A-Bomb Witness…………#26 (the 50’s)

A Light in the Sky

A Light in the Sky

It was Wednesday June 3rd, a school night but that didn’t matter, Mike gathering what he needed to sleep outside in the backyard.  The most important item besides his sleeping bag was his wind-up alarm clock, making sure it was set before sunrise at 5:42, just in case the official  time for the event  was early .  The weather environment was typical for Bay Area, the low ground fog entering thru the Golden Gate, but tracking north towards Marin and Sonoma Counties, the East Bay getting  some broken overcast but as darkness set in,  the sky coming to life with Venus and Jupiter broadcasting their presence.  From his backyard on Greenly Drive, the damp pacific air filtering in thru the isthmus of the Golden Gate,  Mike settling in for the night,  his alarm set to be a beholder.

Project Climax Nevada Test Site blast.

Operation Upshot project Climax flash lit up the horizon even in the dim slightly overcast morning sky,  this blast was by far the largest Mike had witnessed.    The air dropped device was projected to be over 60 kilotons in magnitude and the atomic blast prodigious impression justified their calculation.    The last verification test  he witnessed was on an  April  Saturday morning ,  it was reported as a 43 kilotons tower detonation and this one from appearance definitely surpassed it.    The news would flood the radio and television broadcast that night,  announcing that a nuclear explosion  rocked the Nevada Test Site desert,  producing a giant mushroom cloud,   bellowing up into the stratosphere,  and being observed  as far away as Las Vegas. He wondered how many people  had taken time out of their life to even acknowledge this page of history.    The youth also having many other congruous questions,  like why  wasn’t  the library frequented more often  by a larger number of people or why didn’t more of humanity attest to the magnificence of a full moon,  or the streaking shower of a meteors plunging earthward displaying an effervescence tail,   was their inquisitiveness imprisoned or were they just jaundiced in their resolve and egocentric in their search.

A living breathing entity, The Public Library

Entering this mausoleum like structure was always gratifying with its musty smell that imbued the ambiguous presences of antiquated publications.   The building with its silence was mystic,  concealing its greatest possessions between the folds of shrouded  pages.   The person engaged in employment could only direct,  to acquire and instill content was the responsibility of the procurers.     Some came for entertainment,  some to be enlightened with wisdom and knowledge,  others coming out of desperation,  searching for an identity,  a place or even a reason.    Young Mike finding the library a never-ending resource of what life was about and what it had to offer.    Through books he found that he could experience the perceptions and consciousness as viewed through the mind and eyes of those who substance and knowledge exceeded his endemic entity.


An endless inexhaustible world emerging

Mike discerned, to blame is not to accuse,  accusations are fleeting,  blame is substantive,  he blamed his Mother for his addiction to the library.   Reading was never a school assignment,  it was a cultivation,   his mother handing him a book,  The Oregon Trail by Francis Parkman.    It was the beginning of a road that had no ending.    At an early age he attempted Animal Farm by George Orwell,  but he wasn’t ready for its  social meaning and read the more understandable Walter Brookes, The Freddy Series instead.   His mother again , this time Prince of Foxes by Shellabarger, he preferred Dumas, the Three Musketeers.   Bowen and the Dave Dawson WWII  series,   Kipling’s Jungle Book,  Toby Tyler,  Tom Sawyer,  Treasure Island and then a new discovery,  science fiction .  Robert A  Heinlein, Rocketship  Galileo,  The Red Planet,  Craigie’s  The Voyage of Luna One, and Isaac Asimov Pebble in the Sky, The Stars Like Dust and the continuing saga of Foundation, an endless inexhaustible world emerging.   The ascendancy  from reading,  not  curiosity is what instilled a desire for a boy to sleep outside to view the flash of a nuclear bomb lighting up the sky,  even if only from the confines of his Oakland  backyard.

Mike reasoned, television was captive,  radio was captive,  even movies were captive, but a book was emancipating.


2 Responses to “A-Bomb Witness…………#26 (the 50’s)”

  1. Dee Chisolm Says:

    How often do you write your blogs? I enjoy them a lot 2 9 8

    • gwillson7 Says:

      Thank you for asking. I write everyday and have a lifetime of events to tell about. Its fun reliving and writing about them.

      Take care………………………….Gary

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