Saturday, 20 July 2019

Did You Watch the Moon Landing?


Fifty years ago today, the first human walked on the moon. I was 12 and remember watching that grainy black-and-white footage on television, over and over again, listening to Neil Armstrong screw up his carefully scripted historic remark so that it made no logical or semantic sense -- "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" instead of "one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."


Everyone was so excited by the lunar landing! Every kid I knew dreamed of growing up to be an astronaut.

No, wait . . . that's not entirely accurate, now that I think of it. Every boy I knew dreamed of such a future. Girls didn't, because we were explicitly told that only boys could be astronauts. Oh yes, it's all coming back to me now, that era . . . .

Since the USA and the Soviets were busy duking it out in the Space Race to the moon, no one ever mentioned Valentina Tereshkova and her accomplishments to us girls, of course. Can't be holding up some dirty Commie as an example of godless gender equality.

Well, we may not have been back to the moon in 50 years but thank goodness, we've made some progress in other ways. All girls can now finally dream of and become astronauts as women. That's just as great an accomplishment as the space program itself, in my opinion.

48 comments:

Moving with Mitchell said...

My friends were older and too cool to find it exciting. They said problems on earth were more important. I had to contain my excitement. But I do remember my excitement over John Glenn’s orbit in ‘62!

anne marie in philly said...

I was 15 in 1969 and I didn't care one whit about the moon landing.

yep, girls could be mommies or nurses or airline stewardesses or teachers or secretaries. not doctors or pilots or CEOs or (dare I say) POTUS.

and if you grew up catholic (like I did), the highest point was becoming a nun. second was a mommy. everything else was frowned on.

young women today don't face the bullshit we did.

Marie Smith said...

I so agree. I didn’t know about the Soviet woman until much later!

Miss Val's Creations said...

I missed this event being born in '74. We women have come a long way and can do anything we want. It's a beautiful thing!

mxtodis123 said...

I remember it, but don't remember seeing it. It's very vague in my memory.

Rain said...

I was just born when the Moon Landing happened. It was definitely a boys club for a long time. I wonder if people are still trying to say that it was just all done in a Hollywood studio lol...

Debra She Who Seeks said...

@ anne marie in philly -- Oh yes, that's EXACTLY how it was!

^.^ said...

I didn't watch the moon landing, friend D. I was too busy growing up fast. Love, cat.

Linda d said...

I don’t have any recollection of it but I do remember that even at 5, especially in the Mormon church, we were relegated to the subservient, “supportive” roles. The men were in charge of boring us to tears with lengthy sermons. and the women got to count out the rhythm of the hymns 1,2,3,4 1,2,3,4.

Times have changed for the better but we have a long way to go before men stop trying to control our bodies, our choices.

Frank said...

I remember it, but it was not a life-altering event for me. To whoever goes there next, of whatever gender: Please don't litter.

DEZMOND said...

Yep, I've always much preferred stories about Valentina, Gagarin and the rest of the Soviet astronauts to the, probably invented, American ones. Even the stories about Russian dogs sent to space are more interesting as you don't get the feeling of absolute fake scenario like in US case.

Deedles said...

I was 13, taking care of 5 younger siblings and avoiding beatings. I couldn't care less about the moon. I had Star Trek!

Contrary Guy said...

Yep my mom woke me up and had me watch it o television. I remember a very grainy picture and could barely tell what was happening. I remember being more tired than anything.

Leanna said...

All I can say is that we have lived through the most interesting time in history, EVER. So much has happened that it would take half the day to explain every single item. There is just too much.

bobbie said...

I remember it like it was y'day!! My BF & I had just gotten home from summer camp; the 'rents were picking us up at a school parking lot. Someone had used a long extension cord to power a tiny little B/W TV ~ they put it in the back of a truck bed and we all gathered around, oohing and aahing.
I'm looking forward to seeing some of the shows various stations are showing today...

jaz@octoberfarm said...

i was in high school. my life was so miserable back then that i have no idea where i was when they landed. i was just trying to survive back then.

J C said...

Huh? We've been to the moon? And back? :) I almost forgot. Big boys club no more.

Magaly Guerrero said...

Today, I spent some time listening to accounts of people who were children when the landing happened. The awe in their voices is heart-filling. Only one was a girl. She works for NASA today, but... back then, she thought it was a dream.

