Love in a Fallout Shelter: Falling in love when you’re underground

As the saying goes, love is blind and the term “love at first sight” can be a very real thing. People fall in love everywhere, at any time, and sometimes with someone they just met.

This can even happen in your local public Fallout Shelter.

In May 1964, a civil defense exercise was held at Quincy High School, and student volunteers spent 24 hours in the school’s Fallout Shelter.

This excerpt from the 1964 Quincy High School yearbook “Goldenrod” shows the front of QHS, with two Fallout Shelter signs to the sides of the entrance doors.

During the exercise, Diane Sutherland, a QHS senior who was taking part in the exercise, met Tom Bryant, a local civil defense volunteer who had graduated 2 years prior from North Quincy High School.

In her first meeting with Tom, Diane said “I couldn’t get my cot together, and Tom came over to help me. After that, we spent the night playing Crazy Eights and other games. At the end of the exercise, Tom said to me ‘I love you and I’m going to marry you.’ I told him he was crazy, but if he was serious, to come back to me with $5,000 in the bank and a ring.”

It turns out Tom wasn’t crazy but very serious. In February 1965, he came to Diane with an engagement ring and had $5,000 in the bank, just as she asked.

And a life together was born.

Tom and Diane married and had two children, Mark and Lisa, and lived a comfortable life together for 58 years until Tom’s unexpected passing in January 2022.

Although Tom is gone, his legacy lives on in his family, and during a recent celebration of his life, both his civil defense volunteer certificate and a Fallout Shelter sign were displayed to commemorate where it all began for these two: underground and in love.

© 2022 Fallout Five Zero

Special thanks to Diane Bryant for sharing their story and letting us tell it on FFZ. Special thanks to Tom Bryant for being a volunteer and friend to the civil defense program and may you Rest in Peace.

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