Thursday, March 28, 2024



It was one of my "where were you when..." moments and it happened 45 years ago today.

We had a warm spell a few days prior.  A friend and I blew off school for the day, believing a day at Lackawanna State Park was better than a day inside a smelly and soul crushing high school.  We were right.  It was our senior year, and by then, I knew all I needed to know.

I was driving out of the Dunmore Shopping Center and on to the O'Neil Highway, fresh from picking up some photos from one of those tiny film developing booths that were so revolutionary at the time.  Yes, not only did I blow off school, but I had the photos to prove it.  The news came on the radio.  There was an accident at the nuclear power plant in Middletown, just outside of Harrisburg.  And for you youngsters out there, there really was a time when you could get news on local radio.

That late afternoon newscast sounded serious, but not catastrophic.  The story was just beginning and the worst was yet to come.

I vividly remember actually going to school the next day, and hearing a teacher discuss that plans were being made to evacuate the city of Harrisburg.  This was getting real!

Local TV news was all over it, and a huge portion of Walter Cronkite's "CBS Evening News" was dedicated to the TMI story, including detailed explanations of how nuclear power worked, what happened at the plant, and all the horrible possibilities if the situation wasn't contained.

As we know by now, the leak was fixed.  The meltdown was averted.  It either shows the system worked, or it didn't, depending on your point of view.

It did make for an unforgettable week for a high school senior.