My fourth grade teacher asked the class which US targets we thought Russians might be most likely to bomb.

I don’t remember the context–just the question and answers.

Classmates revealed their socialization by naming landmarks: the Statue of Liberty, the Golden Gate Bridge, Hollywood, Disneyland. They had an essential, basic understanding of the nature of nationalism, choosing an East Coast icon many had probably never seen in person (but whose repetition as a national motif had been culturally honed). Even those that named lady liberty also chose a barrage of favorite California locales. Several kids, myself included, also said “the secret place.” What we shared was a regional myth. A local understanding. Hidden (and not so hidden) bases, warehouses, labs and bunkers dotted numerous points in the expansive Mojave. The B2 bomber was developed at once such “secret place,” known regionally as parents shared stories of being turned away from mysterious “military” bases.

My parents and I were turned away from one such fenced-off area, as we cruised along a side side-road (my dad was fond of snaking his way through city and desert alike on curious sidestreets he’d memorized after years driving trucks). Men wheeled out in dark vehicles, seemingly from nowhere, and blocked access to a familiar route, informing us the road was temporarily closed. We were advised to turn around immediately.

No aliens here. Only the cloaked progress of Cold War innovations.

KR S2 E1

One thought on “7/18/13

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