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One Small Step For An 8 Year Old Boy

Saturday, July 20, 2019

My most vivid news recollections of my childhood surrounded the achievements of NASA, almost without exception. My earliest recollection of anything in the news was the first-ever rendezvous by two manned spaceships: Gemini 6 and Gemini 7. I was not quite 5 years old and hooked, totally.

By the time the Apollo missions rolled around, I was in elementary school and voraciously reading and watching everything about them I could find. (For my age, I was an expert on lunar module design considerations, the relationships of thrust to weight, planetary physics and the like. I even understood the food that the astronauts ate (see, it's a Sparky blog). I did not know the terms "geek" and "nerd" but the shoe fit quite well.

So then it was Apollo 11. Fifty years ago tonight I achieved a feat more improbable than NASAs: I convinced my parents to let me stay up to watch it. For those old enough to remember, Neil Armstrong walked on the moon sometime between 10P and 11P, Eastern Daylight Time. A full day in the sun and at the pool were weighing on my 8-year-old eyelids mightily, but I knew a historical event when I saw one.

Seeing Walter Cronkite take off his glasses (the sure sign of something momentous), rub his hands together, and say "Boy. Oh boy!" is indelible to this day.

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    Oh I remember us all being allowed to stay up late (a school night!) to see the Lunar Landing! Same age as you. My family and two other families with kids all gathered at the one family’s home to eat dinner and hang out and watch it on their color tv. It wasn’t captioned, of course, so everyone was “hush” “I’ll tell you later!” all during the telecast. But I remember Walter Cronkite taking off his glasses! (I was too young when JFK was assassinated. Don’t really remember that and pretty sure we didn’t have tv - think my parents were shopping and heard it on the radio.).

    We were living in Rockledge FL at the time of the various launches and I remember our school had TV’s set up in the recess area and all classes were dismissed to go outside to watch for when the rocket lifted up into the sky, just about 5-8 miles away from our school.

    But the launch to take the lunar module to the moon - that was nuts! There was a piece of land not very far north of where we lived, where there was rows and rows of VW Bugs, Busses, and Beetles. I remember it was like a Volkswagen SIG or convention or some such - not nearly new enough VW’s to be like a car lot (well, used car lot, for sure!). There were cars parked on the bridge of the old Bennett Causeway (it has a new name now, think it was rebuilt like 15 years ago.). Cars everywhere! But no fights! People were patient and civilized and all of us so excited!
    182 days ago
  • PICKIE98
    I remember the very first rocket to go up, Chuck Yeager's land speed record ride in the desert!
    213 days ago
    I remember that day very clearly as well. I was 14 going on 15, and recuperating from pneumonia. And it looked like so much fun to bounce-walk on the moon!!!!!
    214 days ago
    I was only 3 when we landed on the moon, so no memories there. But I do remember Tang!
    214 days ago
    I remember Walter taking his glasses off. I also remember him taking his glasses off with tears in his eyes, when JFK was assassinated.
    214 days ago
    We didn't have to stay up late in Mountain Standard time! Lots of people came over to our house because we had one of the only color TV sets in the neighborhood. Yes, I remember Walter taking off his glasses.
    214 days ago
    Yes! I remember Walter removing his glasses with that event and when JFK was assassinated.

    Definitely a memory etched in my brain as well and a proud accomplishment for the USA.
    214 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    I remember that event almost as clearly as if it happened yesterday. Perhaps this memory is sharpened due to watching the PBS special '8 days to the moon & back'.

    In the mid-1970's a high-school friend was one of a few female engineers at NASA in Houston. I got several behind-the-scene tours, including getting to sit in the mock simulator with the designer explaining everything to me which was way over my head. This introvert got even quieter as he talked and later he blasted my friend for wasting his time with me! Those were heady times for sure.

    The 2013 book :The Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story" by Lily Koppel gave me another enjoyable perspective.
    214 days ago
    cool memory
    214 days ago
  • no profile photo ROSSYFLOSSY
    So very cool! 👍👍👍
    214 days ago
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