On this day, the moon landing took place.
I remember it. I was a newly-minted thirteen-year-old. I watched the historic event downstairs. Downstairs was the cellar, or basement, as we called it, in Penn Hills, Pennsylvania. That’s where the family room, laundry room, garage, and my bedroom were located. It used to flood when it rained hard. Fortunately, the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, suburb only experienced rain about half of the year.
The lights were off in the family room, and cool air bathed the space. Sitting on the couch, the one that used to be upstairs before we bought new living room furniture, I watched Eagle land on the moon on a big Magnavox console color television. I always thought the television was stolen and purchased from a fence. Even when new, it had a small area in the upper right corner where the picture tube – televisions had picture tubes, back then – appeared cracked. At least, what it showed was a distorted bubble of rainbow colors.
It was good enough to watch the moon landing, though. There wasn’t even a need to rotate the outdoor antenna or adjust the rabbit ears. All three major networks were carrying the event. We only had the three, then. Cable news wasn’t carrying it, because cable hadn’t proliferated around the nation like a blackberry bramble gone wild, and there weren’t any national cable news channels. They were still in our future.
We were excited about the future, despite what was happening and had happened. Perhaps I was only excited because I was young. The Vietnam war still continued, and Nixon was in the White House. Watergate was still a few years away. So was our first gasoline crises since World War II. Microwaves were only emerging, and we mostly played music on forty-five and thirty-three R.P.M. vinyl records. We also listened to music on radios, especially in our cars, especially A.M. It was pretty impressive that our old Dodge had a push-button radio. Later on, after the first man walked on the moon and made his famous utterance, I went outside and gazed up at the stars, wondering what the future would bring.
All in all, it was a pretty cool night.