In the past ten days or so, I have listened to Bill Bair on radiation testing at Hanford, have listened to people who lived here pre-1943 and whose farms were taken by the AEC, and have listened to read Kathleen Flenniken’s poems. Bill Bair was one of THE early and still renowned researchers on the effects of radiation on flesh. It wasn’t human flesh, or at least, not on purpose, but many pigs and dogs and rats and fish lived and died so that scientists could set the allowable rates for exposure to radiation.
The Hanford History Project focused this summer on people who were here pre-1943, not all of whom owned and worked the land, but all of whom saw “The Project” develop. The bonds that were formed at that time, in that situation, are stronger than some of us can imagine. At the risk of sounding totally ignorant, they may be like the bonds developed in combat. Opinions, anyone?
Kathleen (Dillon) Flenniken was raised here and (praise be) turned away from engineering to poetry. She is one of three “children,” stair-stepped in the way so many families were, and her poems are filled with her understanding of the science of Handford, her musings on the after-affects of cooking up plutonium, and her memories of growing up here. PLUME is strong medicine. I read it in one sitting and am not sure I would recommend that.
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