"My work may be garbage but it's good garbage." Mickey Spillane
After all these years I can’t put all of the pieces right in my head. I have only an image that hit me so hard at seven years old, a month shy of eight, that it haunted my dreams as a child.
But it came back to me again as I was writing a scene of disaster.
Comparing dates, I can see now that it happened around the time that I had polio. I cannot tell you which event came first.
What I remember is the overwhelming sense of panic among the adults (my mother and my grandparents). We were living in Long Beach, California. The navy shipyard there would have been a primary target if the missiles had been launched from Russia.
Empty shelves. Row after row of empty shelves in the supermarket. My mother trying desperatedly to get enough food to get by if the crisis came to blows. For about five years afterward I used to hoard candy in a box under my bed. I was constantly asking for money to buy candy, but I never ate it. The candy went into the box. Eventually my hoard was discovered hidden behind boxes of toys and taken from my possession.