Goldie: Buddhist, Jew, Jesus Freak

'For the rest of my life, everything I do has to be with good intentions.'

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I was in sixth grade and we were going to see a film. And we thought it was going to be how they grow corn in Iowa. The lights went out, and this old 16 mm film came on and there was a big clock. And the clock counted down from 9-8-7-6-5-4 and so on and when it hit zero, there was this incredible explosion and the clock broke and shifted back and forth and then this panning of human pain, destruction, injury, fear, screaming, children, mothers losing their children. It was staged--but for a 12-year-old mind, it was a realization that you were not on stable ground, that life was tenuous and because of the Cold War which we were hearing about, it said, this is what will happen if there is an enemy attack. I was a sensitive child, so I responded to it in a way that raised my heart rate, created an unbelievable sense of destabilization. I felt tremendous fear. I wanted to throw up, and I was shaking visibly. Children in this movie were ducking under desks and watching windows being blown out and lights flashing and people were saying, "Do not look to the light" and "Cover your head."

My reality shifted completely. I realized that life at that moment had changed for me in a very negative way; I asked the teacher if I could go home for lunch so I ran home and said, "Mommy, we're all going to die. We're going to be killed in an enemy attack." She tried to appeal to my level of analysis, and said, "Now here's Russia and here we are and you realize that what's stopping this war and why it would never happen is because these two people do not want to annihilate each other. Because our bombs actually are faster and better than theirs, so if in fact they do press something, and we press something, everybody's going to die and nobody wants to die and these people aren't going to do this."


Listen   Goldie on her fear of dying
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Interview by Deborah Caldwell
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