Just a month after the tornado, Dad had another reason to be upset.
He explained that some Americans who were spies for Russia had been executed. They had done a very bad thing.
They had given the Russians the secret to making an atomic bomb.
But they caught them, right? So why was Dad upset?
Their name was Rosenberg. They were Jewish.
Some people will think that all Jews are communists. And traitors.
I knew about communists, because people were always talking about them. Someone at school told me that his dad told him that there were lots of commies in this country pretending to be normal people.
They could even be your next door neighbor, and you wouldn’t know it. His dad knew that because there was a United States senator who said so. He had a list of people who were secretly commies.
One of the people who lived on our block had a car that wasn’t made in America. Maybe he was a commie.
My friend said that that it was a German car, so the guy was not a commie. He was probably a Nazi.
A man across the street wasn’t married and had no kids. We hardly ever saw him. He stayed up late almost every night and never came out during the day. What if he was contacting Russia while we slept?
Dad just shook his head. That’s the problem, he said. People say and do stupid things when they’re scared.
Like what stupid things?
Like accusing their neighbors of being communists without any proof. Or believing everything that a goon like Joe McCarthy says.
That made me REALLY scared. What if this Joe McCarthy accused Dad of being a commie because of what Dad said about him? What if people accused Dad of being a traitor because Dad called them stupid? What if the guy across the street who Dad said wasn’t a spy really WAS a commie?
What if they accused Dad because we’re Jewish like the Rosenbergs?
Then a horrible thought occurred to me.
What if Dad really IS a commie?