Moon walk memory: July 20, 1969

On this very evening, 53 years ago, two men walked on the surface of the moon for the very first time.
I was 11 years old, and a camper at Camp Mar-Ven in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod.

The significance of the event was lost on us pre-pubescent youth, but we knew it must have been one of those “important events that we will always look back on and remember where we were”, because all of the campers were let out of our bunks, at what should have been “lights out”, and we were ushered in to the rec hall, each wearing our pjs, where a tiny black-and-white TV had been set up. The reception was so poor that someone had to stand next to the TV and continuously adjust the “rabbit ears” that served as the television’s antenna.

Campers and staff alike sat cross-legged, or sprawled, across the floor, in rapt attention of the event that was before us. I remember several of the campers and counselors and staff members. My cabin was particularly challenging, with juvenile delinquent Mitch, obese and bullied David, sensitive me, and my best friend, Doug, on whom I secretly had a crush, even though I was “dating” his 10-year old cousin, Karen. My bunk’s CIT (counselor-in-training), Jimmy, would comb his pubic hair in front of us. Which was bizarre, but, of course, pretty impressive to an 11-year old gay boy in-the-making, who was just beginnng to sprout hair in the proud places.

What I remember most about that night in 1969 was not the moon landing itself, but of many of the details surrounding our special dispensation to stay up late. Huddled around the tv screen, like 1920s hobos around a garbage can fire, we campers, boys and girls, ages 9-15, shared a sense of camaraderie that night. We didn’t know WHY it was special, but we knew it was special, because we were allowed to stay up late.

And when the broadcast was over, and we all ambled back to our respective cabins – sleepy, yet somehow wiser in the knowledge of life beyond Earth, we knew that nothing would ever be the same again, and that tomorrow would be a more knowing, and less naive, day than today had been.

It was the dawning of the Space Age. And now our horizons were so much broader, and our responsibilities so much greater, than those on just this planet.

Of course, none of thus knew that then. Tomorrow would be volleyball, and arts & crafts, and play rehearsal, and color wars. And we would go back to picking on some, and idolizing others.

Life, for a bunch of campers on Cape Cod, would go on just as it had been going on all summer. And tomorrow would be another day.

The earth kept spinning. Yet everything had changed.

About bdwardbos

Writer (plays, essays, memoir, blogs), actor (theater, film, TV), teacher, HIV/AIDS educator, cat whisperer
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6 Responses to Moon walk memory: July 20, 1969

  1. Bill says:

    Love this. I don’t have a camp experience as I do not have a ‘going away to college experience’ (Mom was very strict about my NOT going away!!!)Thanks for sharing this Bruce.

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  2. Harry says:

    Love it, Bruce. Thanks for capturing so perfectly that momentous moment.
    I had just graduated from college and was living in Seattle where things were certainly abuzz. NASA had a big footprint there this day. Had to get up early in the morning for that one and watched every minute. It was big day and life didn’t change that much. Went to work and carried on…….

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  3. bdwardbos says:

    Thanks, Bill! Hope you’re well and staying cool. 😎

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  4. Hammer, Cheryl says:

    Lovely article. Yes I remember that and watched it on network TV. I realize now, as a true adult (in years), how astonishing a work of science, creativity and vision it was. I hope you are well and keeping comfortable in this heat. Take care and let me know if I can help with anything. With all best regards.

    Cheryl P. Hammer CFP ®, ChFC, CLU Financial Consultant Equitable Advisors 1290 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10104 (212) 408-2028 Phone http://www.cherylhammer.nethttp://www.cherylhammer.net/

    [cid:image001.jpg@01D89C50.57121830] [cid:image002.png@01D89C50.57121830] [cid:image003.png@01D89C50.57121830]

    Please note my new email address is Cheryl.Hammer@equitable.comCheryl.Hammer@equitable.com. I will no longer be receiving messages at my AXA address as of Sept. 25, 2020.

    There is no greater compliment than to refer me to your friends. To learn more about my business and obtain forms, please visit my website: http://www.cherylhammer.nethttp://www.cherylhammer.net/ Securities offered through Equitable Advisors, LLC (NY, NY 212-314-4600), member FINRA, SIPC (Equitable Financial Advisors in MI & TN). Investment advisory products and services offered through Equitable Advisors, LLC, an SEC-registered investment advisor. Annuity and insurance products offered through Equitable Network, LLC. Equitable Network conducts business in CA as Equitable Network Insurance Agency of California, LLC, in UT as Equitable Network Insurance Agency of Utah, LLC, in PR as Equitable Network of Puerto Rico, Inc. Equitable Advisors and Equitable Network are affiliated companies and do not provide tax or legal advice. Representatives may transact business, which includes offering products and services and/or responding to inquiries, only in state(s) in which they are properly registered and/or licensed. Your receipt of this e-mail does not necessarily indicate that the sender is able to transact business in your state. For more information about Equitable Advisors, LLC you may visit https://equitable.com/crs to review the firm’s Relationship Summary for Retail Investors and General Conflicts of Interest Disclosure. CA Insurance Lic. # OD93179

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