B.R.A.T.S. A Big Scare
Updated: Sep 16, 2019
In the early 60s, we were stationed in Winnipeg, on the air base where we lived in PMQs. We lived in two different houses there. One on Jameswood Drive and then in a larger house on Leicester (we pronounced it 'Lester') Square, sometime after my two youngest brothers, Tony and Dale, were born.
While we were still in the Jameswood house, I think I was 5, my mother asked me to go to one of the neighbors for something, or i was going to a neighbor's to play with their kid, or something, it was a long time ago and I was young and my memory is dim...at least some parts of it are. What came to transpire is still vividly clear. I was going to a neighbor's who was a couple of houses away.
Now, a couple of houses isn't far but, when you are a kid, a little kid, and you've been taught not to cut across people's lawns without permission, you have to take the road. When the house is down the road, around two bends, and then a bit along another road, it can be a long ways for two short legs. I remember it taking a long time to get to the house but the whole distance was probably a block.
I was almost to the door, I recall being able to see inside the house because the inside door was open, the outside screen door was closed but you could see through it, it was a screen. For some reason I looked over my shoulder and I saw a huge black cloud billowing up into the sky. It wasn't a rain cloud black, it was nasty, angry, could be holding dragons, black.
I'm not sure why I was so scared by that cloud, this was not too long after the sputnik launch and general anxiety about that, Bay of Pigs, Kennedy assassination (I think this came later), Cuban Missile Crisis, maybe it was that we were on an air base with the ever present threat of plane crash. For whatever reason, I felt my world was coming to an end and I was scared.
As a normal kid, what did I do? I wanted my mom. Mom's have such a great way of making everything seem ok, even when it's not. Trouble was, my mom was all that distance home AND, to get there, I had to head toward that big black cloud. I next did what kids tend to do when they're scared. I cried.
So, here I was, a little kid, crying, running. There was no way I was going to walk to my doom, but I would run to it. I can't remember if Mom heard my cries and came to find me or if I made it home but all of a sudden she was there and all became ok with my world again. She was calm and full of hugs. That's my mom.
It turned out that the black cloud wasn't the end of my world, it was firefighters practicing to prevent the end of my world. The memory has stayed with me about 55 years, the day I was so scared.