Fun in the Fallout Shelter

I guess you can get used to anything and learn to call it normal. I sort of saw this last week when our grandson was so sick in the hospital: Instead of waking up and thinking  “Aarrgh! How will I do all my work today?” or “Why do I get these crazy foot cramps after an hour of ironing?” it seemed almost normal to be wondering “Has his fever gone down at all? Did his mother and he get any sleep at all there in Room 608?” (Well not really normal. That famous stress hormone was coursing through my body like an electric current but you get what I’m saying.)

And speaking of stress of stress hormones, check out this rosily-imagined scenario cooked up for a Sunday supplement from more than 50 years ago.  This article too attempts to normalize something pretty awful.

It has in it a shot of a father-son team cheerily pounding stakes into the ground to make the shelter. “A Lad and His Dad Enjoying the Weekend” the caption might as well read.

And here in the picture we see the iconic ‘teen-age girl’ blabbing cheerfully away on the phone. It’s after the blast of course – she’s inside the shelter – but she’s happy, doin’ what gals do, is the idea, chatting away on a phone that somehow, miraculously,  still functions. Gossiping about the upcoming record hop is the idea. Never mind that she’s in the bunker.

Under a naked light bulb.

With clouds of radiation swirling around just outside the walls – to say nothing of the splintered trees and the dead birds, who left only their shadows behind.

Pity the poor ad agency the government gave this ‘campaign’ to!

I suppose it’s pretty brilliant for the way, in a horrifying time, it comforts with familiar images. Not that I remember much about that time. The year these fears were really flying I was busy attaching pom-poms to the handles of my goofy balloon-tired Schwinn to get ready for the big Bike Parade.

I do notice one thing in the picture below kind of raises my eyebrows though: Check out the shot below of one family’s attractive new backyard shelter which doubles as a kind of rec area.

The father’s takin’ it easy on a lounge chair.

The two boys are lounging around playing shuffleboard.

And what about the mother?

The mother is working. The mother is toiling away like Noah in his post-flood garden, doubtless worrying over what to about dinner that night.

It kind of sets my teeth on edge but I guess a blast was dealt to that scenario in the years soon to follow. And it wasn’t the nuclear kind now, was it? 🙂

4 thoughts on “Fun in the Fallout Shelter

  1. What you’re missing in that photo is that Mrs. Bartholomew is actually about to push a mid-size boulder onto the head of the lounging Mr. Bartholomew, below.

    And it makes me wistful for my old backyard shuffleboard days….

  2. This reminds me of a feud I had with my Dad during the cold war. The Felician Sisters got us so worked up about an impending nuclear blast that I found the perfect room in our cellar for our shelter and was determined to save as many cans of spaghetti O’s and pitchers of water (the days before bottled water) as I could. I fought with him on a daily basis until he put his foot down and said we would not be building a shelter! I was furious with him for months afterward. After all… “Sister said”.

    1. “Sister” was imbuing her young charges with quite a bit of adult fear it seems. I like the sound of your food and drink choices Lynda! I LOVED Spaghetti-Os growing up – and isn’t there a sweet sort of elegance to your pitchers of water!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s