MY LUNAR LANDING EXPERIENCE
I planned on becoming an astronaut in 1968 so I was following the Apollo 11 mission the next year with great enthusiasm.
For eight days it seemed like 80% of all television programming was devoted to the mission. I watched at least 10 hours worth each day. Walter Cronkite…distant crackly voices of the astronauts…fuzzy footage from their cameras.
I felt the need to record this TV coverage because I didn’t think that the broadcasters would archive it and someone had to do it.
We didn’t have video recorders or cameras then. We had audio tape recorders (open reel; no cassettes yet), still cameras and movie cameras (no sound).
Here’s what I did.
The TV (Zenith) had one small speaker (no stereo) to the right of the screen. I set up my grandmother’s reel-to-reel tape recorder, connected the microphone and placed it near the TV speaker.
I recorded several hours of broadcasting every day and ended up with about 8 seven-inch reels of tape. I took pictures using gram’s (she had all the cool equipment) 35mm camera. Slides. They were crap.
One thing about not being able to record sound using patch cords is that you’re going to pick up other sounds in the room. I had this notion that, because the importance of my archival project was so obvious, all other sounds in the immediate vicinity would cease so I could get clean recordings. When you were 7 years old, did you ever successfully get all the members of your family, pets included, to not make sound for hours?
These tapes have been in a box untouched for over 40 years through seasons of extreme cold and heat. I wonder if they have completely disintegrated.
I didn’t become an astronaut.
WESTERN COWBOY RELOADS
When I was 4 years old, I had an imaginary Cowboy friend. His name was Tex. One summer day my neighbor across the street was sitting in her breezeway with a female friend I hadn’t met before. They were laughing a lot and loudly. I walked up to them and the friend thought I was adorable and she asked me my name and I told her and I introduced her to my friend, Tex, “He’s a Cowboy” motioning with both arms to the air at my right. They laughed a lot and loudly.
Tex died that day. They killed Tex.