We moved to Norwalk, California the year that I turned 13. Two doors down from us lived a fat old battle axe of a John Bircher named Rose Bradley. She delighted in filling my innocent liberal ears with how the Commies were taking over America. Every time I encountered her, the stories and predictions became more and more terrifying until I could not sleep most nights. I was firmly convinced that the Commies were going to climb through my window one night and get me.

I put a baseball bat beside my pillow, a chair leg by my bed, and a tire iron on the nightstand. I would call all four of my dogs into bed with me and eventually somewhere between midnight and dawn I would finally get to sleep.

The year I turned 17, we moved to Texas because Mama and Papa wanted to be closer to the rest of our relatives who were not getting any younger. The Commies had still not gotten me, and that was a vast relief. I read Time Magazine, U.S. News and World Report, Newsweek, and several other news magazines, watching out for the arrival of the Commies.

The Cold War ended and the Commies never came.