01 October 2012

On fifty years on

I just realised that later this month it will be half a century since the Cuban missile crisis.

I was in my final year at school. I was preparing for scholarship examinations for Oxbridge (I didn't succeed). I remember very clearly sitting on the steps of the podium in the school assembly hall, talking to a couple of friends. One of them asked, "How long do you think we've got?" I replied, on the basis of no real knowledge, of course, but aspiring to be a 17-year-old sage,"About three weeks". I believed it, and I was far from alone.

The Cold War was real and in those three weeks it was on a nuclear hair trigger. The prospect was of being blown off the face of the earth, with just four minutes' warning. The apocalypse really was on the horizon.

I also remember watching the news coverage of the denouement, and apparently being alone in thinking that Khruschev had "won".

And I failed to rise to the occasion (in several senses)---my adolescent existentialism withered when confronted by my equally adolescent evangelicalism (of course my then girl-friend's catholicism didn't help...)

The apocalypse didn't happen, and my wife is now on holiday in Cuba.

So it goes.

No comments:

Post a comment

Comments welcome, but I am afraid I have had to turn moderation back on, because of inappropriate use. Even so, I shall process them as soon as I can.