Write Columbia's History
Memories of the Cold War Era
Eugene Milone
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.

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