Jewish Book: Saving Myself, a Los Angeles Childhood
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A Los Angeles Childhood - Where Were You When We Landed on the Moon?
Tuesday, 31 May 2011 17:00

The date is July 20, 1969, 16:50 military time. Apollo 11, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins landed in the Sea of Tranquility.  When Armstrong stated: "This is the LM Pilot. I'd like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way."

Now the Space Shuttle is being retired.  It will be launched this coming July for the last flight.

Where was I? At the Westwind Bar down in Venice Beach, the smell of cigarettes and stale beer. Once the moon landing was over. The jukebox must have been blaring rock and roll sex music, "Proud Mary, Hey Jude and Revolution, the Beatles grounding us back on earth, Honky Tonk Women, Bad Moon Rising". Then we heard Dylan's voice singing "Lay Lady Lay”.

Some people feel the Lunar landing was a fake, that it was filmed in the Nevada desert on a movie set. "Where are the stars" the doubting say. And I said, "It's time to go lay on the sand, and turn with the rays of the sun," just as the jukebox serenaded us to Wedding Bell Blues, and Aquarius’ - Let The Sun Shine In, carefully turning myself as the sun did to keep away possible threat of tan lines.

"Tan as a berry," my mother said. "Why would you want to do that?" She remembered back to the peasants plowing the fields in the hot summer sun, not sheltered indoors or under an umbrella to save themselves.

On that day down in Venice Beach as we all danced after witnessing the miracle. We knew what we felt was real. People say that there were no stars. I say that belief is belief and we saw it with our own eyes.

I don't remember exactly what I wore that day but probably cutoffs and a striped t-shirt with my bathing suit underneath. I do remember it was brown, a two-piece, dark brown.

After all, it had to be real. They brought back 47 pounds of moon rocks. You want proof, you people who think it was a hoax? Are there any of you out there who are reading this who believed the others?

I'm sorry but you'll never convince me I didn't see a man land on the moon. And I know that we always mark what we own, so the American Flag served that purpose.

The Westwind is gone. But I still hold it in my memory. First love. And having a man land on the moon. Something I will never forget.

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