as we approached the rear of the auditorium. This was my clue. This was the real thing. My heart beat out of my chest. As the line of students rounded a corner of the building, I held back until I saw that they had turned their final corner. I finally stepped around my corner and saw no one.

Perfect. I hit the ladder running, jumped up and climbed to the roof. Nice view, but a little scary now that the realty of dying was imminent. I thought of my parents and my grandma and my cousins, my uncles and aunts. I waited, looking over the houses in the direction of Long Beach and the Naval Base waiting for the flash of light. The time passed and finally; I heard a loud roar. I looked down to see half of the school children looking up at me and laughing. The teachers were hollering for me to stay up there. “Don't come down someone will come up to get you,” shouted a teacher.

After the principal, the teachers, the school nurse, the police and my parents talked to me, I still had the child psychologists’ appointments. I only had to see him three times. That was my nuclear experience and little did I know that I would have a couple of more in my future.

THE FOURTH GRADE

THE FOURTH GRADE

THE FOURTH GRADE

                                                      Prologue

 

The following are the dictionary definitions of the words order and chaos.

Order/ˈôrdər/

noun

1.      

the arrangement or disposition of people or things in relation to each other according to a particular sequence, pattern, or method.

"I filed the cards in alphabetical order"

synonyms:

sequencearrangementorganizationdispositionsystemseries,succession

 

The triggering of a thermal nuclear device involves the perfect sequence of events in a perfectly timed order. If all of these things happen (in less than a second) it goes BOOM!

 

Chaos/ˈkāˌäs/

noun

complete disorder and confusion.  a state in which behavior and events are not controlled by anything

1.      

synonyms:

disorderdisarray, disorganization, confusionmayhembedlam,pandemoniumhavocturmoiltumultcommotiondisruptionupheaval,uproarmaelstrom

 

A nuclear explosion creates the epitome of chaos.

 

Grover Cleveland Elementary School 1958.

My elementary school memories are few. However, in the fourth grade; now we have a story. I was born just a few years after WWII when Adolf Hitler was still fresh on our minds. Then the Cold War happened. We learned about propaganda and the CIA spies and the nuclear threat that Russia imposed upon us. We worried about the Atomic Bomb. We worried because we lived on Rachel Street, just a few miles from Long Beach Harbor and the Naval Base. It was said more than once; that the base would be a prime target for a nuclear attack.

The TV repeatedly showed the atomic bombing of Japan and the Bikini Island tests. I had an idea of what “ground zero” meant. There was the huge mushroom cloud, the powerful shock wave and the destruction in the aftermath. Even though it was a horrific scene I always felt that whatever the problem was that made people use the bomb it certainly ended that problem in a most efficient fashion. I felt relief.

The best shows on television were the scientific ones that showed the soldiers as guinea pigs. They would be in trenches, in the Las Vegas desert, standing to face the blast. No worry though, the army had supplied the soldiers with dark colored eye goggles to protect them. The U.S. Army thinks of everything.

Disney showed a color cartoon that explained about the atom by showing a genie being unleashed from a bottle. He was powerful like the atom.

The great mushroom cloud was very cool, but I always waited for the shock wave. I liked the way the shock wave hiccupped when the vacuum collapsed as the air rushes back to fill the void. I loved to see the buildings blown away.

The best part was I saw the little fake, mocked up neighborhoods. Real cars would be in the driveway and lawn mowers were left out in the yard. I was pretty sure that the lawn mowers were real too. But the very, best part was when they put automatic cameras in the house’s living rooms. They had manikin families in there. The dad was sitting on the couch reading the newspaper, with his pipe in his mouth. Then the mom was standing in the kitchen with her apron on and holding her spatula. The kids were sitting on the floor in front of a blank TV screen; all of them were smiling. The camera would cut back to the outside of the house. Suddenly the shock wave hit.

The lawn mower was never found even though the army spent many man-hours on that mission. Now for the very, very best part. The living room camera caught, in slow motion, the curtains as they started to blow into the house followed by hot dust and debris. Dad’s face began to melt away, with his elbow bent holding the pipe that was still in his mouth. The grins were wiped off the children faces as they melted into the carpet.

The army eventually found mom's spatula still intact and they ordered hundreds of them at $600 apiece from a guy that worked out of his garage. The guy is now the owner of a company that makes army stuff; probably like Bechtel Corporation or some other bloated government contractor.  And what in the hell did they build those damned cameras out of?

I really enjoyed the television shows about the people that built backyard, underground “bomb shelters.” Building contractors advertised their ability to provide you protection from the nuclear fallout. How neat would be to have a bomb shelter, with food and water and bunk beds and lots of flashlights and batteries?

