April 24, 2004

Web-Enhanced Memories

We watched the remake of Failsafe today, and it brought back memories of the Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis. I remember the nervous churning in my guts each morning that wasn't made any easier by the principal at Croft High School, Mr. Kinney. He had risen to administration after a long career as an English teacher, and began each day by personally intoning the announcements over the school PA system. With all that literature knocking around unused in his mind, he made sure to include a quote or literary allusion whenever he could between class play rehearsal times, Latin Club meetings, and lunch menus. He was especially in his element during October of 1962. I don't remember the specifics but I know there were poems about mortality and pointlessness read in a stoic, world weary kind of drone. Exactly what a 14 year old wants to hear before Algebra I.

The cover of the Saturday Evening Post is also burned into my memory. By coincidence, they were serializing the Failsafe book that week. The image of bombers streaking over the Kremlin lay on our coffee table as we watched the UN debating the end of the world in black and white. I haven't seen that cover since 1962, but on a whim while watching the movie today I typed "Saturday Evening Post" +failsafe into Google and a second later, there it was: the October 13, 1962 cover by Robert McCall. The web amazes me yet again.

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