I remember that everyone was excited. My mother and father had enough space for everyone, especially with the kids in bed, so aunts and uncles were over with food and drinks. It was a party! Who doesn’t love a party? But what was this party for?
I didn’t want to go to bed. I wanted to know why everyone was excited. I got passed around to uncles and aunties for kisses and hugs goodnight. I swear they had just all arrived and I was being put to bed already. I protested, but mom insisted that it was bedtime.
She carried me up the tall dark stairwell to my room and tucked me in bed quickly to get back to the festivities. I waited for what seemed like hours, until I could hear my mom downstairs talking again when I got an idea how to figure out what was going on.
When I heard my mother’s laugh, I knew this was my chance. I had a great plan. A perfect plan. One that would not fail! I grabbed my favorite blanket, an old hand me down quilt, thread barren and torn and climbed down the now deep dark stairwell very carefully. I knew that if I rushed I could fall, or make a noise then I would be put back in bed.
When I got to the bottom of the stairs, my heart was pounding. I clearly remember thinking to put the blanket over my head so no one could see me sneak in to see what was going on.
I tip toed through the kitchen under my blanket, peeking through the holes and thin spots in the fabric. “So far so good, no one can see me!” I remember thinking, and being really happy that my plan was working. I was going to know what all the hubbub the grown ups were going on about.
I could see enough to know that I had made it finally to the living room, I could see grown ups standing and sitting around the room staring at the television.
Then I heard it. A cascade of laughter and a few “Awww’s.” And that’s when I was grabbed up from the floor by my dad. He peek-a-booed with me for a second, and then just held me as we watched Apollo 11 land and Neil Armstrong step onto the moon.
My birthday is April 3, 1968. I was 15 months old.