I don’t remember the Cuban Missile Crisis, but I know that there were quite a few people that I knew who were convinced that, even though we dodged that particular bullet, that nuclear was inevitable sooner or later.
It was easy to believe. NATO and the eastern blocs were cranking out ridiculous numbers of atomic weapons. Test detonations were being performed several times a year. The news would report atomic clouds drifting over the western parts of the country after a Russian test.
It was scary for a kid.
I don’t remember any of our neighbors in Miami, Oklahoma with bomb shelters. On the other hand, this little town, located in tornado alley, DID have numerous basements that the owners no doubt also thought about as refuges against air-borne fallout.
I used to cringe when the Emergency Broadcast System would perform their frequent tests over the television. That sound it made was the same one you heard in fictional movies and TV shows when it would be announced that nukes had been launched, run for your shelters!
The Day After was the ultimate look at life after a nuclear war. It wasn’t shown until 1983, when the Iron Curtain was getting close to collapsing. But it did show the futility of hiding in a shelter and coming out to a destroyed society. The survivors were the unlucky ones.
Today, fallout shelter signs are rarely seen, and the few that survive frequently date back to the 60’s. I don’t miss them.