The Cuban Missile Crisis (1962)


Specter-like, it is visible at many angles from far-away locations throughout northern New Hampshire and Vermont. From the summit, the view stretches out into Quebec and over to New York state.

The radar site on top of East Mountain in the Northeast Kingdom, shown here, is the subject of Dick Pinette’s “Northwoods Echoes” this month. Dick had the opportunity, with friends, to visit the summit outpost which is an eerie souvenir from the Cold War era. The pictures and words remind us of a “Twilight Zone” or “Outer Limits” episode from the early ’60s. We agree with Dick’s feelings expressed in his story: the outpost should be turned into some sort of public museum. For the generations who have grown up in the years since the Cold War ended, it would be a curious history lesson on global affairs with a regional connection. And for those of us who remember those years, it would help remind us how far we’ve come since the time we were “eyeball to eyeball and the other guy just blinked.”

We well remember the week of the Cuban Missile Crisis back in 1962. That week our family drove by a local supermarket parking lot where they were unveiling new, “build-it-yourself” bomb shelters. And who can forget all those Civil Defense drills? We remember going into the basement of a large public building with our classmates in Vermont and being told the relative ease by which we’d all survive an H-Bomb attack. The worst of it, in my young mind, was the fact that we’d have to eat dried crackers for a few weeks. Reading Dick’s story brought back those curious memories for us of the days when the radar tower was, in his words, “our last line of defense.”

Associate Editor Susan Zizza brings Winston Pote back to our pages in “Spotlight” this month. In her article, we have a little fun with a Goodyear tire ad which appeared in the Saturday Evening Post and LIFE back in June 1950. It teamed up a Pote photo, no doubt originally taken for calendar art, with the Detroit skyline, Egyptian pyramid, the Sphinx and a camel. Our thanks to photographer Pote’s niece, Norma Andrews, for loaning us the material of her famous relative to reproduce in our pages from time to time.

We hopped in our roadster and took to the open-and sometimes gravel-highways of northern New Hampshire in our imagination, thanks to the pages of the old travel brochure we have been serializing. Thelma Daley of Colebrook loaned us the brochure, which is laden with circa-1930 photos from around our region. This month we roll through Northumberland and Groveton to North Stratford and across the river to Brunswick Springs. We also head east to visit York Pond and Randolph.

Susan puts together a roundup of historical-related news developments around the region in “News Briefs.” It is nice to see so many restoration projects being funded around the north. Also included is information about the new covered bridge which opened in Plymouth last month. It is truly an engineering wonder, combining old ideas and new technology to recreate the spans which have made New England famous.

This month also look for our reviews section and a continuation of The Upland Mystery.

Read our next entry here.

Charles J. Jordan