Memories of the Cold War Era
Columbia College 1961
I remember my first-year Contemporary Civilizations course in 1957, taught by an instructor named Frank Wekerle, whose considerable teaching skills continue to stand out in my memory.
During one of my classes, I remember the hubbub caused by the visit of Fidel Castro to the campus, newly victorious in Cuba, but not yet considered a menace to U.S. interests.
I remember having lunch—a liverwurst sandwich and a small can of apple juice, both dispensed by the machines in a little dining nook just outside the Columbia bookstore. During one particular time, in October 1957, one of my friends came in with the news: the USSR had launched the first artificial satellite.
I remember a lady walking her turtle on the Barnard campus.
Finally I remember the nuclear alert sirens, widely ignored by an increasingly sensitized student body, already growing leery of idiotic foreign policies, and foreshadowing the widespread reaction of the Vietnam era.