July 20, 1969. NASA landed three men and a flag on the moon - in black and white.
The astronauts did not encounter seductive, wish-granting, platinum blonde (?) genies from ancient Baghdad bottled up and waiting to be brought home to Cocoa Beach. That only happened in the world of the sitcom.
But I remember where I was that night, and with whom.
It was the first year I was sent off to summer camp, and I’d just turned 7. In those years summer camp meant 8 weeks away from the city; in hindsight as much for the parents’ freedom as for the children’s benefit.
That summer night in Connecticut, I was sitting in the lap of the sweet, excessively suntanned old gal who was one half of the couple that ran the camp. About 100 children and counselors were crammed into a rec hall to watch a single black and white 19” television, and as Neil Armstrong emerged from the landing capsule, she said to me, “You’ll always remember this night - and that you were sitting in Aunt Millie’s lap.” And so I have.
She wasn’t my aunt. I only remember her name because I could never forget that quote. In fact, I only went to that particular camp that one summer, so I don’t remember anything else about her other than that one night. But that loving old broad was absolutely right: I’ve never forgotten one minute of that evening. It was 46 years ago tonight.