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Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Day Man Walked on the Moon

I had been out jacking around with my friends in Baltimore in that Maryland heat that makes you feel like the ocean is in the air it is so humid. Ten years old and I did notice no one seemed to be around and the neighborhood was empty. I walked around the side of that large old Victorian in Roland Park and went in the basement door. July heat was yellow and that basement was dark and cool and there was everyone crowded around the television. Black and white and grainy. You just saw snow men but dad looked at me. Come here and watch this Billy...they are about to walk on the moon.

Down then on the tile floor in the Keds and shorts and there is some man on a ladder and you can just make out his space suit and there is all that beeping and Walter Cronkite talking and my mother is holding her hand over her mouth and my younger brother and sister are rolling around and my older sister is staring. And it is 1969 and the world is just quiet while Neil Armstrong drops his boot and touches another planet and he says; one small step for man one giant leap for mankind. And my mom cries and dad shakes his head and we watch the television as the world cheers.

And then I went up to the drugstore and bought the paper that night. ARMSTRONG WALKS ON THE MOON. They had a special edition. I put the newspaper under my socks and took it with us when we moved to the Midwest. It turned yellow and brittle and then I lost it in college. And you really do sort of forget about that hot day in July, but I do remember standing in the back yard with my dad that night. We both stared up at the moon. I don't remember dad saying anything at all. But the moon had changed forever. And now Neil Armstrong is gone.

And the moon has changed again.

Rocket Man

Books by William Hazelgrove