I was born near the end of World War II, so my early childhood memories are filled with images of the Cold War and the fears that those images evoked. I remember that we used to have spend-the-night parties at one of my girlfriend's houses, and we slept in the basement. One whole wall was lined with shelving, neatly stacked with all kinds of survival goods.
There was a family in the next block who had their own bomb shelter in their back yard.
All the big buildings in downtown Birmingham had the Fallout Shelter Sign on them, which looked like a radioactive warning triangle, except it was bright yellow. Stockpiled in the basements of these public buildings were all kinds of K rations and supplies, supposedly to house the population while we waited for it to be safe to come out after an atomic attack.
When we went to the movies there were always Newsreels and cartoons before the feature movie. The cartoons were fun, but often the newsreels were pictures of the latest tests of the atomic bomb, or news of tests the Russians had made. I don't remember my school ever teaching us to do the Duck and Cover drill for nuclear attack, but I do remember seeing the drill on the newsreels.
The scariest of all were the newsreels showing the testing of the atomic bombs on the mockup American town built out in the desert. I can still see the heat wave passing across the roof tops and the houses dissolving in front of me over and over.
Growing up during the Cold War meant growing up with a pervasive sense of insecurity and paranoia.