Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Public Education in the 60s

Growing up in the Cold War had its advantages. I got to miss the whole last month of kindergarten because my Naval Reserve dad got called up for the Berlin crisis and we moved to Newport, Rhode Island to be near him. When I lived in Pacifica, California, on the coast south of San Francisco, we had four different school drills that we had to perform all the time: 1) the nuclear attack drill, where we all had to scrunch under our desk (which were somehow nuclear-bomb-proof, apparently); 2) fire drills which covered not only fires in the school, but what to do if the giant brush-covered hill in back of the school went up in flames; 3) earthquake drills, where all 35 of us would try to cram into a doorway (the strongest part in a building, we were told); and 4) the tidal wave drill. The last was our favorite – it consisted of running madly up into the hills, and about half of us just kept going until we got home. The school administration finally got smart and only scheduled the tidal wave drills for 3 PM on Fridays, the bastards. Between all those drills, and the time we spent twice a year running up the hill to watch the Enterprise head off to battle the godless Commies, we got precious little schoolwork done. Thank God for that.

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