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.