It's hard to believe it has been 50 years since Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin first landed on the Moon. In the summer of 1969, I was an 11-year-old living in Mt Lebanon, PA and feeling the excitement of the impending Moon landing. Back then, the Space Program was a really big deal and dominated all 4 TV channels, Mad Magazine, and of course our two daily newspapers. There was no internet, there was no social media, or YouTube, or all the other things we expect in our daily lives today. But the entire world was waiting with bated breath for the moment when the Lunar Module made its landing.
That night, a Sunday, I had been invited to a sleepover at my friend Ralph's home. His Mom knew I had a telescope, a very inexpensive Tasco refractor, and asked me to bring it so she could view the moon. Ralph's house was only about two blocks away, so Ralph and I started walking along Sleepy Hollow Rd toward his home on Fruithurst Dr., about halfway there, I was Egged by some Teens speeding by in their car. I saw a white streak flying toward me, felt gooey wetness on my shirt, and thought, for a moment, I had been shot. Strange, it didn't hurt nearly as much as I thought it would, but then I quickly realized it was just an egg. Oh well, I still feel I cheated death on that auspicious night.
We reached Ralph's house, got me cleaned up and proceeded to watch the live broadcast on one of the three main channels. Probably CBS since they had Walter Cronkite. I remember they gave directions on the screen for those who wanted to get a decent picture of the footage from the TV. I think it was the most exciting time in all my life, up to that point. We were holding our breath just like the guys at Mission Control, we were elated when touchdown was confirmed. Of course, when Neil hopped onto the Moon, the whole living room exploded with cheers, in fact, we could hear other people cheering next door and across the street, I think the whole world was cheering.
A plethora of Apollo 11 souvenirs could be found at every store in the aftermath of the landing, I had a model kit of the Lunar Lander, I had a model kit of the entire Stack, I had astronaut trading cards, I had space helmets, a moon globe, and I even had one Numismatic item. The medal you see pictured here, it is gold colored, and aluminum, and not very detailed but it is pretty cool, and it still reminds me of the night I cheated death and saw One Giant Leap for Mankind. Thank You Mr. Armstrong, Mr. Aldrin, and Mr. Collins, you will always be heroes to me.
Where were you that night?