My mother and father were peacefully sleeping (I assume) when a horrible kaboom! started hitting our house from all sides.  From what I can remember of his side of the story, my father saw bright flashes of light outside in the middle of the night followed by one explosion after another.  I don’t remember if my older brother and I ran to my parents’ bedroom or if one of them came to get us, but I do know we spent a good chunk of that night underneath the bed.  We were in a foreign country and waiting for the bombs to stop dropping but they just kept coming and coming and coming and …

This was the early 1980s and the United States was having a spat with some countries in the Middle East.  Thinking back on my childhood in Italy, I can certainly remember the air raid sirens and the brownout/blackout drills.  I recall being on top of my monkey bars and hearing the sirens go off, a loud wail that sent my German Shepherd/Collie dog into a frenzy.  To get that dog inside was an accomplishment in itself because she couldn’t walk toward the house without stopping to howl every four steps.  Even as a little kid, I understood the importance of getting inside the house, seeking shelter and waiting out the sirens in the dark.  With a howling dog.

But on this particular night, there was no siren.  Just explosions and lights and my father shoving us all underneath the bed.  How long did we stay there? Did I actually fall asleep that night? I don’t remember.  And I don’t remember ever knowing as a kid what really happened  that night.  For all I know, my dad thought we were getting bombed.

When I finally did learn the truth about that night, I couldn’t stop laughing at my dad. Here is a man who protected the President aboard Air Force One, a man who once tackled a foreign dignitary to the ground after suspecting he was about to pull out a weapon, a man who once hid in a bunker during a gas attack drill without his gas mask and hoped for the best, a man who loved his family so much that he threw them underneath his bed in the middle of the night to protect them from…

…fireworks being shot off in celebration of Italy’s own Independence Day? Hahahaha!!!!


About Dena

I'm a suburban Clevelander by way of Oklahoma City, by way of North Florida, by way of Southern Maryland, by way of Upper Michigan, by way of Northern Italy, by way of Lower Michigan, by way of Texas. Because of living in so many places, I have something in common with almost everyone I meet. I love reading, writing, and American history (especially reading or writing about American history). I'm interested in culture of place, historical trauma, and writing about the kinds of histories most people don't know about.
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One Response to Kaboom!

  1. Chris says:

    That is just hilarious, I’m sorry.

    You didn’t almost get taken out by noisemakers and confetti on New Years too, did you? 😉

    Great story!

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