I had no idea when I was 9 that one particular experience would eventually become the basis for a book.
If you want, you can go back in time and refresh yourself on actual, factual particulars of the Three Mile Island accident here. Or here. Or if you’d like the same info, but with a sense of humor, here. But now back to the 9 year old banana-bike-seat-riding, Incredible-Hulk-haircutted me.
I was in 3rd grade at the now defunct Poplar Street Elementary School in Elizabethtown, PA in March of 1979. We had a 1st year teacher that year, Ms. Jackson. I vividly remember her being abruptly called out of class (by nameless faceless authority figures) that Thursday afternoon, and when she came back, she was white as a ghost. She told us there was a problem at TMI, and that we were being dismissed early. Then she went around and shut the shades. I love that little memory looking back on it: this poor woman doing her part to stave off nuclear holocaust by pulling down those giant, ugly brown shades. Although.. they were pretty dense… maybe she was onto something.
Getting out of school for anything was cool. However, the next day we started getting news of the hydrogen bubble, and that’s what did it for me. The hydrogen bubble. We lived out in the country, right on the 5 mile radius of “you really should evacuate now”
proximity to TMI. I don’t remember now where I heard about it, or what I actually heard. I had no more idea what a hydrogen bubble actually was than I knew who the Ayatollah Khomeni actually was, I just knew it had to be bad. And so a shapeless terror pinned me down in the basement that Friday afternoon (my mom asked me if I’d feel safer in the basement, so I spent the day down there). What would it be? The ground vaporizing under my feet? An explosion from overhead? Would it be like being tied to the train tracks and hearing the speeding locomotive coming down the track? Or would it be just a poof and we were all gone?
That it COULD have been any of those things (reality check, it could NOT have been any of those things) inspired a theme Rob & I explored when we started writing Friday Night Monster Club. How a story of what could be becomes a story of what definitely is (even if it definitely is NOT), and conversely how assumptions of what could never be can turn out to be what actually is.
Because I can laugh now about the Friday afternoon where I learned to embrace the hydrogen bubble, it has been a lot of fun to expand that memory into a Friday night adventure for our monster club. We hope you get a chance to read it. If you want to add your own TMI memories (real or imagined), go for it. And please continue to fuel your imagination of what could be with all the wild and wacky monsters on this blog that are too weird to actually be, yet actually are.
And we’ve got lots more that’s even weirder where they came from…