Monday, July 20, 2009

Relativity

When man first walked on the moon I was not impressed. As a kid, the moon held no particular fascination for me; men had been in space and rockets and orbiting something or other since as far back as I could remember. Walking on the moon seemed a logical next step.

The only things that really stuck in my mind were earlier stories about the dogs who died while in orbit, and failed attempts by the Russians resulting in dead people floating around out there.

Still, I recall my whole family in front of the television watching the event. And the next day the news kept repeating the one small/giant step line as the first words from the moon. I knew that was false. The first words had something to do with walking on cotton or marshmallows. I couldn't recall the exact words because my sister and I had been locked in a deadly game of Scrabble at the time.

20 comments:

  1. Obviously you were the winner of that deadly game of Scrabble, relatively speaking.

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  2. Maybe relatively with her sis ...

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  3. That particular day in history I had the shits with the male teacher on the other Year 4. It was a cold wet blustery day down here as July is wont ... and we had organised to go on an excursion to look at the effects of wind and weather on the shoreline at Knobbys Head in Newcastle. He and his 30+ 9 year olds in one bus and me and my 30+ 9 year olds in another bus. He was a born-agin ... no teles no radio ... not nuttin ... I was spewing ...

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  4. I hadn't realized scrabble was a full body contact game.

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  5. On my side of the Cold War the whole thing was downplayed a lot.

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  6. I hate to admit it, but I was similarly unimpressed by the whole thing. I can remember my mother ironing and watching everything on TV while I made a fort with the couch cushions.

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  7. Yes, as a kid my head was filled with those horror stories of Russian astronauts (I doubt if I called them cosmonauts (which sounds like someone who drank too many cosmopolitians in the 90's)) who were trapped in their broken spaceships clawing desperately at their windows as their oxygen supply slowly dwindled and the earth slowly receded into the vast blackness of my overheated imagination.

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  8. Really? shortly after 9/11 I was out to dinner with a group of folks a decade or more older then me. We were discussing those moments in history having the greatest impact on us. They brought up the assassination of Kennedy and I brought up the moon.

    I want to hear more from Vanda... (interesting she says scratching her chin)

    That day I spent at Helen Hinkle's house playing on her in-ground trampoline

    wv: Neil Armstrong is God

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  9. Interesting to hear your stories. K, I just remembered that I thought a cosmonaut was female for astronaut, so actually I pictured a lot of dead communist women floating around in space.

    At least, like PA, at zero hour we all remembered where we were, what we were doing.

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  10. one giant leap for man swine!

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  11. Kennedy
    Massacre at '72 Munich Olympics
    Resignation of Nixon
    Tien-a-men
    Fall of Berlin Wall
    Death of Diana
    9/11

    All seminal moments in my aged and fevered imagination ...

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  12. Ok Julie. I think these are only fair if we say the ones that come immediately to mind. So:

    Iran hostage-taking
    Sadat assasination
    Fall of Berlin Wall
    9/11

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  13. I tried playing this memory game, and the first three things I remembered were assassinations.

    I can't help with the first walk on the moon. I was on some kind of trip to, I think, Marineland, at the time. So I associate that historic date with my first visit to McDonald's, on the way home.

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  14. Have you seen the gallery of space dog portraits at the Museum of Jurassic Techonology?

    No, really.

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  15. ‘Member when? I remember where I was when:
    . . . We heard that President Franklin Deleon Roosevelt died. I was 9 years old. I remember people from the projects where we lived, out on the streets, wandering, muttering. Later in the evening, near dark, someone lined all the garbage cans from our apartment complex, one the top of an incline that opened into a parking area behind our apartment. One man stood in front, holding them all in place, then backed away and they all rolled down.
    Jack Kennedy was assassinated
    . . . I was in graduate school at San Francisco State University (then College). We were in the midst of rehearsing the Lacrimosa from Verdi’s Requiem . A performance was scheduled for the next week. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UENK70U6Lk. Someone came into the auditorium an announced the assassination. The director paused, acknowledged, and continued the rehearsal. I climbed down the back of the bleachers and walked outside. A black woman passing me by looked and said, “They killed my president. Isn’t that sad?” It was a typical overcast San Francisco Day.

    Dr. King assassination

    . . . I was driving across the Richmond Bridge going to a rehearsal of Lillian Hellman’s Toys in the Attic. Appropriately, for that time I was the Negro chauffer and lover of Albertine, one of the secondary members of plot. This was a huge theatrical statement for the day. It was, also, still appropriate to be called a Negro. When I stopped at the toll gate, the attendant asked, “Why aren’t your headlights on?” I informed him it was early evening. He informed me that Martin Luther King had been assassinated. There were many of us, at that time, that believed he would not long survive, and we were waiting for the hammer to drop. I continued, past San Quentin Prison, around the curves ant arrived at the theater. All the cast and crew were sitting in a circle waiting for me. Apparently they have arrived early. They were quiet, somber. The director, in that singsong, empathetic, social worker voice with a melodic curve of an approximate minor third said, “I know how your must feel. If you would like for us to cancel this rehearsal, we would understand.” I asked her, “Doesn’t mean anything to you that he is dead?” I probably did a major third. I don’t remember her response. But I said, “Let’s work.” I don’t know what I contributed to the rehearsal that evening, but there must have been some subtext.

    Walk on the Moon
    . . . Sitting at home with the wife watching.

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  16. Not to on-up, but I remember the parting of the Red Sea.

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  17. Times like these, I rue my sketchy early childhood memories. I can't even say for sure that we had a TV. But chances are, I'd have paid more attention if there was talk of walking on marshmallows.

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  18. I remember where I was when Kennedy and King died, precisely. When they walked on the moon my parents had moved us to South Dakota, which is a lot like walking on the moon, and I remember my father hitting the kitchen table with his fist when he saw them step onto the surface. It seemed unremarkable to me. The Russians were very exotic in comparison. I think that was the beginning of technological wonders becoming the norm. It's more meaningful looking back on it.

    wv verind

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  19. I was five and awestruck by the moon landing. I drew a picture of astronauts, got teary-eyed, was scared they wouldn't come back, went to sleep thinking I would join NASA when I grew up.

    Other vivid moments in history: The Olympic hostages -- it was huge at my house since my father was a former Olympic coach And when John Lennon was shot. That really hit me hard. Of course, 9/11.
    But the moon landing still stands out as a moment of promise in my youth. On a birthday dinner at the Polo Lounge a few years ago I saw Buzz Aldrin at a table next to me and I got all goofy/fan-girlish over it.

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  20. OK. Michael Jackson. How come nobody talks about Michael Jackson?

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