Recently, I decided it was time to start going through my many journals with a mind to burning them one by one, after extracting any gems, should there be any. I first began keeping a journal in 1969, when I was eleven years old. It was a five year diary with just a few lines dedicated to each day (I didn't really stick to that), bound in a colourful 1960’s cover of pinks, blues and yellows which made me happy just to look at it. I especially liked the little flap that inserted into a lock which came with a tiny golden key, keeping my private thoughts safe from spying eyes. Inside were the usual descriptions of life as a young girl at elementary school, full of steadfast alliances, betrayals, crushes and the disappointments of unrequited love. But one thing stood out. On July 20th of that year, Apollo 11 landed on the moon, and anyone who could get themselves in front of a TV did, with eyes glued. Many a parent shepherded their young ones, here in the northern hemisphere out of the summer sun, into living rooms and family rooms, to face the screen and see history in the making. It was a profound moment for the world.
In my diary there were two entries - one for the day of the landing, and the another at the back for special notes, both shown here written in my young hand.
Well, this might all seem pretty standard but what struck me came in the form of a couple of coincidences that occurred during the time I was sifting through those pages. First of all, my husband returned home from a trip to Edmonton where he’d been cleaning out the house of an elderly aunt who was moving into Care, bringing with him a stack of newspapers kept from the time of the Apollo 11 mission. There were articles about the lead up to lift-off, with conjecture and excitement about what might be found on the moon, what life would be like for the astronauts aboard the capsule, quotes from their wives and prayers to get back home safe and sound, as well as photos and coverage of the actual landing, including that first small step… I snipped out a few for a photo but I didn’t keep them because there are oodles of archives in every newspaper vault all over the world that wrote about it and besides, I’m trying to get rid of stuff, not hang on to it.
And then, it seems there must have been something in the air because when I was driving home from the city one day around about all this, listening to CKUA radio, I heard a new song called London 1969, by The Lovebullies. The song paints a picture of that moment on July 20th in a way both personal and universal, capturing the essence so sweetly. If you, too, want to do a somersault back in time, below is a link to the video for that song. Our family didn’t have a pool like mentioned, nor were we living in London, Ontario, rather at 2413 Cliff Street in Calgary, but the lyrics and scenes are so evocative of the time and culture, I could swear I saw my mom, brother and a cousin in that old footage. It served to make me very grateful to be alive, both then and now.
As it happens, The Lovebullies are having their CD release concerts at the Ironwood in Calgary this weekend, for the CD that includes that song, not that I’ll be there, as stellar as it would be. Living in the country keeps me quiet and not wanting to drive, especially since it’s snowing and blowing hard tonight. It’s cozy by the fire though, and I have yet another journal to explore on the look-out for gems, before committing the rest to flames.
PS: In keeping with the energy of Apollo that has been in my orbit these past few months, I almost forgot.... This winter I decided it was time to find a new home for my Bentley piano that I have treasured for almost fifty years (there's another story), so I dug out the information pamphlet and receipt that my father had kept and lo, I discovered that the name of the model was non-other than, Apollo!