Friday, December 30, 2016

Meanwhile, from the fallout shelter… not much has changed



Earlier today, I was in the laundry room of my ‘new’ (old, it’s old) apartment building, when an older woman entered, wheeling one of those personal shopping carts.  I couldn’t help but notice it had a case of Del Monte canned fruit cocktail on the bottom, with a stack of Hungry Jack Mashed Potatoes boxes on top.  That’s a lot of mashed potatoes!

I should’ve just minded my own business (and I had no intention of saying anything) but she said hello, so I returned the greeting and added “stocking up for the winter?”  She looked down at her cart then said “well either that or… you know.”

My neighbor’s storage locker in the basement is stocked for a nuclear winter

I said “Er… no I’m sorry, I don’t.”  For all I know, she was talking about a tornado, zombie apocalypse or the Rapture.  Then it hit me and I added “oh, you mean like if Russia dropped the big one?”  She said “Well, we don’t have President Kennedy to stop them now.  My husband always said we should keep our basement stocked and this is probably the closest thing we have to a fallout shelter.”   Wow.  I think she was half-teasing me, but I still haven’t heard the phrase “fallout shelter” since I was 6 or 7 years old and asked my dad what those yellow & black signs were on a couple of the buildings uptown. 

US Fallout shelter signI wonder if any of these metal signs are still there, like on the courthouse or local Moose lodge

I wouldn’t know, I haven’t gotten out much & still don’t have a lot to share yet after being back in my old hometown after nearly 30 years.  I’m still wrestling with the TMJ, and aside from some quick trips to Giant Eagle (the supermarket down the hill from me) or my sister Shawn’s house, I’ve been mostly indoors nursing a sore, swollen jaw and wondering when (or if) it will be over & I can have a relatively normal life again.  I confess I was a lot more optimistic when I first moved here… ah, I’m still hopeful.

There have been some nice moments—a couple weeks ago, I enjoyed an afternoon reminiscing & catching up with an old high school friend (who was in town visiting family for the holidays).  We hadn’t seen each other in 35 years.  We met up for lunch at a (very nice) Mexican restaurant on High Street, which was formerly known as ‘The Waynesburg Restaurant’; my grandmother baked pies & waitressed there for many, many years.

Grandma Morris at the Wbg Restaurant

Grandma (in the back, far left) circa 1963; how the restaurant looks today

Well, speaking of Grandma I’ve seen that not ALL things have changed.  In 1968-69 when I was in the second & third grade, I attended school at North Ward Elementary.  At the time, my grandmother was living in a trailer with powder-blue trim that was right along the way.  I often went there for lunch, or hung out with Grandma after school.  There was an Econo-Wash laundromat that sat directly behind her mobile home, and sometimes we’d walk over to get a bottle of Orange Crush pop and play pinball.

The school is gone, it was torn down in 1975; but the Econo-Wash still stands, along with Grandma’s old powder-blue trailer!

powder blue

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