It’s not as safe as I thought going back to 1955

My novel in progress, set in the Florida Panhandle in 1955, started me thinking that if only I had a time machine, I could go back to 1955 until the Pandemic is over. That means worrying about the KKK, but I’ll stay out of sight.

Tank ventilator known as the iron lung. Wikipedia photo

Crap, there’s a cold war going and the feds are developing ICBMs with nuclear war heads, Eisenhower might use force to protect Taiwan while sending military advisers to South Vietnam. All of that is bad and might wipe out the world. Little did he know how much of a mess those advisers would ultimately cause: 1,353,000 deaths, including 58,220 U.S. casualties.

Meanwhile, everyone’s worried about polio, with over 16,000 new cases each year, 1,879 of which were fatal. Those who loved gallows humor suggested saving the coupons (redeemable for merchandise) from their Raleigh cigarette packs for an ion lung. Since I’m suddenly psychic, I know that Salk’s polio vaccine will be out in a couple of months.

Wikipedia graphic

Marian Anderson has just become the first Black singer to sing at the Metropolitan Opera. My characters would like that. About a month later, fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin was kicked, handcuffed, and verbally abused by police in a Montgomery bus for refusing to give up her seat to a white lady. My psychic powers tell me that her lawsuit resulted in bus segregation becoming unconstitutional the following year.

The U.S. is in the middle of the second, so-called “Red Scare.” McCarthyism is sweeping the country like a virus.

Okay, the hell with it, I think I’ll stay here in 2020 in spite of the year’s threats and challenges.

Malcolm