Commies were everywhere.They could be anyone. They could be your neighbors, they could be your own family! You couldn’t tell them by how they looked. That’s what was so scary about them.
Were there commies in our neighborhood? On our block? There was a man who lived down the block who supposedly worked at night. We never saw him in daylight. What was he REALLY doing while we were sleeping?
How about Mr. Maddox across the street? What did we really know about him? Sure, his daughter was my sister’s best friend, but what did that matter? How did we know that he wasn’t working with the Russkies?
There was another man across the street who wasn’t married and didn’t have kids.
What he did have was a little shack in his back yard, and an antenna on top of his house. It wasn’t like any of the TV antennas on the block.
He was older and we kids were a little scared of him.
One day he invited Dad and me over to his house. He showed us what was in the shack. It was full of electronic stuff.He turned one of the dials slowly and it made a bunch of squealing sounds, and then suddenly we heard a man’s voice. I got to put on the headphones and talk on the radio.
The man on the other end said he was in Alaska.
Wow! Was he an Eskimo?
No, he laughed, just a guy with another short wave radio.
Who else could we talk to? It depends on the weather and the time of day, our neighbor explained.
There was a map on the wall with pins stuck in it. See? I’ve talked to people in Spain and England and Australia and even China. People all over the world. That’s the fun of it.
That’s when I saw where one of the pins was stuck. I don’t think Dad noticed.
We stayed a little while longer. Then Dad thanked him for showing us his radio and we left.
But I couldn’t stop wondering, who was he talking to in Russia?
What if he was just pretending to talk to people all over the world. What if what he was really doing in that little shack was telling the Russians our secrets?
What if he was telling them exactly where we lived so they could target us with their bombs?
I never went there again.