Saturday, March 28, 2009

30 years ago

I used to wear this shirt. It's a children's size medium.

On March 28, 1979, I remember sitting in Mrs. Behel's second grade class, learning stuff with the other kids, when the principal starting making announcements over the school's intercom. Kids were getting called out of class to go meet their parents in the school lobby. No one knew why. I wondered if my name would be called. In a few minutes I heard my name and my brother's announced. When we got to the lobby, my mom was waiting for us. She told us we were going home to get some things and then we would be driving to north to stay with her cousin's family in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area. She explained there had been an accident at the nuclear power plant called Three Mile Island.

I don't remember what I packed at all. I wonder now what I decided were the most important things to take. I just remember riding in the car with my mom and brother, following my dad, who was driving in another car ahead of us with our cat and more of our stuff. I wanted to ride in the car with the cat but I wasn't allowed to.

We stayed in Wilkes-Barre for a week, I think. I remember playing with my mom's cousin's kids. One of them pretended he was the Incredible Hulk and would pick us up and go "RRARRR!" They had a bathroom with the biggest bathtub I had ever seen. I think there was a phone next to the tub. It was 1979, after all.

When we returned home, I was glad to see my grandparents again, who also lived in the area near Three Mile Island, and who had decided to stay put when the accident happened. Probably the weeping cherry tree in the front of our house was in bloom when we got home, always one of my favorite sights of spring. I'm sure the cat was glad to be back in her own territory.

About a year or so later my brother's class went on a field trip to tour Three Mile Island. I guess they were inviting school kids to visit to show how safe it was.

For many years after the incident, even after I had moved out of my parents' house, I would have nightmares about needing to get my things together and leave home due to another nuclear accident.

Do you have a Three Mile Island story?

No comments: