Monday, July 20, 2009

Walking on the Moon

Walk on the Moon
Originally uploaded by outtacontext
Forty years ago I was in Annaheim, I was 8 years old and with my father staying at the Space Age Lodgel (thank you Internets, here's the brochure!). We would spend the day in Disneyland, leave, go out for dinner and then watch TV in the room. On July 20th, I was watching one of my all time favorite movies, "The Mysterious Island". The original book by Jules Verne was the sequel to "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" and is chock full of fabulous Ray Harryhausen stop-action monsters!

But, I interrupted the movie (on some SoCal UHF channel) to flip over to the networks to watch the Moon Landing.

I was a child of the Manned Space Program, born at the same time as JFK's boast of putting a man on the Moon by the end of the decade. I had the special edition GI Joe John Glenn edition with a Mercury capsule, space suit, and flexible recording (remember those floppy records you'd get with various products?) of the Mission Control / Friendship 7 chatter. I saw "2001: A Space Odyssey" eight times in the theatre, so many times my mother finally just gave me money and sent me off by myself! I memorized "Star Trek"episodes.

I had on my bedroom wall a chart showing the planned journey from the Earth to the Moon. I built a plastic model of the Saturn rocket. I was a space kid!

But back to 1969 and the Space Age Lodge. The TV was black and white (though we actually had color at home), the reception was fuzzy, but there it was. The Eagle had landed on the Moon and Neil Armstrong was walking around. Amazing! I'd waited my whole life to see it (well, it wasn't that long, but it really was my whole life!).

I continued to follow the Space Program. I watched the rest of the landings, the moon rover, golfing on the Moon, the Apollo-Soyuz mission. Sky Lab. The Space Shuttle ...

But as I grew older, the enormity of Space began to weigh on me. There Moon and Mars were probably it for humans. The rest a vast realm suitable only for sensing instruments. I never saw "Star Wars" (the original or any of the sequels/prequels! - I wonder if I'm the only person on the planet who never saw them!).

So now, forty years later, I look back at the Moon landing with mixed feelings. It was a time for me of great expanses of tomorrow ... but mixed with the nostalgia of things that were never to be.

Thanks to @outtacontext for saving his LA Times!

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