The shelter would also have a big steel door to keep out the neighbors that didn't have enough foresight to build their own shelter.

The moral discussions were endless. Should you lock out your neighbors when the air raid sirens went off? If you did let them come into your bomb shelter, would you have enough room, food and supplies to sustain them? Do you take his children inside and leave him and his wife locked out? Should you save his 19-year-old daughter? Should you lock out your wife out? After the nuclear holocaust, you would need good breading stock to replenish the world.

Nine years old and I am contemplating these life and death questions. No wonder I am so screwed up. I had seen the mushroom cloud several times on TV as the bomb exploded into the atmosphere. There was the flash of light and X-rays that penetrated the body so the bones showed through the skin. I often thought about the shock wave that even leveled some cement buildings.

Then one day I found a Civil Defense pamphlet. It was so neat. It told me what to do if I didn't have the $8000-dollar contractor built, underground bomb/fallout shelter; which I always assumed we would have. I never once contemplated a scenario where my family would be held at bay by a shotgun-wielding neighbor blocking our entrance to the safety of his shelter, the shelter belonging to the neighbor with the 19-year-old daughter of course.

Maybe my father's pleading to the neighbor that I was an only child would get me into his shelter. Maybe I could be on the bottom bunk bed with the nineteen-year-old girl on the top bunk. Maybe.

Anyway, the pamphlet went on to suggest that you could simply dig out some of the dirt from under your houses concrete slab foundation. Then you could crawl in between the concrete slab and the ground; dirty, but apparently effective. Oh yeah; it said that I would need blankets to cover the opening to the outside. Also, and this was stressed, if I must leave for any reason, upon returning, be sure to have someone sweep your clothes off with a broom to remove any radioactive dust particles from my clothing! I was only 9 years old and even I couldn’t believe that this would work.

Let's see, a shovel that’s maybe five dollars. Next the blankets on my bed would do. No special broom was mentioned so I guess that a regular kitchen broom would work. Heck, almost everyone has a shovel. And if not, I could run over to the neighbor and just grab one from his garage after he locks his family in their shelter. Yes, the one with the nineteen-year-old daughter. Don't worry; he is the one that is going to be pissed off when he realizes that he could have gotten off for almost nothing.

Most of this talk didn't cause me any trauma. However, school scared the heck out of me. Bomb drills at Grover Cleveland Elementary had replaced fire drills, only we had them more often.

What we would do when the sirens blew, was to line up single file and calmly follow the teacher across the campus and into the auditorium. We were trained to face a seat and then to put the seat bottom down. Then, to kneel in front of the seat and put our left arm on it. Next, we were told to place our head on are arm then to take the right arm and cover our head or neck, the choice was yours. It would possibly be your last.

As we walked around the back of the auditorium, towards the front, I would notice a steel ladder, permanently affixed to the side of the building. It was the access to the roof for the maintenance personnel.

I developed a plan. I would always work my way to the back of the line of kids. This I practiced every time that we had a drill. The idea was to fall out of line and climb up the ladder to the roof. That way I could embrace the blast. I would get to see the flash of light and the x- rays that would allow me to see the bones in my hands. The mushroom cloud would appear, and then the shock wave would annihilate me, just like you see on TV.

How much better could this have been, then to be cloistered in the dimly lit theater waiting to die? All while my friends were sniffing an elementary school auditorium seat and missing the show of their lives while waiting to be annihilated; trying to decide if they should cover their heads or their necks? Not me!

I realized that I had a problem with my plan. How would I be able to tell the drill from the real thing? I looked for patterns in the way the drills were carried out. I tried to observe the behaviors of the teachers and principal. There seemed to be no way to compare their actions during a drill to their actions during the real thing.

One day though, we started another drill. I saw the principal give my teacher the “hurry up” sign, as we approached the rear of the auditorium. This was my clue. This was the real thing. My heart beat out of my chest. As the line of students rounded a corner of the building, I held back until I saw that they had turned their final corner. I finally stepped around my corner and saw no one.

Perfect. I hit the ladder running, jumped up and climbed to the roof. Nice view, but a little scary now that the realty of dying was imminent. I thought of my parents and my grandma and my cousins, my uncles and aunts. I waited, looking over the houses in the direction of Long Beach and the Naval Base waiting for the flash of light. The time passed and finally; I heard a loud roar. I looked down to see half of the school children looking up at me and laughing. The teachers were hollering for me to stay up there. “Don't come down someone will come up to get you,” shouted a teacher.

After the principal, the teachers, the school nurse, the police and my parents talked to me, I still had the child psychologists’ appointments. I only had to see him three times. That was my nuclear experience and little did I know that I would have a couple of more in my future.