on unsightly nuclear fall-out
or personal hygiene appeal,
the film strip passively concluded
with the end piece tickitty-clicking
around the projector reel
and all of us
The hot, stale classroom air thick with prepubescent afternoon recess sweat in the wooden bungalows at Lorne Street School seemed more intolerable than any atom bomb could be. The only thing that disturbed us was the repeated warning never to look at the bright, white flash. Akin to going blind if you looked directly at an eclipse of the sun, these were warnings we took seriously. There was a rumor we had all heard about a kid who looked at the eclipse for just a second - and well, you know.... Besides, we had already seen the film strip about washing your hair and brushing off your clothes from pesky nuclear fall-out dust. We could handle that. Piece of cake.
As for applauding after each educational film, no matter the content, no matter if it was an hour long or 13 minutes - it was just what was done. Even in public movie theaters after the latest James Bond, Henry Fonda or John Wayne epic - everyone stayed in their seats for part of the credits and clapped their hands. Our mothers also made sure we picked up our popcorn boxes, and mine was sure to comment indignantly on the starlet's immodest attire as we dismissed in an orderly fashion.
* Excerpt from 'Station Wagon Wars' ~ growing up in the 60's by cTanner