Forget Paris — after Melvin and Maria Mininson tied the knot on on July 12, 1959, they slipped into a cozy, 12-foot deep, 6-by-14-foot wide fallout shelter. There they spent a two-week honeymoon fielding calls from the media and trying to figure out how to open all those cans.
MetaFilter points us to a handful of resources about the Mininsons' unusual honeymoon, including a brief blurb about them in LIFE Magazine. As their nuptials approached, the Mininsons decided to enter a radio contest sponsored by Bomb Shelters, Inc., makers of fine concrete security blankets. They were selected to be the faces of underground dwelling and immediately after their reception, the stepped into a freshly minted shelter.
The shelter was a little too fresh, actually. In the rush to get the shelter ready for the big day, the company didn't give the concrete time to cool properly, leaving the couple to swelter in 90-degree heat between cooling Noxzema sponge baths. And if they went a bit mad during their stay, it wasn't from living together in such close quarters; it was from fielding constant phone calls from worried friends and family and from the press — who wouldn't stop asking the Mininsons about their subterranean sex life.
There were other technical difficulties as well. While talking to Civil Defense Administrator Coleman Wages, Melvin complained that the can opener had broken; he attempted to open cans with a pair of scissors and promptly cut his hand, adding, "So the first aid kit is essential." An endnote says, "The can opener (a wall type) would not work because Mr. Mininson was holding the can at an angle.
The Mininsons emerged from the shelter little the worse for wear, however, and decades later were still very happily married. When asked about her experience, Maria was surprised that people were still interested in the bomb shelter honeymoon, but understood the fuss at the time. Regardless of whether the shelter would have actually protected them in the events of a nuclear blast, she felt that they were giving other folks a sense of safety and security during an uncertain time.
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