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I remember so very well.  It was the summer after I graduated from High School.  I had taken a job, along with my great friend (featured in my blog occasionally!), Jean Gralley, as a live-in “mother’s helper.”  We had interviewed with the mother of the child who would be our charge at their apartment in New York City.  The parents were Ed and Judy Bronsteen (correct spelling), and they had rented a large and beautiful house in Westport, Connecticut – where Jean and I lived – for the summer.  This was and probably still is a common event in those parts.  Full-time Westporters always referred to them as “those summer people,” who had their annoying, rude, and too fast-paced ways of living.  The town always had a different vibe from June through August.

The house they rented was a great place to spend the summer.  A tennis court, large swimming pool, and the house was gorgeously decorated in a French country-style.  Jean and I shared a bedroom on the second floor, and many a night was spent laughing, complaining about our “bosses” (only occasionally), and pondering our “Freshman Year in College.”  I went to UConn, and Jean went to Ithaca.  The job had its ups and downs, but it was mostly ups.  We made – get this – $45 per week, which included of course our room and board.  In exchange for our salary, we took care of Billy, and occasionally Ed Bronsteen’s older children from his first marriage.  We did housework, sometimes I did some cooking and serving for the family, plus I drove Ed to the train station each morning for his commute to work in NYC as a stockbroker on Wall Street. We did all this 5-1/2 days each week, and we had to schedule and coordinate our time off each week with Judy.  All this was fine with us.  It was a decent job that was different every day, our employers were usually very friendly and encouraging.  Sometimes when Judy would spend a day in NYC she would bring us a gift of some kind or another.  She was closer to our age than Ed, and she seemed to enjoy our company, although occasionally in order to show who was “Boss,” she would throw her weight around.  Fortunately she was a very small woman!

Our main charge, Billy, was 18 months old.  He was a sweet kid, and we enjoyed being with him, playing with him in the pool, running around outside on the beautiful fields and lawns.  All in all it was a good summer.  I saved every single penny I earned, and I didn’t spend a dime of it until the end of the summer, when I purchased my first guitar.  I still have it (it cost about a week’s salary), and though I can no longer play, I have good memories attached to it.

Those of you who remember the time leading up to the Apollo 11 launch, flight, moon landing and (hopeful) return to earth, will know the feelings everyone had during those momentous days and weeks. The actual landing took place July 20, 1969 (42 years ago!) at 20:17:39 UTC (Universal Coordinated Time).  I remember it as being late evening, past Billy’s bedtime, that we watched the televised miracle unfold.  We told Judy that we wanted Billy to stay up and see it, because we wanted him to be able to say when he was older that he saw the first moon landing!  So, Jean and I held him up – sleepy as he was – in front of the TV until Neil Armstrong took the “one small step,” and Buzz Aldrin stepped out of the Lunar Module and described the “magnificent desolation.”

Watching the national newscasters of the day – especially Walter Cronkite and Chet Huntley and David Brinkley – was so memorable – we switched back and forth between channels (no cable back then – just a couple of local NYC stations, PBS, and CBS, NBC, and ABC) to see their tearful and joyful reactions when they knew the moon landing was safely accomplished, and their safe splashdown on earth, after the very tense moments of “blackout” and reentry.  What a time for the USA!  Even in those Cold War times, there was a sense of a united, global excitement, wonder, and joy.  I hope many of you enjoyed or will enjoy the fairly high-definition (some in color) of the moon landing and the black-and-white of subsequent events, in the embedded video above.  Best of all perhaps is seeing the “earth rise,” and sensing that we were and are all one world, one people, with one desire – to live in peace, and joy, and to have the freedom to pursue our own happiness.

I remember, I remember, I remember. . .the seemingly “impossible” dreams of President Kennedy.  The speech (above) he made at Rice University in Texas in September of 1962 (and it was apparently a very hot day!) never fails to stir my soul, and fill me with those wistful memories of our own “Camelot.”  We were so innocent.  We knew so little. His horrific assassination, however, cannot dim the feelings inside of me when I read about the cooperation that has come to be, as JFK hoped, in the International Space Station.

Yes, I am misty-eyed today, lost in reflection on those times 42 years ago.  I was an 18-year-old girl, who would become a star on Broadway, (after a respectable time spent honing my craft in Regional Theater, of course!), I might be “sought after,” (I hadn’t been so far!), but I was never going to get married – certainly not to a minister, anyway!  I do not dwell there in the times past, but I cast my eyes back for a glimpse.  Do you remember?

Lessons were learned,
Plans altered, rearranged,
Illusions held, and
Then dissolved.
Knowledge gained,
Willful ignorance retained.
Advances made,
Steps taken backwards.
We hoped and despaired –
We fought the wars that
All sides lost.
Lost sons and daughters,
Lost pride, dignity, and
Smug confidence; our hubris
That we were somehow better,
Because we were richer, or
Said we were, excluding all
Those we had disenfranchised
From our promise of equality.
We all were young, even
Those yet to be born, and
Those gone on before.
Time changed – the world,
Our axis tilted,
Kept on spinning, turning –
Always to the morning.

Time changes. Times
Remain the same.
Always, never, forever.
So it was in the beginning,
Is now and ever shall be,
World without end.
So be it.

And it will always be enough. . .

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