Tuesday, July 20, 2010

41 Years Ago Today

In my opinion, this is the only event during my lifetime that anyone will remember 1000 years from now. I feel sincerely privileged to have been alive to witness it and old enough to remember it. It still gives me chills.


Mike said...

I watched it in Peoria, at my roommate's parents house, with my girlfriend. We left Creamcheese back in South Bend.

Sherwood Harrington said...

I watched it in Berkeley, in the apartment of a fellow astronomy grad student, along with a small group of friends. (The TV was a marvel -- COLOR! It was a Heathkit monster that had taken my friend a couple of months to put together.)

The landing occurred during a several-day observing run that another grad student and I had at Lick Observatory, monitoring the brightness of Sco X-1 using a photon counter attached to the old Crossley reflector. The job really only required one person to do, so -- since he had no interest in the event (really, he didn't -- the guy was, and is, a very odd man) -- I left him there and drove like a madman down the mountain, up the partially-built highway 680, and through the tunnel to Berkeley in order to be sitting in front of the TV when the moment arrived.

The next afternoon, I drove at a more leisurely pace back up Mt. Hamilton, and that evening continued counting photons on paper punch-tape. Sco X-1 had continued on as though nothing had happened, and so had my observing partner.

ronnie said...

It's my earliest memory. (I was 4.) All I remember was seeing the moon dust blow up from the surface as the LEM touched down in glorious black and white on the old tee vee.

We marked the occasion this year by watching "In the Shadow of the Moon", another excellent Ron Howard production about those heady days.

My favourite astronaut is Jim Lovell. Husband's is Harrison Schmidt. Do normal people even *have* favourite astronauts?

Sherwood Harrington said...

ronnie, that's the best earliest memory I can possibly imagine. When you're 90 and telling the story to little kids (and I'm pretty sure that will actually happen), they will be agog. WHY they will be agog is where the suspense lies. Will it be, "Wow, she almost remembers a time before people were ever on the Moon," or "Wow, people were on the Moon once -- really?"?

At any rate, it beats hell out of my earliest memory in the entertainment department: the plate of beans and hot dog pieces in front of me when my mom told me we were moving from our apartment to our very own house. Yep, the visual is vivid and sharp: beans at 12:00 on the plate, frank pieces at about 4:00, and a splash of red (probably ketchup) at 8:00.

A great punchline here would be: "I'd remember more, but I was only 16." Like you, though, I was four.