Monday, July 20, 2009

"I can't imagine what you'll see in your lifetime"

July 20, 1969
<-- Buzz Aldrin, the 1st Freemason on the moon.
Neil Armstrong is visible in reflection on Bro. Aldrin's face shield.

Forty years ago today I was living in Hyannis, Mass in the loft over my grandmother's carriage house with a cousin or two.

The days news had been a godsend for Ted Kennedy, who two days earlier had drowned Mary Jo Kopechne only a few miles away on the Vineyard.
The moon landing had knocked the Kennedy story back several pages and well off the front page of every paper in the region.

Grandmother had made sure I was home to watch the live from the moon broadcast with her, and we sat glued to the television.

My grandfather had passed in May and my cousins and I did our best to be attentive to our grandmother; (who we adored) as possible.
Showing up on command wasn't a problem for any of us; but I was the only one working a split-shift and there for the landing itself.

There we sat, a just-out-of-high-school kid and his 1880's vintage grandmother; along with millions of others across the globe - amazed as we watched the grainy black and white video "live from the moon", when she reached over, patted my not quite 18 year old left knee and said:

"I remember when we got electricity, my father's first car, and when he signed up for telephone service.
(Her father's business almost 70 years earlier had received phone number "5")
I remember the Wright Brothers and what big news that was.
But this...."
she paused reflecting for a moment.
"....this; I can't imagine what wonders you'll see in your lifetime."

Often those words still ring in my ears as I chat live with my son in Korea on the computer with some free IM (instant messaging) software and a color TV camera (with a built in microphone) that cost under 40 dollars.

I recall quoting her sentiments from that day to my father 16 or 17 years later in the late winter of 85-86 as I made my first phone call from a car as I drove home along the Merritt Parkway.

Today, forty years later I recall those first steps on the moon; and the insightful words of my grandmother that have proven true.

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