Saturday, 20 July 2019

50 Years On


This fifty-year-old newspaper hangs on the wall in my office, a reminder of where I was on that memorable weekend.


For me, the weekend was notable as a family history event as well as the moon landing.

I'd driven south from Montreal, where I was studying at McGill. It was my one and only visit with my first cousin twice removed, Sidney Cohen who had a summer home near Peekskill, New York.

He was eight years younger and much more robust than my grandfather, his cousin. Soon after I arrived we went swimming in a nearby lake. Just as Apollo 11 was guided by a computer no more powerful than today's smartphones, a box-like protrusion under the skin on his chest marked the presence of an early implanted pacemaker.

I have the vaguest memories of the other relatives I met. They must have included his wife Rosalind, likely their two daughters and their families.

After a good steak dinner, we stayed up late into the evening to watch the events televised from the moon.

My return journey on the east side of Lake Champlain took me through Rutland, Vermont where I picked up the newspaper.

Sidney died in New York a year later, only 3 months older than I am today.

What do you remember about that weekend?





3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this story. Memorable time. I was living in Manor Park for the summer, as I had a student government job. MAS

Barbara T. said...

I was at family camp and hating every minute of it. My mother was the one interested in space. Her interest is shown by her diary entries about the Apollo mission from lift-off on July 16th to splash-down on the 24th. My recollection is she and other adults went someplace to watch the walk on TV while I babysat for parents with younger children. However, her diary reveals that she stayed behind to babysit! I can't believe she missed an historic milestone of such interest to her. Could someone else not have babysat?

Anonymous said...

I had just graduated from college and was spending the summer. working for a NY City law firm as a clerk before heading off to law school in September. The moon landing took place on a Sunday when everything was closed, giving everyone the opportunity to watch and listen with Walter Cronkite as the Eagle touched down on the lunar surface, but the astronauts weren’t going to climb out of the cockpit and actually set foot on the moon until the next day, Monday, which was a working day. People were lobbying to havve the day declared an official one-time, one-day “Moon-day” holiday and many businesses decided to voluntarily give their employees the day off to watch the broadcasts as events unfolded live. The law firm where I was working couldn’t do this because the courts had decided to stick to their calendars, and the firm needed staff toconduct business as usual. The best they could do was allow 1/2 the employees to take “Moon-day” off, and give the rest an extra day off to turn their Thanksgivibg Day holiday into a 4 day weekend. Even so, competition to get on the “Moon-day” list was fierce enough they had to reort to drawing straws to sort it out.

All except me. Since I was a summer employee who wouldn’t be around come Thanksgiving, I was the lucky person at the top of the list of those awarded one of the coveted “Moond-day” spots and sat glued to the TV watching every single minute of the live coverage, then sitting through all the rreplays during the evening replays alongside my Dad.