I don't remember feeling scared, really. Just fascinated. When the skies cleared we had a few inches of ash on the ground, like gritty, gray snow. We scooped some up in jelly jars and pill bottles to save for posterity. Plows and snow shovels came out of storage to deal with the rest.
I wish I'd been older. I wish I could remember more. The significance of such a major event sailed right over my little head. One of my most vivid memories involves the paper masks we wore to protect our lungs. Volunteers at school painted clown faces and puppies and kitties on the masks so we'd be more inclined to wear them.
I've always wanted to frame this event as a story, somehow. Funny how the random things that happen in childhood provide fuel for our grown-up imaginations.
Photos from fas.org and US geological survey, respectively. Couldn't find a single photo of those silly masks, though.