Neil Armstrong RIP

August 26th, 2012 at 2:30 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

  Here’s exactly what the moon looks like now.  We have a 3/4-full moon tonight (picture from Jack Martin).  You’ve heard that Neil Armstrong passed away Saturday (not a good weekend for people named Armstrong).  He was the first human to walk on the moon.  This is one of those events where almost everyone can remember where they were (July 20, 1969), so if you like, leave a comment and let us know where you were.  I was in Dennis Saphir’s backyard in Wilmette, Illinois.  The Saphir family lived in the house that Frazier Thomas of WGN-Garfield Goose fame had lived in.  They took their TV set outside into the backyard (long extension cord) so we could see the moon while we watched it on TV.  I had just graduated from high school and was working days at the Bell & Howell warehouse, running a staple machine and driving a fork-lift.  On weekends, I still caddied at Westmoreland Country Club.   If you drive down I-75 in western Ohio (maybe on the way to Florida) you’ll pass Neil’s hometown of Wapakoneta, Ohio.  His father worked for the state as an auditor, and the family moved 20 times in his first 15 years.  He got his flight certificate a year before he got his driver’s license.  An interesting note…Neil and his first wife, Janet were married at the the Congregational Church in Wilmette, Illinois, which was only a mile from where we sat in the Saphir backyard.  Neil (like me) was an Eagle Scout and gave a shoutout from space to the Boy Scout Jamboree taking place out in Idaho.  Here’s the wiki on Apollo 11.     Also, on the space theme, here’s the current Sky at a Glance.  At spaceweather you can check out sunspots and some  excellent aurora pics.   You can check out upcoming ISS flyovers (there’s an awesome flyover tonight (Sun.), but it’ll probably be cloudy), and the latest from the Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Assn and the Kalamazoo Astronomical Society. Leave a comment if you know of other cool sky/astronomy websites.     FINALLY, a quote from Neil Armstrong:  ” I am, and ever will be, a white socks, pocket protector, nerdy engineer . . .”

25 Responses to “Neil Armstrong RIP”

  1. We were outside cranking homemade Ice cream and making burgers, I was just 7 at the time, it was the young cousin’s job to crank the 3 machines. We finished and about 30 people were in our house eating and watching our new tv set. over the days from take off, landing and walking on the moon we had so many aunt’s, uncles, cousins, and friends over it was a blast. Watching Neil take that first step onto the moon was something I’ll never forget with all the people packed into our living room and you could see plenty of tears of pride. It still came as a shock to learn of his passing because he just seemed bigger than life. I sure hope our future leaders restore NASA to where it belongs.

    1. Swatz_Zoo(Cedar Springs) says:

      I agree, crying shame they took that away there is still so very, very much to learn out there in our universe.

    2. I agree also – It was a sad day when the Apollo program went away along with the ability to build a station on the moon. I was always a big SF fan from a young age when Asimov, Heinlein and many other writers wrote stories of possible progress of bases on the moon to expand outwards to the stars – what happened?
      Bill: you may have had a job broadcasting weather on the moon – boring as it would be -

  2. Bob J. says:

    My family always rented a cottage at Interlochen in July. We could never bring a TV with us, until we new that Armstrong was going to walk on the moon! We huddled around a 10 inch black and white portable TV with a terrible signal, but it was good enough to watch the landing!!

  3. Brad (Lawrence) says:

    I had not even been thought of. My parents were both 19 at the time and my brother who is 4 years older than me was 1 month and 1 day old. I bet I have watched that video 500 times though.

  4. I remember watching Neil’s famous first step on the moon on the big old console B&W TV – I was 14 and had been a big fan of the Gemini and Apollo programs thru the 60′s. It was hard to tell what was going on with the grainy picture but I was held in wonder as was most of America. I did a report on the space program the year before and requested material for the report from NASA. Two weeks later a big box came with info for their whole space program – pamphlets, books, charts and a big poster of the rockets which were used from the beginning of NASA – boy was I excited and needless to say I got an A on my report. God bless you NEIL Armstrong for the values you held and the memories you instilled in all of America.

  5. Steven T (Hudsonville) says:

    It is one of my earliest memories, I was six at the time. We watched it as a family and I can remember my parents cheering.

