We owned a small house in the Green Lake district nearby.
At the Boeing Company, one of my assignments was strategic assessment. That means I had access to much of the intelligence data available to the Boeing Company, which included estimates of the air and missile forces available to the USSR.
The former Soviet Union had a lot of firepower. Seattle was not in range of the Soviet Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles (IRBMs) in Cuba, but the city certainly was in range of other Soviet assets.
Everyone took it seriously. Our unit director gave us the assignment of evaluating the probable outcomes and we couldn’t do it.
The probabilities depended on too many human factors — and too many real uncertainties. We’d all read Herman Kahn’s Thinking About the Unthinkable (Horizon Press, 1962). After the second day of the crisis, I went home and began filling burlap bags with dirt. We placed them in the basement. We also laid in groceries and filled water containers.
Seattle wasn’t likely to be a primary target — and Green Lake is in the northern part of the city, far from the Boeing plants. But there were naval bases west of us and we were in the fallout pattern. It wasn’t likely that we’d need fallout shelters. But if we did, there wouldn’t be time to fill the dirt bags.
It was a tense time, and it lasted more than week. And after U.S. President Kennedy proclaimed the crisis ended on October 28, we still kept the dirt bags filled for another couple of months. We finally carried them back out to the backyard.