Monday, July 20, 2009

July 20, 1969

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?

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jennifer said...

Isn't it amazing to think back to those few "time stopped" moments that we'll always remember. You and I were a little young when JFK was assassinated, but I remember where I was then also (mainly because I remember how affected my parents were).
Anyway, the day of the Lunar Landing, my family got together with another family - good friends of my parents who had 2 boys the same age as my brother and me; our 2 families did lots of things together as we were growing up. We went over to their house and piled into their TV room and watched on their BIG SCREEN TV (that their dad and boys had built themselves from a kit!) and the 8 of us crowded around on couch and floor, and just watched in silence. Awesome.

Jen said...

I was in a large open space that our camp used for a theater, meeting room, dance hall, etc.

Our entire camp was there, watching a tiny screen with rabbit ears.

I was completely awestruck, as my great love at that time was astronomy, and I'd spent the previous year taking after school classes at the Hayden Planetarium.

Goofball said...

Well I was obviously not born yet.

But when I was 12 my parents made me watch the news broadcasts the days that the DDR was forced to open the border, people were climbing on the wall in Berlin and finally started to demolish it.
"Watch" they said "and never forget...this is history"

Carol said...

Goofball -- I'll never forget that day, either... not only because the Wall came down, but because I birthed Aleks and Kat! In fact, the radio was on during my C-Section because everyone wanted to hear the events as they unfolded. It's pretty cool!

My next goal is to get Aleks and Kat to Berlin -- where their birth date is plastered on all the touristy mugs and t-shirts!


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