One small step and thirty years later.

Back then we still had a black and white television at home. I think that more than twenty years would transpire until I'd own one in color. But that hardly detracted from the wonder, the magic, of the occasion. It was a Sunday (I remember, but a reminder doesn't hurt), and both my father and I were at home. I don't know whether either of us would have stayed at home to watch had it not been a Sunday, though I choose to think that I wouldn't have foregone the opportunity to watch. (And as is to be expected, many others feel an urge to tell their stories surrounding the event.)

So there we sat, 384,000 kilometers from the moon (it's easier to look it up in a book, but numerous web pages have the information), yet watching in real time as human beings set foot on it for the first time. We'd gazed at the moon countless times before, sometimes via a telescope, sometimes just with a glance. We'd tasted of the legend, of the science, of the romance. Yet as we watched we were aware that although nothing tangible had changed in our relationship to the moon, something fundamental in the way we saw it would never be the same. The moon somehow changed, as did humans who were now able to pass the boundaries of our terrestrial existence.

In a relatively forgotten film of 1981, Four Friends, the time is the mid 1960's. The terminally ill friend of the main character tells him "when the first man walks on the moon, think of me" (my paraphrase). Years later, after having undergone numerous life-style changes, the main character finds himself sitting in front of a television set as Neil Armstrong steps onto the moon (hey, that's a photograph of Aldrin, because after all, before Armstrong, there wasn't anyone there to take the shot) and, of course, he remembers. And I remember sitting with my father and watching that magical moment.

Go to: falling straight to not being in Kansas anymore