50s Flashback
Welcome Back to The Atomic Age...

Duck and Cover

If you grew up in the 50s or 60s you might remember duck and cover drills. Perhaps you've seen them portrayed in documentary programs that included old news reel footage:

Squeaky clean relatives of Ward and June Cleaver jumping under their school desks... today those images are quaint, and even laughed at. But it was no laughing matter then... nor now.

In one of the SS UNITED STATES engine rooms the serious business of being prepared in the modern age is posted. (right)

One of the great adventures of my life has been exploring the SS UNITED STATES. With permission from the owners, I've spent countless hours exploring the vessel in Philadelphia. And one of my many memorable moments on board came one evening while enjoying the ship by myself.

Entering an engine room is made even more surreal by its tomb-like characteristics. Sealed, sound proofed - there are no windows - no light - no sound. You enter and the engine room seems to float below you - in the darkness.

As I scanned the area with my flashlight the headline in this bulletin shot back in the light and suddenly transported me in time.





Where were you when?

We all have "where were you when.." memories that we usually associate with significant world and national events. The Kennedy assassinations or the first steps of man on the moon. If you're old enough, you're likely to have many of these connections in time.

For many of us Big U fans, the SS UNITED STATES represents some of the most positive times of our lives. For some it was a vacation trip to or from Europe - full of the fondest of memories. For many others it was when their family came home after years of being away on assignment serving in the military overseas.

This week the Queen Mary 2 made her inaugural call on New York echoing years of great maritime tradition and making many of us remember when...we came home.

Where was I the morning of September 5, 1967? Top side, of course staring into the eyes of Liberty.

- Mike Alexander


For an incredible look at the QM2's arrival through the eyes of World Ship Society members visit the NY Branch.

For a truly fun blast from the past (no atomic pun, intended) visit Shawn Hanley's Queen for a Day page. No Cunard Liners here - but a few minutes in the 50s for sure.