Newspaper: The Dickinsonian
Date: April 12, 1979
Article: Seriously: It wasn’t funny after a while
Author: Blair Woodstock

It’s difficult for me to formulate my thoughts right now. It takes very little to cause my adrenaline to flow. As I write this, I and everyone around me are potentially in the path of a nuclear disaster. It’s an uncomfortable thought.

It is Saturday afternoon. I believe that I am not now in immediate danger from radiation. I also believe that I will be in danger within the next few days. Why did I decide to come to a school so near Three-Mile Island?

It just started to rain. I wonder how that affects radiation? I have heard rain doesn’t affect it. I have also heard that rain does affect it. I’m sitting here in my room, listening to my Kenny Loggins album and staring at the rain.

I turned off the TV. There are less bulletins on now because the situation is temporarily stabilized. I can’t stand watching the tennis match or the baseball game because of something on an island twenty miles away.

I have never been in a potentially catastrophic situation before. I had always thought I would be able to handle it. I thought I would remain clam. I can’t believe my hand is shaking as I write this.

Half the students at this college have gone home. I think I may do the same. I’m glad I live west of here since the wind is blowing north-east. I’m wearing my t-shirt that says “Pittsburgh . . .Some place special.” If I do go home I’ll have to borrow money from someone because I ran out of checks this week. What luck.

Why do I keep picturing archeologists in the year 2079? I can see them venturing on this campus and sifting thought my belongings when the radioactivity is gone. “I wonder if this stereo still works?” they will say.

“Wow, what strange music they listened to in those days. Look at all those old-fashioned clothes. I can’t believe so many people wore those blue denim trousers. . .”

I’m over-reacting. I know I must be over-reacting. The only problem is I can’t really put a period on that sentence without adding a “but.” This is an unprecedented situation. Who knows what could happen? How do we know that the media are telling us the truth? Or the local law enforcement agencies? There are so many rumors flying around on this campus that I don’t trust anybody. I wish I hadn’t seen “The China Syndrome.”

I called my parents and they said I could come home if I wanted to. I called my professor and he said he is excusing people if they miss the exam. Should I go home? I really shouldn’t miss any more classes this semester. Would I be able to study if I stayed? I wish they would cancel classes for a week. I guess if I were dead from radioactivity I wouldn’t care if I flunked my exam.

It’s funny. Yesterday I was making jokes about the situation. Today I think jokes about our future children are sick.

* * *

Now it is Sunday. April Fools Day. Present Carter is in Harrisburg. I have decided to stay here at least until the president of the College speaks again tonight. Last night he said his biggest fear was panic. I have tried to calm down since then. At four o’clock this morning I went out and ran two miles because I couldn’t sleep.

Right now we are all just waiting. We all feel restless and irritable but there is a kind of togetherness that is not usually present here. People are partying a lot or paying raquet {sic} call and tennis to occupy their minds.

When you are reading this, I hope and pray the situation will be resolved. I don’t think, however, that we’ll ever be able to say we were scared for nothing.