The Cuban Missile Crisis PT III

Artwork collage Sally Edelstein

Collage by Sally Edelstein

 Tossin’ and Turnin’

By Thursday, the Cuban Missile Crisis continued and as the tension elevated, so did my fever.

I had taken all the orange flavored St Joseph aspirins that I could yet my fever had still not broken. The red splotches of German Measles continued their assault goose-stepping across my body.

As head of tactical air control, Mom deployed the aerosol Lysol to fumigate the house regularly and often. Taking the offensive with the pre-emptive striking power of Lysol she’d immobilize and incapacitate any rogue germs.

In my feverish delirium, disparate sounds and thoughts merged in my mind, as I drifted between states of fractured foggy wakefulness and fitful sleep.

Blending with the hushed anxious tones of my parents, the shrill, ear-piercing, buzzing signals on the radio during the CONELRAD broadcasting system tests and the ominous news bulletins about the Missile Crisis, were the incessant commercials constantly blaring on TV.

“’s a smart country that guards its citizens against invasion,… it’s a smart mother who guards her family against germs.. nothing disinfects so effectively as Lysol, kills every germ it touches… the Nuclear bomb that kills every substance it touches in scientific tests, its radioactive action keeps working for 7 full days… better easier way to keep the Communist germ infection from spreading…..”

appropriated images artwork collage sally edelstein

Collage by Sally Edelstein

…..”And now a word from our sponsor… This is only a test……In a world threatened by thermonuclear holocaust… it’s new… its different…its. ……Brought to you by Chrysler, America’s first Family of Rockets and Missiles… gives the surest protection-the new Missiles with Gardol, wonderful new Anti-Russian fighter forms an invisible shield of radioactivity around them……they can’t feel it- taste it- see it-but Gardol’s protection won’t rinse off or wear off all day, just like New Pepsodent…..”

“…Don’t settle for wishy -washy conventional weapons…New deep penetrating Thermonuclear Bombs bring speedy relief from Reds…. Goes in-goes in fast…help restore restful democracy, relieves pesky Russian interference. Regular use prolongs protection. It’s so effective it destroys most infrastructures with every single bombing. Your family gets the important Commie fighting protection they need.”

 “Yes, fast acting Ajax, the white tornado…. Ajax missiles kill millions of people associated with Communism, including the stubborn Totalitarism, the very group that so many experts say is a causative agent of the trouble… Reaches all infected areas in minutes… .shrinks populations, restores free way of life. An exclusive anti communist Ingredient….

artwork appropropriated images collage Sally Edelstein

Collage by Sally Edelstein

Why wake up coughing….sleep through the night…new Vics vapo rub…Radioactive vapors penetrate deep into chest, throat, nose and sinus passages…3 out of 4 doctors recommend Solaircaine -stops screaming pain of burns instantly …..”

That’s all there is to it…This is not a test

 “…If this had been an actual emergency ……..  take 2 aspirin and call me in the morning”

vintage ad mans face headache

 As hot as I was with fever I knew things were only going to get a lot hotter once this thermonuclear war began.

 On Sunday morning Moscow announced their decision to dismantle the missiles and return to sender. I wouldn’t understand until years later that the Russians backed off or as Dean Rusk was to famously say, ” We were eye ball to eyeball and they blinked first.”

What memories do you have of the Cuban Missile Crisis?


Sally Edelstein Collage


  1. Pingback: The Cuban Missile Crisis PT I « Envisioning The American Dream

  2. Pingback: The Cuban Missile Crisis PT I | Envisioning The American Dream

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  5. Pierre Lagacé

    I was 13 at the time. I remember that I was never afraid. Deep inside I knew someone would blink…

    Liked by 1 person

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