July 20, 1969. For me, it was the summer before high school. Tricky Dick was new to the White House. Ted Kennedy had just driven off a bridge. John and Yoko had shocked the world (at least my small, suburban part of it) by going to bed publicly and staying there for two weeks.
That night I was at a CYO dance in the gym of a parochial school, wearing a dress my mother had made, trying to look like I knew how to twist. At some point in the evening, the records stopped spinning and lights went on and we were called into the school kitchenette. One of the chaperones had set up a portable television. It was a 5 inch screen, black and white of course, with an antenna you had to keep moving to keep picture. The picture was grainy and the sound was crackly and the best narration came from transistor radios tuned to the same station. A man, at that moment, was walking on the moon. We lived in a new world order in which what was impossible for our parents to imagine, happened as a matter of course: presidents were shot, women burned their bras, wars were waged in a jungle with children. Now, this. The grown-ups hunkered close to the miniature screen, squinting their unbelieving eyes while us kids shifted back and forth in our penny loafers, waiting for the music to start up again.