In sixth grade, our school started drills in case the Russians dropped a bomb. We practiced rushing our assigned spots even if we were in the bathroom or across the room sharpening a pencil. Once in the mad scramble I tripped on someone’s shoe but slid perfectly under my desk.
The drills didn’t make sense because any idiot could see we’d only have a couple seconds to react before a bomb hit. I suppose if the seating chart survived the blast, they could assume that the person with the face blown off lying next to my limp body was my desk mate. I wondered why we were assigned flimsy wooden desks while the seventh graders got to hide in the tunnel near the boy’s locker room, which seemed safer. One of the seventh graders was the son of the headmaster, so that might have been the reason. Maybe if the bomb wasn’t a direct hit my desk could protect me flying glass shards shredding my neck or eyeballs. But why would the Russians want to drop a bomb near our school in Chicago? Our teachers never explained that, but then again, we didn’t ask. I don’t think anyone wanted to think about it, so we treated the bomb drills like a energetic break in the day. (more…)