Monday, July 20, 2009

Memoir Monday ~ Where Were You?

(Thanks to for the images)

Today's topic for Memoir Monday practically writes itself. Forty years ago today, man walked on the moon.

Where were you when Neil and Buzz first stepped on that beautifully desolate landscape?
How old were you?
What are you memories of Apollo 11 and the rest of the American space program?
Did man walking on the moon directly affect your thinking or decisions?
If you are too young to remember the actual event, seize this opportunity to find out where your parents or grandparents were on that day.

At age twelve and already a science fiction devotee, I loved the space program. To me, the Apollo missions gave a strong foundation to my reading. Anything seemed possible. As a family, we watched every mission from lift-off to splash-down. I still get tears in my eyes when I remember the Christmas morning when Apollo 8 looped the moon for the first time. The astronauts read from Genesis about the earth's form. It was a lovely moment.

As I said, I was twelve years old. My mom and dad hosted a gathering of family at our house that day, very much like a holiday event. Grandparents, uncles. The mood was joyful expectation. Food, fun, and anticipation. That day was the first and only time we set up a net across the dining room table and played ping pong. It's funny the things you remember.

My uncle, who is only five years older than I and at that moment, a budding photographer, set up a twin lens reflex camera on the coffee table in front of my parent's console TV. In those days before VCRs and DVRs, he wanted to capture the images on screen to the more permanent medium of film. I remember him saying he had to slow the shutter speed down to 1/30 of a second in order to 'sync' up with the TV. My uncle went on to spend almost thirty years as a photo-journalist.

We all cheered when we heard Neil Armstrong say the Eagle had landed. It was a great time of celebration. Later that evening, well after my normal bedtime, it was just our family around the TV taking in those grainy black and white images of Neil Armstrong stepping out on the moon.

The moon landing, in fact the entire Apollo program, made me think our country could do anything. Even more, it made me believe I could do anything. Education and work were the keys.

As a family who emphasized seizing both educational and travel opportunities, we saw the space program as the ultimate of both. Looking back, I can see my mom thought her children would have the opportunity to travel in space during their lifetimes. Certainly, in her grandchildren's lifetimes. I know that my twelve year old self believed forty years into the future our society would have a few colonies on the moon and would have traveled to Mars.


So...the question begs to be answered...where do you want to 'boldly go?' Where do you need to make a giant leap? Where are your footsteps being left?

Forty years from now, what do you want people remembering about you?

6 Other Creative Souls are Saying:

Being Beth said...

Great memories, Deb. I posted mine last night. I've really enjoyed doing this Memoir Monday stuff. You always come up with good ideas.

Three days until Cracker Barrel. I can hardly wait!

Joanne said...

excellent post. "Boldly go" - I'm afraid I'm more likely to say, "You go first."

"Giant Leap" - sorry I'm stumbling a bit behind.

I do admire those brave scientists and flyboys (and girls) who'll jump into a tin can and light a fire under their butts. Wow!

Anonymous said...

Like so many memories, your mind can play tricks on you -- that Apollo 8 live broadcast was during the evening on Christmas Eve, 1968 -- not Christmas day morning. Or you must have just seen a replay. --Jan

Cheri (aka "The Mom Lady") said...

Dad had a "visiting professors" job with Texaco that summer instead of teaching summer school at Tech, so we spent the week in Midland and came home to Lubbock on the weekends so he could cut the grass and Mom could get the mail. We rented an apartment in Midland and I remember looking outside during the coverage wondering why ANYONE wouldn't be in front of their tv's watching history being made!

DonnaP said...

My family and I were on vacation here in FL. We sat in front of the tv for what seemed like hours. I remember watching by myself after awhile thinking how neat it all was. That probably started my love of astronomy and sci-fi. I later learned that you had to have a lot of math and science to get into astronomy - nether are my strong suites. So I became an armchair astronaut!

Paula said...

Since I was two, I have no memories of the moon landing.

To boldly go? I'm not sure really, but I want to do something that will leave footprints behind.

BTW, I left you a little gift on my Wakefield blog. Your posts always make me think so much.