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16 July 2009 @ 10:52 am
The Far Call: 40 Years Ago Today  
It was a Wednesday. I was 5.

This was the fourth fifth time I'd watched one of those impossibly immense Saturn Vs lift off from Cape Kennedy. My mother insisted on watching every televised moment she could of those flights, and I was right there beside her, as much as I could. During 9 and 10, the school was dutifully notified that I was staying home, sick; I suspect that "Moon Flu" was a common strain in 1969.

I remember -- or I think I remember -- Walter Cronkite's deep, reassuring voice; I've heard it so many times since that I can't really be sure if I remember it from the broadcast, or from the LP record that CBS released and I played regularly through the '70s. I do remember, vividly, the NASA animations that played over his descriptions of the various stages of the launch and the space flight, precise and technically detailed cut-outs that would nonetheless seem crude by today's standards.

I remember the official NASA release images my father, a newspaperman, brought home, the flimsy thermal paper just off the facsimile machine, already browning. Somewhere, I may still have a notebook full of them, mostly from Apollo 13's ill-fated flight; they were in my possession as recently as my days at Cal State Monterey Bay.

I remember the excitement, the tension. I knew, even at the age of 5, that I was witnessing the single most important event of the century, the single most important event of human history.

Forty years ago today, three men leapt off the edge of the world into the Black.

I was watching.

I feel: nostalgicnostalgic
Pyatpyat on July 16th, 2009 08:04 pm (UTC)
I didn't know your dad was a newspaperfellow.

And thank you for sharing. :)
Your Obedient Serpent: ewd3athelind on July 16th, 2009 08:26 pm (UTC)
Dad and grandfather both. Granddad owned the Inglewood Daily News, a small paper in one of Los Angeles's innumerable sub-cities; Dad expanded it into a little chain of local weeklies across L.A.

If Dad hadn't sold the business when I was in high school, I probably would have gone into the field myself.

(Considering our *ahem* divergent political viewpoints, that would have been... amusing.)

Edited at 2009-07-16 08:28 pm (UTC)
ebony14 on July 16th, 2009 10:59 pm (UTC)
From a editorial point of view, it probably would've been pretty convenient, with op-ed pieces on both sides of the fence easily available from staff members (assuming you went to work for the family business). Convincing your father of the potential would've been the hard part, I'd imagine, to say nothing of the dinner-table conversations.
(Deleted comment)
Your Obedient Serpent: cronkiteathelind on July 17th, 2009 05:05 am (UTC)
Not according to Wikipedia.

It's been almost thirty years since we owned the paper, and I have no idea how many times it changed hands after the original sale -- or even if it survived what my father always growled was massive incompetence on the parts of the first buyers.

Heck, I think that by the time he sold the chain, the Inglewood News had shifted to a weekly.
Terraluna the Fruit Bat: HeadShotterraluna_bat on July 16th, 2009 09:31 pm (UTC)
I also remember that time in history. I was bunched together with a whole mess of rug rats in my kindergarten school. Watching the landing and the first step on the moon. We were all bunched together in front of this monolith sized black and white TV, with aluminum foil running from the rabbit eared antenna to pretty much the length of the room, tack to the wall.

Very Cool. :)