The cold war was picking up steam. The atom bomb was a real thing and a threat that seemed on the mind of every adult. People built bomb shelters and kids believed that only people with bomb shelters would survive. But bomb shelters were expensive so not so many people had them. But they were the subject of lots of conversations.
Civil Defense drills were a big part of my elementary school experience. We saw lots of films about what to do when the bomb came. For the drill, we each got a big red tag and wrote our name on it and attached it to our clothes. Then, when the air raid siren went off, we'd march, single file out of the school and down the block to a designated area.
So, to recap, the people who had seen the aftermath of the bombings of Japan, led us to believe that when they dropped the bomb, we'd be fine because of paper name tags and because we were a block away. Happily, they forgot to drop the bomb.
I met my first real BFF - Linda Rhyne - we called her Lemon (get it?! hahah). We were tight as ticks. She had a creek behind her house and we spent whole summers in that creek. Her family moved to another town when we were in the 6th grade. I was crushed into little tiny bits. It was my first loss. In 2014, one day, coming out from swimming, I was checking my email when I spied a note from a Linda Rhyne that started 'Do you remember me?'
She still lives in North Carolina but was in Vancouver a few months later and I went up to see her. It was just amazing to meet the grown up Lemon. And such fun. If we were closer geographically, I honestly think we could be BFF's again. She brought with her, a bracelet that I'd totally forgotten about. Just before she moved away, my Mom had thrown Lemon a going away party with about 12 of our friends. Charm bracelets were really big and Mom bought Lemon a charm bracelet with a little silver disk with my name on it and had all the other girls add disks with their names on it. Lemon still has that bracelet and brought it with her! We had a great time going through each disk and trying to remember each girl 50 years later.