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  • First men on moon Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong

    I read a letter a few years ago in the Radio Times asking people to phone in about their experiences whilst watching the 1st man to set foot on the moon in 1969.

    Memories came flooding back to me. I was pregnant with my first baby living in hot and humid Cuernavaca just south of Mexico City. As we did not own a television we were very pleased when our friend Sol asked Jacques and myself round to watch the ‘1st landing’ at her place.

    We gathered round the TV in excited anticipation. We were going to land on the moon! Funny that everyone said we were going to the moon rather than two very brave American air force personnel. Obviously they had chosen men who could be very objective and grounded in any emergency; scientists who did not have too much imagination to fuel the fear that could take them over whilst floating in space; away from any kind of reality they had perceived on Earth.

    We had already seen Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong undergoing weird physical training; whizzing around on equipment to experience G Force their flesh trying to tear itself of their bones on their faces. Now the greatly anticipated event was about to happen. They would have no up or down, no north or south just unimaginably vast emptiness of the universe stretching beyond the capability of understanding.

    I dreamily wondered what experiences my unborn baby would have in her life time. Surely by the time he was a teenager we would all be using routine space travel to other planets.

    The countdown begun, “54321 we have lift off,” these words would have magical connotations, and they would be repeated in countless films and children’s games.

    The screen showed a flickering fuzzy black and white image of a rocket sitting in a dust field. Then we heard the magic words, “Tranquility Base here, the Eagle has landed.” And we saw the funny image of a man slowly and tenuously going down the ladder, like a Lego man hopping onto the surface appeared on the screen.

    “One small step for man, one giant step for mankind.”

    Pure heart thumping adrenaline pumping magic!

    Cheers and hugs all round.

    I phoned up the BBC to tell them about my experience. A very upper-class, uninterested and distant voice said “Oh, Really Mrs…” And where were you watching from? …Oh really, Mexico?” he said with contempt in his voice “ I suppose people would be watching from there too“.

    So much for one giant leap for mankind.
    drawing by Diane Jardel
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