Leave it to John Hood to make the obscure “Quonset hut” reference. In citing the curved metallic structures as potential shelters for schoolchildren, he unwittingly has granted me an opportunity to return to a significant memory from my childhood. Come, take my hand, walk with me…

I grew up in North Kingstown, RI, whose boundaries contained Davisville Naval Base and the Quonset Point Naval Air Station, on Narragansett Bay. The military closed both bases when I was in grade school. However, I remember when my grandfather worked at the base. He was chief of the military police, and had fought in World War II in the Pacific. I remember when we would go to visit him, and every day we would pass this sign at the entrance to Davisville:

Davisville was home to the Naval Construction Battalion, or CB’s (Seabees). They put up a lot of those Quonset huts, especially when the Navy swelled its ranks in 1944 at its training station in Newport:

As for Quonset, a young Richard Nixon went through basic officer training there in 1942, at the same time John F. Kennedy and George H.W. Bush were nearby learning about PT Boats and naval aviation, respectively.

If Quonset huts are good enough to house our nation’s finest, then they’re good enough for our schoolchildren!