My Childhood Memories of the Chernobyl Disaster in 1986
The anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, the largest of its kind, was a few days ago on April 26th.
I was 9 years old at the time, living near Budapest, behind the Iron Curtain in Soviet occupied Hungary, and knew nothing.
No-one was telling.
How Information on the Chernobyl disaster spread like this at the time
It went something like this.
April 26th, the day of the disaster, to the end of April: nothing.
May 1st: It was the day of the semi-obligatory May Day parade, with everybody outside. Going outside is not a good idea when there is radiation.
I usually hated the parades. “Not fun but beats going to school” is how I thought about it mostly. That year, however, I wanted to go. I don’t remember why. It was a hot, dry day. Everything went as usual, except perhaps for people glancing at the strange purple-tinted sky. Still no information on the accident. Not even a mention.
Later on in May: “There may have been a slight mishap, but it’s all under control, no need to worry about anything. It’s OK to go outside, and fine to eat whatever you want,” and so on.
By then everybody was talking about it. Lots of information, misinformation, and often conflicting tips and advice were passed on. Everybody seemed to know better than the next person, yet all people could agree on was that we were not being told the truth about the Chernobyl disaster.
That was something we were used to. It was to be expected. The facade of perfection had to be maintained. It was part of how the system worked. I understood that as a 9 year old. Everybody did.
The Chernobyl Disaster and my Health
Within a few weeks red itchy pimples grew all over my body. If you think you know what itchy is, these were 10 times that.
I probably should have been politically incorrect and skipped the May Day parade. I didn’t know.
We went from doctor to doctor and tried all kinds of things. It was not fun. The pimples remained in varying intensity until 6 years later when I had the good luck of spending a year in the USA.
The fallout from the Chernobyl disaster, just 700 miles from my home, didn’t reach over the Atlantic I guess.
I have been OK since, and I still don’t glow in the dark, thank God.
Much later, I was in Japan at the time of the Fukushima disaster, but that is a story for an other day.
Life, Lies and Clarity
The lesson I guess is never to trust the government, and never take a chances by not being prepared for whatever may come. Start with food.