Adam said...

Homer Simpson was the world's best astronaut.

Rosemary said...

I can only vaguely remember seeing the moon landing, but I had just had a new baby son and my thoughts tended to be more preoccupied elsewhere.

Old Lurker said...

Debra! It is ridiculous to allow women to go into space. If women become astronauts who will do the cooking and cleaning and childcare at home?

Bill Lisleman said...

I remember watching but not in great detail. I do remember looking up at the moon (not sure if it was 11 mission or a later one) and thinking wow there are people up there walking around.
Thankfully NASA paid attention to culture and got women astronauts going for the space shuttle missions. I read that one of them purposely did not cut her hair so that everyone could see her full head of hair floating around in weightlessness.

Guillaume said...

My parents hadn't even met...

Joanne Noragon said...

I stood at the ironing board (husband's shirts), entranced. I read a tiny bit about a West Virginia grandmother who made her granddaughter take her outside to look. She announced "It doesn't look no different." And that's the beauty of the whole affair.

mshatch said...

We watched in school, also on a black and white television. I think the whole elementary school watched!

Debra She Who Seeks said...

@ Old Lurker -- You don't fool me one minute. I know YOU love to cook and clean, wearing that special French Maid outfit and stiletto heels. By the way, you were late last week. I ought to dock your pay.

Infidel753 said...

I watched it, but my memories of it are kind of foggy. I was only 8 so I didn't really grasp the significance of it, and I've seen video of the landing so many times since then that the memories kind of merge.

It seems bizarre now that women's options were so constrained just a few decades ago. Thanks for posting the link about Tereshkova. The Russians deserve credit for their early relative advancement in that area; even in World War II, women played a wider range of roles in the war effort in the USSR than anywhere else.

Amanda said...

My Dad worked for one of the NASA contractors so everything from Gemini on was a Very Big Deal for us. Dad grew up so high up the holler in Southwest Virginia, he was 10 or 11 when he saw his first automobile. He'd plowed behind an ox. But the GI Bill from WW2 let him become an Electrical Engineer, and he went on to design electrical components for the spacecraft that went to the moon and programs that followed. It broke my heart when they ended the shuttle program. Grounding those birds was like losing my Dad all over again.

Fundy Blue said...

I enjoyed your post so much, Debra! I never realized that Neil Armstrong's remark was screwed up until you pointed it out ~ LOL But given all that they were going through at the time, I forgive him. I was 19, in Portree, Cape Breton, and working for my second summer as a geology student in the field. A bunch of us gathered round a 12-inch black and white tv to watch. The screen was so snowy, we could barely make out Armstrong and Aldrin. I was so excited that I could hardly breathe. I was keenly aware of everything going on, even though I was in such a "remote" area. I ran out and gazed at the moon after dark, and was astounded to think that Neil and Buzz were actually on the moon as I was looking at it. It remains the most momentous event of my lifetime. I would have loved to be an astronaut, but it didn't seem possible for a teenaged girl in Nova Scotia, especially one who couldn't handle much more than a merry-go-round at a carny. However, I was breaking through barriers by tackling geology. I thought about doing a post on the lunar landing and dug out my diary for that day to see what I had written. It was florid and dramatic ~ ouch! Plus I was "in love" and that was even more embarrassing! I thought we'd have colonies on the moon and Mars by now. I am so disappointed, even disgusted. I'm probably going to die before all the really fun space stuff finally happens. Okay on that depressing note, I'm going to stop now!

Tasker Dunham said...

A woman could never have got the words wrong ... one small step for a woman, a giant leap for humankind. Not because of any lesser inattention, but because the changed wording makes it unlikely.

This N That said...

Sally Ride was in the space program in the late 70's..A little behind ! I always thought "one small step for man" was referring to the whole scientific accomplishment ..not his actual step...interesting....perception and translation do change reality..Yes, the space program has brought us many of our modern luxuries..Nice post..

Kirk said...

I was 7. My father woke me and my sisters up and had us come into the living room to watch it on TV. It was exciting, but it didn't make me want to be an astronaut. At that age, Jerry Lewis made me want to be a comedian, Charles M. Schulz made me want to be a cartoonist, and Ginger Grant made me want to be a movie star stranded on an island (the last I kept to myself--it's not always little girls whose ambitions are thwarted.)

