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Remembering the moon landing of 1969 and my Grandma Sue

I wrote this in August, when  NASA’s Artemis moon mission was set for launch in a few days and I’m was reminded of the July 20, 1969, moon landing. The moon mission was delayed a few times, but finally completed. Makes me wonder how they pulled it off in 1969, but those were such innocent days.

I was 17 years old — between my senior year of high school and first year of college — and had the good fortune to watch the moon landing with my Grandma Sue on a small black and white television.

She was born in Texas in 1895, so she was 74 years old when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon.

I should mention that when my grandmother was a child, she traveled with her family across Texas in a covered wagon. She was in awe of the moon landing, and I am in awe of the number of changes she saw in her life.

And if I think about it, I’m also in awe of the number of changes I’ve seen.

I’m not quite as old as my Grandma Sue was back in 1969, but I’m pretty close. I think maybe I should try to get some of my grandchildren (I have nine) or great-grandchildren (six with one on the way) together to watch this next moon landing with me. I can tell them about how I had to walk a mile in the snow to get to my school bus stop when I was in the eighth grade (true story, but maybe it was a half-mile).

My Grandma Sue lived almost ten years after the 1969 moon landing, dying on July 3, 1979. She didn’t slow down until she flat had no choice. She continued to work through her 70s. It broke her heart when they took her driver’s license away. But her happy-go-lucky days ended entirely when she was banned from riding the city bus in Modesto, California.

There was this little matter about hitting the driver with her cane — but that’s a story for another day.

Until then, back to writing. I have deadlines!

My latest venture, covering giant sequoia issues (again)

A large giant sequoia in the Bearskin Grove, Giant Sequoia National Monument, Aug. 18, 2022 — photo by Claudia Elliott

It’s about a year since my husband and I returned to live in Tehachapi, California, after six years living on the southern Oregon coast. Moving such a distance is difficult and even harder when you reach a certain age. But we have more sunshine here and that’s been good for my disposition.

I’ve been busy in my writing life and in July I had a couple of opportunities to write about Sequoia National Forest, a topic that was my focus for about 10 years beginning in mid-1999.

I find public land management decisions to be very interesting. And the challenge of drought and wildfire make it even more difficult for the Forest Service and other agencies to balance competing interests.

Even if everyone agreed on how these lands should be managed, difficult choices must be made. I have watched with interest the land that was set apart as Giant Sequoia National Monument in April 2000. Many people in the communities near (or surrounded by) the monument were unhappy with that decision. More than 20 years later I am wondering if the management decisions are achieving “the proper care and management of the objects to be protected,” as called for in the presidential proclamation.

As I began researching this, I decided to organize my thoughts and relevant material with a website I have called “Giant Sequoia News” and a weekly newsletter about giant sequoias and related matters. You can get a sneak peak HERE. And you can subscribe to the free weekly newsletter HERE. And check my portfolio for links to some of my published work elsewhere.