  6. Kimoeagle says:

    Thanks for taking that “one small step”, Cmdr. Armstrong.

  7. Jack Martin - Fennville, Michigan says:

    Great Stories here Bill! What a cool coincidence that Neil and His first wife Janet was married so close to You Bill.

  8. INDY says:

    Issic is going to be come a cat 3 cane and it’s going to take the Saints out of the NFL … Stay tunedd!! INDYY..

    1. Indy: don’t you have a story to tell of Neil Armstrong? :)

  9. Tom H. says:

    I was 2 years old when that happened. My guess is I was at home and my parents were watching it on TV.

  10. Ron says:

    I was a teenager with a driver’s license and one of the few times that my parents let me drive by myself. They were glued to the TV and my brothers and sister were at the roller-skating rink and needed to be picked up so I got the keys but missed the big step.

  11. Laura says:

    Bill, you are not only a fantastic meteorologist but you are a wonderful storyteller! Love that connection with Neil Armstrong through the church in Wilmette and also the reference to you both being eagle scouts. I can just picture the Saphir family in the backyard with the tv hooked to the extension cord. And the same backyard that once housed Frazier Thomas’s family activities- What an amazing story!

  12. Marti B. (Near RiverTown Mall) says:

    I had just graduated from high school, June 5, 1969 – 650 students from Kalamazoo Central High School. I was born and raised in GR, MI but my mom got sick and farmed her 5 kids out to various relatives for about 2 years until she recovered – thank goodness she recovered! I went to live with my aunt and uncle and their 9 kids in Kalamazoo! We were sitting in the living room of their huge house on Clinton Ave, Kalamazoo, MI – my widowed uncle still lives there – watching the big ole B&W TV set that was in a console of sorts. All 9 kids, myself, aunt and uncle were there watching, plus half the neighborhood kids. It’s still so vivid in my 61 y/o mind! :)

  13. Jill C. says:

    My sisters and I were riding in the back of the family station wagon, coming back from visiting Grandma in Oakland County. My dad was listening to the lunar landing coverage on the car radio. I was ten and I listened to while my younger sisters slept. I can’t remember if that’s when the landing actually occured or when Armstrong stepped out. (This was at night.) On another day I remember seeing the fuzzy black and white pictures on TV and wondering what it must be like to not be on our planet earth.

  14. Imthemom (just n holland) says:

    I was lucky enough to have a color TV, but the pictures were still grainy and black and white. I was impresses how close the horizon on the moon looked. My mom muttered the whole time that it was’t real but being filmed somewhere in Arizona. I believe that Betadine, the orangey stuff they use to clean lacerations and prep for surgery was developed to decontaminate the astronauts when they come back to earth after being on the moon.

  15. Jack says:

    R I P…Neil Armstrong…….. Cue: Elton John…….ROCKET MAN………

  16. Jovial Hoosier says:

    I was with the Indianapolis Boy Scout Band in Idaho along with hundreds of other scouts for a National Boy Scout Jamboree. During the week an astronaut in training, (can’t remember which one), visited and spoke to us, and they had TV’s set up so we could watch the moon landing live.

  17. snowsearch says:

    I was 9 years old with my two brothers at my grandmother’s cottage on Gun Lake. I will never forget it! R.I.P Mr. Armstrong.

  18. Patrick says:

    I was working at the McDonald’s on Plainfield, and remember being very disappointed we didn’t have access to a TV. I don’t believe the assistant manager in charge that evening knew the country had a space program. It’s my recollection he was much more focused on the girls driving through the lot, and how the different muscle cars stacked up to his red 350 Chevy Nova.

    1. Mr. Negative says:

      :) Nice post Patrick…it took a lot more than a 350 in a Nova to “stack-up” against all the options available in 1969.

  19. Dave says:

    We were in the living room of my parents’ house in Hawthorne, NJ. I had my dad’s Argus C3 35mm camera set up on a tripod in front of the TV. I took photos of the TV pictures (Kodachrome slides)and still have the slides….somewhere. I’ll have to find them.

  20. Anup Shrestha says:

    Please note the coincidence that the reverse of Neil A. is Alien. The 1st human alien of outer space.

  21. Mr. Negative says:

    Glad I was able to watch it…a permanent memory in black & white.

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