A wooden desk was your first line of defence.

Education & Training with House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada

Do you know what this desk's second purpose was?

If, fifty years ago, you knew to hide under your desk at school when the alarm bell rang, then you were in school during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Now, what was the thinking that a desk would save you from nuclear fall out?  I just finished listening to a series of interviews on CBC radio from people who were adults during this period and had front row seats this month, 50 years ago.  Thank God, clear heads prevailed and we did not suffer a nuclear war.  How close were we?  Very close!

Photo credit (and this photo is so wonderful!)  Desk


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Valerie Zinger
House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada - Ottawa, ON
Home Organizer

Patty:  So some areas of the continent continued to have drills.  Now, I imagine that if you live in tornado alley there must be sirens and drills as well.  

Kathy:  My girlfriend told me that she was wee during this time but thought that if her route home was through the park, "they" would never find her or get to her.  Your aunt sounds like she was a VERY practical person.

Oct 19, 2012 05:08 AM #6
Robert Butler
Aspect Inspection - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection

I do remember the confrontation, 'The Cuban Missile Crisis' as it was called, but we were not subjected to those pointless drills.

Oct 19, 2012 07:09 AM #7
Jim Patton
Century 21 M&M - 209-404-0816 - Turlock, CA
Realtor - Stanislaus & Merced county Realtor.

I was too young to remember those drills but have seen the old videos.   I always wondered what they thought that ducking under your desk was going to actually do.   Thanks for the memories Valerie.


Oct 19, 2012 10:24 AM #8
Ellen Caruso
Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty - Glen Head, NY

I was gonna say a good Time-out chair! Thank goodness those days are over.

Oct 19, 2012 10:48 AM #9
Richard Weisser
Richard Weisser Realty - Newnan, GA
Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional


I remember those "duck and cover drills" well. And all of the PSAs about nuclear fallout. Funny, we were never terrified, we just took it all in stride.

Oct 19, 2012 12:12 PM #10
Sussie Sutton
UTR Texas Realtors - Pearland, TX
UTR TEXAS Realtors - Rep for buyers and sellers.

Thinking back on that time and hiding under the desk is laughable. Were the powers that be really that stupid to think that getting under your desk would somehow save us? Actually, what I really think is that they already knew what would happen. Doing crazy things like hiding under your desk was just something for the little people to do to keep us occupied and not think about what could really happen.

Oct 19, 2012 02:32 PM #11
Valerie Zinger
House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada - Ottawa, ON
Home Organizer

Robert:  Yes, now thinking back, they certainly would not have protected us.

Jim:   When you see those videos it is like going to a museum - the olden days.  

Ellen:  Oh, you are so right.  The chair was turned into the corner and you had to sit there staring at the walls until the punishment was over.  

Richard:  I think our parents were a bit more concerned and just kept their anxiety away from us.

Sussie:  Maybe so.  Did you ever go into someone's bomb shelter?  Imagine being holed up there for months.  Yikes!!!!

Oct 19, 2012 10:23 PM #12
Toni Weidman
Sailwinds Realty - Trinity, FL
26 Years Selling Homes in New Port Richey, FL

Also, giving away my age but I do remember that and wondering at the time how the heck that formica desk was going to help but one does what one is told in school or else.  At least, back then :)

Oct 19, 2012 11:04 PM #13
Chris Smith
Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage - New Tecumseth, ON
South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta

Valerie, I remember having to put cotton in my ears during the Air Raid warnings in Calcutta in the early sixties when there were indo-chinese conflicts ...

Oct 20, 2012 01:41 AM #14
Valerie Zinger
House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada - Ottawa, ON
Home Organizer

Toni:  I know what you mean.  I would HATE to be teacher today.  I hear they are not allowed to use the beaver tail strap.  Now that sucker hurt but you paid attention.

Chris:  I had no idea you had such an exotic background.  Imagine!!!

Oct 20, 2012 04:10 AM #15
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Valerie- my aunt was practical and sharp as a tack!

Oct 20, 2012 01:19 PM #16
Dorie Dillard
Coldwell Banker United RealtorsĀ® ~ 512.346.1799 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Valerie,

I'm over from Kathy's post this morning where she hi lighted your post. I can see why she did! Somehow I missed this post and love the photo of the desk! I too remember those drills and also never taking them very seriously..just did it because it was part of what we did in school! No protests :).

Oct 20, 2012 10:36 PM #17
Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group
Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001 - Gaithersburg, MD
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA

Time passes so fast . .a few days ago I read a report of the Cuban missile crisis and I was amazed how close we got. . 

Oct 20, 2012 11:40 PM #18
Kristin Johnston - REALTORĀ®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Great post...I saw your post thanks to Kathy, and I agree it is worthy of her feature....have a wonderful day!

Oct 21, 2012 12:13 AM #19
Cheryl Ritchie
RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com - Huntingtown, MD
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566
I am reading the O'Reilly book, Killing Lincoln. It makes this same point.
Oct 21, 2012 01:51 PM #20
Peg Barcelo
Fluff My House! Home Staging Inc. 250.486.6369 - Summerland, BC
The FlufftasticStager from Summerland, BC

Valerie, what a great photo. I was born around that time, but as you say, we are very fortunate clear thinking prevailed!

Oct 22, 2012 04:52 AM #21
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD
Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs

How little we knew 50 years ago.

Have an outstanding week.  Enjoy the colors of autumn with your camera in hand.

Oct 22, 2012 10:17 PM #22
Al & Peggy Cunningham, Brokers
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage - Brampton, ON
Our Family Wants To Help Your Family!

Valerie, I hope we are not that close ever again.....but Iran......

Oct 22, 2012 10:17 PM #23
Valerie Zinger
House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada - Ottawa, ON
Home Organizer

Dorie:  Most children think of themselves as invincible or that they are far to young ot face any real danger. What a wonderful state to be in.

Fernando.  It was minutes away.  Whew.

Kristin:  I was so grateful that she picked me in her weekly learning.

Cheryl:  I would love to live my life with rose coloured glasses.  

Oct 23, 2012 03:39 AM #24
Valerie Zinger
House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada - Ottawa, ON
Home Organizer

Peg:  We were reminded that we lived just north of a missile base in North Dakota.  Whether it was there or not was just scary to think about.

Roy:  It was bliss.

Al and Peggy:  I agree and we are certainly not out of the 'woods'.  

Oct 23, 2012 03:41 AM #25
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