The Chicago Tribune was delivered every morning
in front of the kitchen door, on the landing next to that
stairs and the freight elevator. All about the
Stairs and the freight elevator fascinated me, but I
had never examined how the newspaper was received.
A delivery man must have taken the freight elevator
early morning with a stack of bleachers, stopping
on every floor that had a newspaper subscription. It
must have taken quite a bit of time to think about
the slow speed of the freight elevator. But I’ve never had that
When my mother woke up early or hadn’t slept at all,
She brought in the newspaper. If she stayed longer
in bed Catherine would get it. But since Catherine
did not come on weekend mornings, and my father
never got the newspaper, i got it on saturdays and
On Saturday, October 5, 1957, I saw the front page
from the stands and immediately realized that everything
would be different from now on. The headline – RED
FIRE MOON INTO SKY – was brilliant, terrifying,
profoundly meaningful and incomprehensible at the same time.
The accompanying article was more or less the same:
“At an altitude of 560 miles, it rotates five miles per second.”
What could that mean?
Alone in the breakfast nook, I continued to stare at them
Tribune. Gradually I became aware of other articles
On the title page. It was something about game
three of the World Series. What stupidity. As
could anyone be interested in baseball if anything
was completely changed?
I immediately wanted to listen to Radio Moscow. I had
never did it myself. Out with Murr, my friend
On the sixth floor I listened to Radio Moscow on the
huge mahogany contraption in the living room. Next to
In addition to its tiny TV screen, the device had a phonograph
and a powerful radio with shortwave capability that could
Access to Radio Moscow’s English-language broadcasts.
Listening was scary. Suppose the FBI finds out?
My father entered the breakfast nook. Saturday was a
favorite day for him For thirty years, since the late 1920s,
he had played pinochle with the same kid on Saturdays
group of friends. Originally there were three: Gus
Golding, Joe Weiss, and Charlie Shapiro. Gus Golding
had died a few years ago so now the three of them were playing
binoculars. Winter or summer, they never missed a Saturday
Game. It was an impressive achievement because
Charlie Shapiro lived in LaPorte, Indiana for almost two hours
drive away. He must have picked up Joe Weiss from somewhere
along the route because they always got together, and
they always arrived exactly at one o’clock.
“There is something wrong?” my father asked. I stood by
the Formica table and stared at the newspaper.
“Have a look.”
I stepped aside and he read the headline. I didn’t expect much
a reaction. My father kept a close eye on the news, even though he
rarely seemed engaged unless Israel was involved. But he
seemed to understand the meaning of REDS FIRE MOON
TO THE SKY.
“It’s good that Stalin is gone.”
“Stalin? What about Khrushchev?”
“Better than Stalin.”
I wasn’t ready to talk. It was still early on this gloomy Saturday
Morning. As I walked down the long hallway, I passed the blue room
where my mother still slept. what would she do
of the moon? Probably nothing. If she felt
well enough, she would go on another hunt with Dorothy
Instead of going to my room, I went to the cedar closet with me
its smell of wood and its darkness. I could think of anything
Cedar wood cabinet. I could face the truth.
I thought about Invasion USA, a movie that Victor and I had seen at the cinema
Parkway Theater. Suddenly the Russians invaded America.
The window cleaner turned out to be a Russian spy.
Formations of Russian bombers flew in over Alaska. That
The Russians were efficient and ruthless. They took over easily
America. All would have been lost if the whole thing hadn’t turned around
turns out to be a guy’s hallucination in a bar.
But that wasn’t a hallucination. The Russians took over
and they needed no army or air force. You would
with satellites and rockets. How would that happen? Certainly the
Details would soon become clear.
As I exited the cedar closet, the sounds of the pinochle game rang out in the
Library were loud and clear. I didn’t know anything about binoculars but it did
appeared to include numbers shouted in anger. “Three fifty!”
“Four hundred!” From the door of the library I saw that the
World Series was televised but with the audio muted.
Yes, they did that a few times a year for World Series games
and for the Kentucky Derby. What stupidity!
“Three fifty!” “Four hundred!”