Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Looking up to the sky in 1969

Last night my mind went back to the summer of 1969.
I was six years old then, and on that afternoon of July 20th we were spending some time at a vacation house, surrounded by a little forest of beautiful mediterranean pines, running and playing around as part of our summer time normal (and cool) routine.
I remember my mother really excited about something and, next thing we know, the four of us are in our Renault 4CV on the way to the main road, barely a few hundred yards away from the entrance gate to the house.

Once there we turn right and drive less than a mile to a very little road restaurant called "Las Cañas", almost empty at that time of the day. The place sure had something we didn't have at home then, a black and white tv. Usually, if we wanted to watch some, my parents would take us to our grandparents home. We didn't need more than that.

So now we are at the restaurant watching tv, and we see these very contrasted, black and white (more black than white I remember) images on the screen. At that moment I am not really aware of the full scope of what's going on, but apparently it's all worth the short road trip.
I quite enjoy the moment and, after an hour or so, we head back to the car and then to the house.

A few minutes later we are in front of the gate again, and my father does the usual 'get off the car, open the gate so we can drive in' routine. It's at that point when my mother steps down on the dirt road, looks up to the clear (by then six p.m.ish*) beautifully lit summer sky, and asks my sister and I to do the same.
The moon is clearly visible, and she says: 'It is really amazing to think that, at this very moment, there are men walking on its surface'.

And we stared up for a long while... now things made more sense to me.

The following days she just went on to buy every newspaper and magazine, both national and foreign, that she could find in town. Newspapers and magazines that to this day I still keep and hold very dearly.

Ten years ago now, in 1999, I was in Washington D.C.
I decided to visit the 'Air and Space Museum' at the Smithsonian and once inside I realized it was the 30th anniversary of that day. There was a big exhibition displaying many things related to the fact, and it was after turning around one of the many corners inside the building when I found myself face to face with the space suits of Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins.
I was now in front of the three suits that were 'on the moon' that very moment I was looking up at the sky with my family, back in the summer of 1969, when I was a six year old kid.
And I really felt a big circle was closed.

Since living i the US I have visited as many museums as I have had the opportunity to. Amongst others, museums on the american west, the pioneers, and everything related to that period in the history of this country.
Every time I'm in front of one of these classic, western movie type colt 45 or similar I look at the manufacturing date of the piece and think... less than a hundred years later they were on the moon.

(* The broadcast we saw on tv was not live, as the landing happened during the very early hours of the morning spanish time).


Gregory Becker said...

Cool story. I was 2 at the time. :)

Anonymous said...

Very cool take and story on that event. Love your work. Great energy and drama to all of it. Also thanks for checking out my Blog and the nice complement.

Hans said...

Great story Marcos. It's cool when you can remember things like that with such detail. Unfortunately I was not around yet when it happened.

Are you going to the Comic-Con? I'm leaving tomorrow morning and plan on staying till sunday or monday.


Alessandra Sorrentino said...

Love your version of this story Marcos, I really enjoyed reading it.

Marcos Mateu said...

Thank you guys.
That moment really is one deeply rooted memory in my life.

Hans, I won't be going to Comicon this year... so you'll have to enjoy it for the two of us!

Crowley said...

Gracias por pasarte por mi blog y dejar un comentario sobre las 5 mejores películas de guerra, me apunto la segunda que citas que la desconozco. Y la serie estoy a punto de comenzarla (en cuanto acabe True Blood). Un blog muy chulo el tuyo, me iba a hacer seguidor, pero veo que no lo utilizas. Aún así cuenta con un visitante asiduo y te linkeo a mi blog si te parece.

Marcos Mateu said...

Gracias Crowley, un saludo.

Oscar Grillo said...

A finales del sesenta y nueve, mi esposa y yo, en un dia de lluvia torrencial en Buenos Aires, vimos pasar a Neil Armstrong en un auto abierto seguido de una patrulla de motociclistas con sirenas, el pobre hombre estaba empapado y como eramos los unicos en la calle, el nos saludo a nosotros. Que vida la de los astronautas, che!

Semi-Imperfect Role Model for Superheroes and Other Super Things ("Have no fear, imagination is here!"©) ♡™ said...

"Amongst others, museums on the american west, the pioneers, and everything related to that period in the history of this country."

fantastic blog...you would like the American western museum in Oklahoma City if you haven't already been there...one of the best museums of any kind in the country