In 1969 I was eleven years old in my last year of summer camp at Camp Blackpoint in Ticonderoga, NY. We were allowed to stay up late that night and watch the event on Mr. Baker’s black-and-white TV in his house attached to the camp (he also has a complete set of the original Tom Swift books I spent the summer devouring). I remember not being able to make out what was going on in the televised images—but was too embarrassed to say so. So I drank NeHi orange soda and cheered with the rest of the campers and counselors with the promise of someday going to space in my thoughts and dreams.
My parents picked me up and drove me back to NY—shocked that I had changed over that summer from their short fat son to their newly tall and skinny son. Mamie Eisenhower was staying on Lake George that summer and we waved to her from the parking lot of the hotel we were both staying in. Later, I would stand on the corner of 72nd street and First Avenue and watch the ticker tape parade for the three hero astronauts. My dad bought me the Time Life book To the Moon and Back and I was finally able to discern what Neil Armstrong had been doing and saying.
Camp Blackpoint closed soon after the paper/pencil factory in Ticonderoga shut down. I would work every summer after that. I still hope that I can go to space some day.
Fritz Foy is the Senior Vice President of Strategic Technology at Macmillan. He is the Publisher of Tor.com.