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I'm a Minnesota Girl, living in the south. I tell my friends I try not to talk and think like a Yankee, but sometimes I slip up!

Monday, July 20, 2009


40 years ago today, while most of America was riveted to their black and white television screens to watch one of the greatest efforts our country has ever made in exploration, I was 100 miles away from civilization and television access.

Sunburned, sore-muscled and weary, I was 3/4 of the way through a long trek by canoe through the Boundary Waters Canoe area. My voyage, and that of my companions, was free, in return for a lot of hard, after-school work for one of our teachers, Mr. Wold, who ran a canoe trip outfitting business in the summer in Ely, Minnesota. We tuckered ourselves out each day, ate like offensive linebackers around the campfire each night, and narrowly escaped a raid by a black bear on our elevated bag of food one night.

We knew what was going on in the great wide world. Mr. Wold came up with a boat launch one night to tell us about the landing and to rave about what all America couldn't get enough of. I confess, most of us were sad at the thought of missing one of the great milestones of our lifetime. Then again, in the wilderness, seeming to be in commune with nature and the big old "man in the moon" each night (not to mention the thousands of stars in one of the great unspoiled areas of this land of ours), being together, being young, courageous, in love with the unknown.... perhaps we were some of the moon landings greatest spectators, even if we didn't see the film until AFTER we returned to civilization.

It's an all time favorite memory of mine. And though I traversed the Boundary Waters Canoe Area twice more in my lifetime, no trip was as special as the one where America made a moon landing with a dozen 14 year old girls, sans televisions, cheering us on. Life was simpler then


Kelly said...

What a wonderful memory (and experience)!

Pam said...

I was at home with hubby, one toddler and a baby. I remember the day well.

Of course, we were watching. I remember looking out the front window and seeing a totally vacant surburban street on an afternoon that usually had lots of activity.

Too bad Walt didn't live a couple more days for this anniversary.

Your memory is MUCH more exciting than diapers and bottles! LOL!

Marion said...

I was the same age as you, but I was glued to the tv. We lived in Shreveport in the 'hood. My little brother was born two months before, so I was either changing diapers or washing them or feeding him or hanging diapers out on the line! Great post!!

Bob said...

I have had a few times in my life when I've been removed from 'normal' life. I remember returning and realizing how little I had missed and how much more I had gained. That was definitely your experience here. There were more moon landings to come but what you experienced was once in a lifetime.

Aren't teachers the greatest?

Debby said...

My parents were playing cards with another couple and eight children were glued to the TV. I remember it vividly.

Yes. Life was much simpler.

Serena said...

I was working at a Dairy Queen in Virginia Beach -- but we had the TV on. Everyone in the place was in awe.