Yesterday marked the 40th anniversary of Apollo's landing on the moon. Thinking of this event led to thinking of where I was on that evening. I remember quite clearly standing in our backyard at "The Village" in Colorado City, looking at the moon, pondering life as only a 14 year old boy can. This led to thinking about my youth and where I grew up, which in turn brought me back to Colorado City Texas and the set of company houses my Father's job provided for some of their employees.
When I look back on my youth I realize how truly fortunate I was. To some degree I knew that then. I can remember thinking how lucky I was to live in the greatest country in the world and then I got to live in the greatest state in the greatest country. What a lucky and blessed guy.
What I know now is not only did I live in a wonderful, free country and a great proud state but I had a great family, supportive friends, a reasonable education and a completely idyllic West Texas setting to start my life.
We lived in a small, secluded neighborhood with a group of other families that worked for Texas Electric Service Company in a place we called the Village (not M Knight Shyamalan but close -- ooooooo, it could be really spooky late a night). It was about five miles from the urban mecca of Colorado City and consisted of 13 company owned houses about one mile from a natural gas fired electric generating station.
The houses were comfortable, not huge. They were nice and I suppose reasonably modern for the 50s and 60s though I don't remember much about that. I do remember that we got exactly one television channel, CBS out of Big Spring. So guess what, we didn't watch a lot of television. Our world was outside where kids and pets roamed free.
Almost all of the families out there had kids of various ages. For me the Parkers were the oldest, the Wrights were the same age, the Lees had some of both and we all had an amazing time with unparalled freedom. We ran throughout the village and beyond in the open pastures surrounding the village. We played in the wide open common areas behind the houses and loved it when the occasional cow would wander from the pasture into the back yards.
We spent New Years eve out under the stars with a huge fire creating our own fireworks shows. We played two on two softball, no easy feat, until we were exhausted. We played pick up games of football, but rarely played basketball because none of the driveways were paved and it's really hard to dribble on gravel. I remember large groups of us making the rounds on Halloween without any adult supervision, you didn't need it because all of the adults knew all of the kids. "It takes a Village" really meant something to me, because the Martins, the Wilkersons, the Slaters all knew who I was and what I was doing and they knew my parents telephone number. It was a collective -- oh my goodness -- that's why people think I have these Socialist tendencies.
I had a great life as a kid. It wasn't perfect, it wasn't meant to be perfect, perfect would be boring. What it did was give me the chance to start life moving forward, feeling protected, feeling safe, feeling loved. It's what, as parents, we all want to do. Forty years ago we went to the moon and opened up amazing possibilities just by reaching for it, I hope our kids will find things to remember like that 40 years from now.