Watching that Step

I didn’t know what Bob Gibson’s ERA was (it was 2.18, I had to look it up) but I sure knew that Neil Armstrong was from someplace called Wapakoneta, Ohio and that he had flown the X-15. I knew that Buzz Aldrin had shot down two MiGs in Korea. They were my heros (are, actually). I had a favorite Mercury astronaut and I cried as if my dog had died when I found out Gus Grissom had been killed in the Apollo 1 fire along with Roger Chaffee and Ed White (he had walked in space on Gemini 4, take that Bob Gibson.)

So it’s no surprise that I got to stay up late along with the rest of the world that night, trying to figure out how to take a photo off the TV screen with my dad in the middle of the living room floor. Then, keeping our fingers crossed for a few days, hoping that the photo would even come out, after taking the roll of film to the Fotomat. That’s how I remember that night, the whole mission in fact, each and every one, right up until December 19, 1972 when Apollo 17 splashed into the Pacific, the last of the Apollo missions.

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