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December 11, 2012

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W. Robert Smith, III

I live in Miami Shores,Fla, an historic area about 7 miles North of Downtown Miami. I bought my wonderful 1951 mid-century modern ranch home there in 1995. In the living room was a beautiful fireplace but it had been sealed up with concrete at one time. I could never understand why anyone would have done such a thing to this fine fireplace (they do still come in handy on chilly tropical Winter nights!) As I began poking around up the flue, I pulled out some yellowed, wadded newspapers. They were The Miami Herald from about October 18, 1962, the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, for which we just observed the 50th anniversary…..My guess is that Mrs Sexton who had sold me the house had the fireplace sealed so that in the event of a nuclear disaster, the fallout would not enter the house through the chimney! In a town where people were building backyard bomb shelters willy-nilly all over town, I can see this having happened!

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