Did you watch The Day After, the made for TV movie about nuclear war where bombs were dropped on Kansas City and the surrounding area? It aired on November 20, 1983 and almost 100 million people watched. I remember there being so much hype and at age 15, I was one of those millions watching.
So when I ran across The Day After the Day After: My Atomic Angst, a memoir by Steven Church, I was transported back to the early eighties. I also thought about my wife's family who were living in Topeka, Kansas at the time, especially her brother who is fascinated by apocalyptic visionaries like John Brown and creates apocalyptic landscapes in many of his works of art.
Steven Church covers John Brown and many end of the world 70's and 80's movies as he reports on the atmosphere he grew up in while in Lawrence, Kansas and what it was like for "the end" to be filmed in his town when he was a kid.
I sent a copy of the book to my brother-in-law and then took the library's copy on an almost 5000 mile road trip with my family. It was the perfect book for my trip, because we would be making a stop in Lawrence, Kansas to visit some of my wife's old high school friends and because a 5000 mile trip with four kids can feel apocalyptic at times.
I talked with one of my wife's friends about the book and the movie and he said that the movie terrified him and he is glad that his kids aren't growing up with the threat of nuclear war hanging over them as much as it was for us. I remember being disappointed by the movie, finding it slightly boring and melodramatic. The nuclear war threat just never seemed real to me and I didn't loose much sleep over it as a child.
How was it for you? Read Steven Church's memoir and see what memories it brings back for you.
The Day After the Day After