Posted tagged ‘Moon landing’

“Nothing is deader than yesterday’s news.”

August 15, 2019

Today is my sloth day. I have actually been busy, out of the house busy, every day this week. Yesterday was the dump. I was taking a chance as it was a cloudy, damp day, but I planned accordingly and wove around the traffic. I’m good at that. Today is sunny and will be warm. Tonight will get down to the 60’s.

Last night I heard Cat2 meowing from upstairs. Cat1 was with me downstairs so I knew. I called and made that come to me cat sound but it didn’t. When I went upstairs, Cat2 was back under the bed. I cleaned the litter, vacuumed, emptied the bowl and filled both bowls. I sat for a while talking hoping Cat2 would come out. Nope, I was just an old lady talking out loud to no one.

Today marks the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, Day 1. I missed it. I was in Ghana. The years, 1969-1971, were filled with events I missed. Some I knew about, most I didn’t as I had no way to keep up with what was happening at home. I was too busy with Peace Corps training, with adapting to a new culture, learning a new language, meeting all sorts of people both American and Ghanaian, eating foods with strange names and getting sick every now and then. I didn’t know I was missing so much. I knew about the moon landing as I heard it on the radio. For that whole summer, that was all I knew about what was happening. I was homesick at times, mostly early in training. I didn’t care a whole lot about what I was missing as I was so excited to be in Africa, to be learning Hausa and trying, unsuccessfully at times, to eat new foods like kontomire stew and tuo zaafi. I never did get to like kontomire, but I liked t-zed. I ate foods from street vendors, at the time I thought it daring.

The Peace Corps sent us The Week in Review from the NY Times. Sometimes I read it, most times I didn’t. Eventually the paper was sold in the market by Thomas, who worked for me. My rice was often wrapped in the latest news. I always thought that was pretty funny.

“Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.”

August 31, 2014

Last night a cool breeze made the night chilly. My friend Clare was dressed for an Arctic expedition. A sweatshirt was enough for me, and I was still bare-footed. The deck movie was Capricorn One, released in 1977. It was about a Mars landing hoax which got me thinking about the moon landing. I know I’ve mentioned I heard the description of the landing as it was happening but from the radio on VOA during training in Ghana. The Ghanaians also heard it so none of us actually saw the one giant leap for mankind. Many Ghanaians don’t believe it was real. They think it was faked for the radio. Capricorn One would fit right into that theory.

We cancelled Clare’s sled dogs when the breeze disappeared and the night got warmer, but it still felt more like mid-September. I don’t remember the last hot night or when I had to use my air conditioner. This has been a spectacular summer for weather.

When I was a kid, a summer rainstorm was my favorite of all. The rain hitting the pavement caused steam to rise, and the cool rain and the hot pavement together had a distinctive smell, a summer smell. The street gutters were rivers of fast-moving water carrying leaves and paper to the grates over the sewers. Sometimes paper would get caught on the grate and the water would rise. We’d splash through the gutters barefooted and clear the grates so the deepened water would flow like a waterfall into the sewer. It made a roaring sound.

Sometimes when it rains I go on the deck and sit under the umbrella. Above me I can hear the rain tapping as it falls. The leaves glisten with drops of rain. All around is wet, but I stay dry. I love a summer rain.

“The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t.”

February 17, 2013

The snow is heavier than it was a couple of hours ago when I woke up. It was small and light then. Now there is a fury of flakes whipped by the wind. The bird feeders are being tossed to the left and right, and the birds ride with them. The tops of all the pine trees bend one direction then the other. When I went to get the papers, the snow went up over my shoes, but the driveway was clear. I could see the blacktop. The drifts have no pattern. The wind changes all that.

My house is warm. All three animals are with me, and all three of them are asleep. I can hear Gracie’s deep breathing. She is beside me on the couch. Fern is behind me on the back of the couch curled on an afghan, and Maddie is in her chair. We are all perfectly content.

I never believed in monsters when I was a little kid. Nothing was under the bed or in the closet. My imagination led me to places rather than things. I made several trips to the moon. My rocket ships were never like the space capsules of the real astronauts. Mine stood tall, had side fins and were so big inside that the crew could walk around after I turned on the artificial gravity. The kitchen always had coffee.

I wasn’t disappointed by Alan Shepard’s short flight. I was amazed we had sent a man into space, and I figured that was the first of many dress rehearsals before the real rockets would be built, the ones with kitchens. I watched John Glenn’s capsule take off and followed his flight as he orbited the Earth. I was older then and had given up on rocket ships with kitchens.

I never saw the trip to the moon. I was still in Africa, but I was lucky enough to hear bits and pieces about the moon landing on the radio, including real transmissions. It was exciting even without the visual coverage. We were finally on the moon, but I still didn’t know what it looked like. In the imaginings of my childhood I created a stark moonscape filled with craters and rocky hills. I was pretty close.

I was sorry there were no ruins on the moon from cities deserted long ago. I always sort of hoped there would be remnants looking a bit like the Great Wall of China. That would have been the perfect touch: that and a rocket ship with a kitchen.

“It is good to renew one’s wonder, said the philosopher. Space travel has again made children of us all.”

January 19, 2012

Flurries fell a little while ago. They were small and wispy and didn’t last very long. It’s cold again, 29°. Yesterday I did some errands and cleaned the bathrooms; today I’ll do nothing as I’d hate to get into the routine of doing something every day. I will make my bed, shower and brush my teeth, but that’s it! I’m in flannel pants, a sweatshirt and warm slippers. They will be the uniform of the day.

When I was growing up, we imagined. I didn’t have any guns but sticks worked just as well, except for the spinning with your fingers part. I did have to yell, “I got you,” so my victim would know he was shot and could fall dramatically holding his chest. When I’d read, I could see all of the characters in my mind’s eye. I was part of the action. The 50’s science fiction movies now look a bit silly with their crude special effects, but I love them still. The same with monsters. I remember The Thing with Two Heads, one black and one white, and the hand which roamed the old mansion halls and strangled the guests.

Even though I didn’t know the concept I had learned to suspend disbelief. I took the monsters and space aliens at face value. They were, after all, just characters in movies.

I never saw the moon landing, but I did hear it on the radio; however, listening to it didn’t give the historic event a whole lot of impact. I might as well have been listening to The War of the Worlds. There we were huddled around the radio hearing the announcer from Voice of America say Armstrong had jumped off the ladder onto the moon. We heard his historic, “One small step for man…,” but had to imagine it all. It seemed more science fiction than real.

In my mind the moon landing is a black and white movie. The spaceship is huge, and the astronauts can walk upright from one floor to another. The women bring sandwiches and coffee to the hard-working male astronauts. They spend a lot of time looking out the portholes a the Earth gets smaller and the moon bigger. They even land on the moon. Those landings I have seen many times.