I am saddened today to hear about the passing of Neil Armstrong. I never met Mr. Armstrong in person, but I feel I owe him a little gratitude for his actions.
Allow me to explain.
I’ve been working on my Kennedy assassination book, Death by Holga: 11.22.63, for over a year now. And during the first part of the book’s planning I tried to make connections to people both famous (President John F. Kennedy) and not so famous (myself).
It’s like the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon (never met Mr. Bacon either), where a connection is made from one person to another in six steps or less. The best I can get to Mr. Bacon is a three with either actors from Star Wars (Fisher, Prowse, Williams, Mayhew, Baker, Danials, etc) or Star Trek (Shatner, Nemoy, Nicholes, Takei).
My first list of people, places and things to photograph for my Kennedy book was very long. Of course I had President and Mrs. Kennedy, but I also had Joseph and Rose, Robert, Edward, Caroline, John Jr., Lee Harvey Oswald, Oswald’s mother, Marina Oswald, Oswald’s father and his half-brother. The list went on and on because they were all a part of the Kennedy assassination story.
My list was getting out of control rather quickly.
The great part about a list like this is dreaming of all the possibilities. It’s like winning the lottery without spending a dollar. I just could not resist.
I know. I know. What’s the connection between Neil Armstrong and myself?
I realize how silly this sounds, and both my parents deny this theory, but I believe I was conceived when Mr. Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the Moon. That’s right, I was born in March of 1970, which is 39-40 weeks of pregnancy.
Also adding to my theory, I was born just south of Kennedy Space Center on the east coast of Florida. My father was a technician at the time. I’m not sure if he worked for NASA, but then anyone who could wield a soldering iron back then worked for the space agency.
Here is the order of events:
1. President Kennedy announces in a special joint session of Congress on May 25, 1961 (Star Wars released May 25, 1977) that we must send a man to the Moon and return him safely to Earth within the decade.
2. My parents get married in 1965-ish. My older brothers were born in 1966 and 1967.
3. Mr. Armstrong and Mr. Aldrin land safely on the Moon on June 20, 1969. This was a Friday and possibly a very amours three-day weekend.
4. I was born in March of 1970, which is 39-40 weeks of pregnancy. I was my mother’s third child, so an early delivery would be probable.
5. Forty plus years later I finally make Kennedy-Armstrong connection while brainstorming book project in 2010.
Yes, I know it’s a long shot, but this isn’t my only connection to greatness in my quest for a Kennedy connection. I’ve met Apollo 7 astronaut Col. Walt Cunningham. I’ve also been in the same room as Mr. Aldrin. But for that matter, I’ve been in the same room (not the same as meeting someone) as former President George Bush elder, the Dalai Lama and Paul McCartney (no Sir for me, I’m American). Surely there’s a Kennedy-Armstrong connection there somewhere.
Actually, my closest connection to President Kennedy is Secret Service Agent Clint Hill, who I’ve actually met twice. Agent Hill was Mrs. Kennedy’s lead agent. That gives me a Kennedy connection of one.
Alas, I am mostly saddened, not because of missing my chance of meeting the first man on the Moon, but because I will never get Mr. Armstrong in my Holga view finder. Just one small click from my Holga would mean the world to me.
Godspeed, Neil Armstrong. Cheers.
About the Photo
The photo at the top of this post is my attempt a simulating the Holga effect on an existing image of Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong (original photo by Buzz Aldrin). I have added vignetting in the corners, desaturated the colors and added film grain as this shot would be too dark to take anyway. The only effects missing are a slight double image in the bottom right corner and a little dust from the scanner.