Thanks for all you did, Neil, but I actually preferred the place before it attracted visitors

July 20th, 1969 was, for me, a charged day for a couple of reasons.

The primary one was that it was the 6th anniversary of my first date with the nice lady who became my first wife. We’d been married for two years at that point and we were living in a ‘quaint’ but rather down-at-the-heels cottage on the beach. Life was good back then.

The other memorable aspect of that day was a guy walked on the moon. That was notable, too. But the other was more personal and selfish sod that I am; it was more significant to me.

Actually, I was surprised to learn that Neil – “one small step for man” – Armstrong was 82-years-old at the time of his passing the other day. Somehow, notables from history stay stuck in the mind at the age when they did become notable. In his case, on that day, he took a stroll in a place all the rest of us had only seen from afar. Indeed, a place that all the rest of us will likely only see from afar. I like that because I only want to see it from afar.

I’m a romantic about the moon. You know Moon: spoon: June: Croon etc., not to mention The Man in the Moon, and you can see him. You know you can and you have. I always like the image from that old silent film of the moon with the rocket stuck in its eye.

Neil Armstrong, unwittingly killed a lot of the romance – for me at least. But I’m an incurable romantic. I like mystery. I like flights-of-fancy more than lunar flights that are real.

It was a hot July day that 20th day. We were mostly on the beach, swimming, sunbathing. I was a teacher then, as was my wife so we were both on our – envied by virtually all other callings – on our two month respite from toil.

It was a lovely summer. The fish were running and were so plentiful that I could ask Carol (the wifely person) if she wanted barbecued salmon for dinner. If she replied in the affirmative, I’d take out the little boat and return with a fish within a half hour. This is no exaggeration. Good times.

But, we were the only house on that little stretch of beach that had a TV. The rest were strictly summer joints and nobody else, in those days, bothered getting one. Our place was our permanent residence so we were hooked up with our little black-and-white Sear’s special.

People started milling around. They knew the moon thing was happening and they were avid to see it happen. I’d actually forgotten it was happening. So, our little living room filled with I cannot remember how many people, but there were grownups and kids and Mollie, the neighbors’ lovely old golden retriever and all were transfixed by what was taking place. All except Mollie, who only regarded the moon as being something to bay at periodically. She had the right attitude.

I do remember being slightly pissed at the prominence of the US flag in the shots and thought, “It’s not their moon, damn it, it’s everybody’s moon.” But then, I realized that they had bankrolled the trip so I guess they had a right.

I watched the events in snatches during the time. I knew I should be more transfixed, but somehow I wasn’t getting there.

Still haven’t gotten there.

But RIP, Neil, regardless.

And RIP Mollie, too. You were such a lovely dog. When the summer days got really hot you would wade out and just sit in the water. I could almost hear you saying “Ahhhh!” when you did.


6 responses to “Thanks for all you did, Neil, but I actually preferred the place before it attracted visitors

  1. I can remember being worried for the men concerned if it went wrong….but I could not see why one should want to go to the moon, tram all over it and come away with bugger all that was useful.
    Wait a few years and send a robot.

  2. Armstrong is dead? Well hell. I remember my dad made a sort of carboard tunnel to the television so he could take pictures of the TV screen with no glare. I mean seriously, WTF?!

  3. 5 years before I was born, but I understand the memories that go behind all history’s events and where we were at which time. Amazing.

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