fifty years ago
July 16, 1969. Mom and Dad took my brother and me to Florida to see the Apollo XI launch. I will be grateful to them forever for taking us to see the greatest scientific thing ever.
I took this picture with my Kodak Instamatic 100. It’s still my favourite picture I’ve ever taken. See that white dot above the two puffs of smoke? That’s Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins heading to the moon.
We watched this from what is now Parrish Park in Titusville, on the SR 402 causeway heading to the Kennedy Space Center. Dad rented a camper van and we patiently waited it out, along with a million other people…
and we checked out the same spot in 2015 (this time with a slightly better camera).
Oh, and we got souvenir shirts. Here we are, having just returned from Florida in this spacious camper van – me, Mom (who, sadly, didn’t get a shirt), Dad and my brother.
Check out the cool shirts with a beautiful late 1960s aesthetic. “MOON SHOT 1969 – I was there.” They weren’t quite bold enough to put the actual launch date on the shirt. Just in case.
My sister was a baby at the time and didn’t come along, and I’m sure she has been very tired of hearing for almost 50 years of what an amazing thing this was. And she didn’t get a shirt either.
I don’t know where my original shirt is. Of course it most likely wouldn’t fit, seeing as how it was probably a boy’s medium, and I’m now an adult extra-medium. Dad still has his – and my brother even wore it to the final Space Shuttle launch.
But with the 50th Anniversary coming up, I thought of a fun Christmas present. How about getting those shirts re-made in the correct sizes? Michael sent me a snapshot of his carefully preserved shirt, and I touched it up (in Pixelmator) and submitted it to Entripy, a great local producer of T-shirts who seem willing to do really small orders when they’re not cranking out 25,000 at once for the Raptors or Leafs.
I ordered 4 reproductions for me, my parents, and my brother. And then thinking of everyone else we’d see at Christmas, who have all kindly listened to our stories of the Apollo XI launch without complaining, I ordered a few more of a slightly different design. See if you can spot the difference.
Many thanks to Entripy for doing a great job on these. I hope everyone in my family wears the right one next July 16.
Moon Shot 1969 – I Was There
Moon Shot 1969 – I Wasn’t There, But I Know Somebody Who Was
the end result
(I’m holding a reproduction of the July 21, 1969 New York Times, headline “MEN WALK ON MOON.” Thanks for that, Michael!)