31 August dVerse: Back to School

Photo by Andrew Amistad on Unsplash

Elementary

I’ve become vaguely dubious about the roller blinds in our classroom.  My teacher pulls the blinds down every Wednesday at noon, just before the air raid siren blares, and I don’t see how curling into a ball under my lift-top desk with my back to the window helps me survive a nuclear bomb. And our teacher shouts, Desk! Shelter! Bomb bomb bomb! And the moment is caught in chalk dust riding on a streamer of pure silver sunlight, and my heartbeat slowly recovers. I’m 10, some are 11, and we’re rehearsing for annihilation. I almost  forgot that I existed back then.  I forgot that I kept myself at arm’s length because my brain overthinks everything. Cuba, Khrushchev and A-bombs, air raids, arrows pointing toward shelters with tinned meats and peaches, and somewhere in my history I hear those words repeated into today, “Shelter.”

Bits of wood and glass
The air burned an orange glow
Flying back to Hell

Written for dVerse Poets. Haibun Monday: Back to School. Photo by Andrew Amistad on Unsplash. There will be some who think this is fiction, or an embellishment. I assure you, it is not. This is a glimpse of what it was like to grow up during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Cold War that followed afterward.  Shared with #APoemADay on Twitter   ©Misky 2021

33 responses to “31 August dVerse: Back to School”

  1. Ah yes, remember it well — having our desktops protect us from nuclear bombs, and if things really got bad, we could go the the fallout shelter in the basement of the school. Nice take on the prompt.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. wow, Misky. thank you for personalizing this piece of history for us.


    David

    Liked by 3 people

    1. And thank you for read it, David. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. BTW, how did you make that graphic of your face?

        Like

        1. The app is called Voila AI Artist. It’s great fun. Free, so long as you don’t mind advertisements.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. So atmospheric. I can’t imagine what all that did to kids’ psyches. I was blissfully unaware. A smidge too young and a smidge too living on a tropical island with no TV or radio news.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Blissfully and unaware are perfect combinations, Worms.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Just think of the billions we all spent on these weapons, which never left theis silos.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s sort of a good news bad news scenario.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Je me souviens aussi.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Bomb proof wooden desks, I remember it well. Happy days! Thanks for the nudge down memory lane 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think we should shuffle along before we traumatise the young ones. 🤣🤣

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m pretty sure that recycled plastic desks could be equally effective. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hmmm … plastic coated sprogs. Like Phantom of the Opera. Or Madame Tussaud’s. Oh. I think I’m making myself nauseous. 🤣

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Interesting look back at that time and place. In my generation it was Hitler taking over Europe and Japan bombing Pearl Harbor. Seems each generation has its crises, and it is a good reminder, as we face today’s crises, that this too shall pass.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I remember tornado drills in school, where we had to file out of the classroom and into the hall, but never a bomb drill. It must have been confusing and frightening at the very least. Oh the lies we tell children, “Everything will be ok.”

    In school’s pandemic
    mode, warnings are worn all day long
    childhood’s end.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How does a tornado drill work, an underground shelter?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No, filing into the hall and sitting side by side until the drill was over is as far as it went. I think the idea was that the sides of the building would be ripped off leaving the center intact? (My guess.) Nothing traumatic about it except the sudden clanging of the alarm bell.

        Like

        1. Wow, that’s incredible!

          Liked by 1 person

  9. Well written Misky. For me, the prompt just triggered the current upset and disbelief I am unable to shake.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading this one, Rob. Stay well, my friend.

      Like

  10. What an experience. Makes me realize whatever hurdles today’s children face with masks and distancing is not unusual as every generation has taken on new and different threats to learning and the freedom of education. Very vivid Haibun.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true, and thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Wow! On this sunny day, in KItchener (Canada), I was drawn into your poem, words with photo truly like a time capsule. Perhaps, during the Cuban missile crisis, I was an overly keen nine-year-old but I was truly worried and scared after hearing so many scary stories about the fact that our world could perish. Attending a Catholic school, prayers were always in order!

    Like

    1. Prayers never go amiss, Patricia.

      Like

  12. We never did that, but I do remember when I did my military service that you should jump into a ditch and cover yourself with a rain coat.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A raincoat? Goodness me!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. i have never experence anything like this. great piece to show what it was like for those who did.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I remember Duck and Cover! I guess they thought my little wooden desk was a shield.

    Liked by 1 person

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