Ur-spo said...

I was annoyed that day as I wanted to watch cartoons and nothing was on but the moon landing.
I was a self centered kid it seems.

Bea said...

I hadn't yet been born, but do remember the clip of the moon landing being replayed on TV when I was a youngster. I can't remember if I thought that I could go up to the stars as well like Sally Ride eventually would do. I do remember my mother telling me that I could be whatever I wanted to be, but I don't know if I entirely believed her.

jono said...

I was just a few days shy of my 18th birthday. In a week or two my girlfriend's brother asked if we wanted to drive up to New York for an outdoor concert. Had to work for college money. It was still a good summer. By the next summer we had taken to the streets to try and make things better, but we still have a long way to go.

baili said...

i was already on stars somewhere waiting for landing on earth than :(

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

I seem to remember my one year-old being more impressed by our new kitten than by the moon landing that day. Perhaps I didn't explain it very well.

RO said...

I remember watching it back in the day, and thinking that it was exciting, but I soon lost interest. It was great to see the reminder of where we were and where we are today, particularly with women. Hugs, RO

CraveCute said...

I do remember the excitement of it all gathered around the old black and white TV!

WILLIE...! =(^..^)= said...

After the Americans went to the Moon, Murphy and Declan announced that the Kerry Men would go one better and send a man to the Sun.
Murphy objected. 'If you send a man to the Sun, he will burn up!'
'What do you think we are, stupid?' Declan replied. 'We'll send our man at night!'...

Ten Fun Facts and Moon Trivia Funny...
The moon is not a planet, but a satellite of the Earth...
The surface area of the moon is 14,658,000 square miles or 9.4 billion acres...
Only 59% of the moon's surface is visible from earth...
The moon rotates at 10 miles per hour compared to the earth's rotation of 1000 miles per hour...
When a month has two full moons, the second full moon is called a blue moon. Another definition of a blue moon is the third full moon in any season (quarter of year) containing 4 total full moons...
From Earth, we always see the same side of the moon; the other side is always hidden...
The dark spots we see on the moon that create the image of the man in the moon are actually craters filled with basalt, which is a very dense material...

The moon is the only extraterrestrial body that has ever been visited by humans. It is also the only body that has had samples taken from it.
The first space craft to send back pictures from the moon was Luna 3 [built by the Soviet Union] in October 1959.
The moon has no global magnetic field.

Mars next...That'll be a one way trip...!!! :(.

e said...

I remember watching it on our black and white tv. My parents were riveted, and I less so. I believe I went outside to play right afterward.

Decades later, I was sightseeing in Washington DC with my Ukrainian sister-in-law's mother. When we got to the Air and Space museum all she could say was, 'Tereshkova! Tereshkova!' We agreed that Tereshkova was as important as Armstrong and Aldrin, et al. (The only other thing that moved her to enthusiasm was the American Indian museum, where she kept saying, 'Fenimore Cooper!')

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

One small linguistics DOH for a man, took womankind to point it out. DOH!
I never even thought about it. Thanks for highlighting that, Debra. It's amusing.

Have a great week.

Rommy said...

I'm not sure if my parents had even met yet then! But I'm glad when I was a kid, we had Sally Ride to look up to.

Hena Tayeb said...

Hadn't been born then but I can imagine how exciting it must have been.

Janie Junebug said...

Since the moon landing took place in the middle of the night, we were asleep. We all settled in by 10-11 p.m. My dad had to get his sleep so he could work. Besides, the picture on the one channel that we got was so snowy that we wouldn't have seen much. We watched replays of the footage and tried to keep up with everything the men did. After dark each night, I went outside to look at the moon and wonder what each man was doing.

Love,
Janie

JACKIESUE said...

I watched every minute of it...my boys were 3 and 5 ..I kept saying you have to remember this...it's a big deal..they're walking on the moon..you have to remember..
sigh* neither one of them remembered.

bj said...

we watched every second

Magic Love Crow said...

I agree totally Deb! Girls now finally dream of doing anything! That is brilliant, even astronauts! I never knew about the screw up in the "script"! I always learn something from you! Big Hugs!