I was thirteen when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the surface of the moon. It was a Sunday, and at the time Mom was a real estate agent. Sundays were Open House day and dragging us along to her open houses was pretty much standard operating procedure. But on that particular Sunday, we thought it would be different. Surely, we were going to stay home, right?
Not so much.
For reasons that escaped me at the time, and puzzle me even now, Mom loaded my brother and me into our VW bug and headed out to a vacant tract home in the middle of a Kaneohe subdivision. I guess somehow she thought that someone, after witnessing the most incredible and historic event of our lives, was then going to think, “Well, that was interesting, but it’s time to go house-hunting!”
Nevertheless, Mom did make one concession to the historicity of the day. For the first (and only) time, she hauled our portable black and white television to the open house, plunked it in the middle of the furniture-less living room and let us watch.
My brother and I lay flat on our stomachs to watch the grainy footage. We were enthralled.
I was too young to remember John F. Kennedy’s famous “let’s go to the moon” speech, but at thirteen I was old enough to know that we had done something amazing.
And my brother? Total space geek.
Yes, that is a Rocket Ship with a Man on the Moon birthday cake. Later, my brother built a 5-foot tall model of the Saturn V rocket which was prominently displayed alongside the color TV in our living room for many months. That is, until he thought it would be a good idea to try to launch it.
And we still love space. Now I’m married to a guy who is a NASA nerd. We’ve got the NASA channel and Sweetie follows every mission. In 2010 Sweetie and I made our pilgrimage to Mecca, commonly known as Kennedy Space Center, or if you prefer, Disneyland for Geeks.
Let’s keep it going. Let’s make sure other kids get to share in that same sense of wonder.
Manned missions to Mars? Oh yeah, baby!