This part of July always makes me sad. I know that there are many things in the world, many happy things that happen. But the moonwalk is a connection for me. My dad and I spent hours watching the moments. When Neil Armstong stepped on the surface of the moon, it was around 3 am EDT time, in the summer of 1969. I love my father. He and I were close my entire life. We didn’t always see eye to eye. He struggled to understand me, and I struggled to understand what he was assaying to me. He was a great human being. But NASA, that was our thing. I was so proud when dad told me he was working with NASA as the region’s six coordinators.
The coordinators worked with schools in their regions to find experiences to go into space. It was a great program, and dad was part of it. I kept all his NASA gear that he collected from that period. But the moonwalk and IU Basketball was what always solved our disagreements. We watched that, and we watched every IU Basketball game. This time of year, I miss dad. I miss the moments now gone. I won’t say to you that I was the perfect son, I was not. I struggled to find my way. For a time, I followed in my father’s footsteps, but my heart was in a different world. I am at heart a technologist and my dad understood that, although not at first. But July 23, that always brings the memory back.
We were huddled in the family room of our house in Sherwood Oaks. The night around us as we sat there. Dad and I, a moment of history that was shared. We often talked as I got older about our impressions of that night. We shared the moments of the disaster that was Apollo 13. We celebrated the last astronaut walking on the moon. We both cherished those moments. I still do. It was the bond that brought us together forever. Like cooking with my mother, a joy, I cannot express in words. NASA was a dad, and I. Cooking was and is mom and I. Funny, my dad cooked, but he and I never really cooked that often. Mom and I used to cook all the time. Those childhood joys are the ones that make me the happiest when remembering mom and dad.
This work is Copyright DocAndersen. Any resemblance to people real or fictional in this piece is accidental (unless explicitly mentioned by name.)