Our family had been camping at the American River in the California Sierra Mountains and we were driving back home to Berkeley. The car radio was playing far louder than Dad ever allowed us to play it, and our normally loud and rambunctious family was stone-silent, listening intently as Walter Cronkite (who came so close to living this anniversary with us!) announced every detail of the impending lunar moon walk.
We were in the middle of nowhere, driving along a deserted California highway and I was hyper-focused on the radio, trying my best to imagine what I was hearing. Neil Armstrong was just about to walk on the moon! I could barely imagine it – but I had no choice, as radio was all we had.
Suddenly Dad exited the highway, drove a few miles along a frontage road, and parked in front of what looked like a (dive) bar! Yeah, a drinking bar!
“We need to SEE this!” he exclaimed. “Everyone out!”
We all piled out of the car and followed Dad and Mom into the bar – which was completely empty, except for a lone bartender… watching TV! Dad explained that he wanted his kids to have the opportunity to see history in the making and asked if we could have a seat in the bar and watch the lunar moon walk there.
The bartender made my three brothers and I fancy-looking soda drinks with stick-speared cherries laying diagonally across the frosty glasses and I felt oh, so grown up!
As great as the moon walk was, I remember thinking that the real, more personal history in my young 12-year-old life was the fact that I’d just been in a BAR for the first time!
Where were you?