Time It Was

By: pbcmedia

Jul 16 2009

Tags: , , , , , ,

Category: 1, Life, Nostalgia, Personal, Photography


Focal Length:16mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:Canon EOS 5D

I put my small Sony black and white 13 inch TV in my blue mustang and drove to work over the Oakland Bay Bridge on a brilliant sunny day with my donuts, coffee and cigarettes. I didn’t inhale. No kidding. Me and Bill. I took a left after getting off the bridge and drove 15 minutes to Richmond.

I was 24, living in San Francisco, working as a Vocational Counselor for the Department of Social Services. It was July, 1969.

I got to work and with my raincoat draped over the TV, I went to my cubicle where I interviewed. Someone was waiting for me in the lobby. The moon landing was too. I plugged in the TV. I went and got the woman waiting. She had five kids and no job.

“Sit right down, make yourself comfortable. But, we gotta watch Walter Cronkite right now, if you don’t mind, because WE are landing on the moon. On the MOON for God’s sake!”

I gave her a glazed donut.  We shared my coffee and I felt sorry because she had the absolute worst career counselor on this day in 1969.

She did not go home with a job but if she and her five kids looked up into the sky that night, as I did, along with millions of others on Planet Earth, we all saw the same thing–yes, the lunar disc or crescent–but we all saw, too, for a brief moment..gulp..America, ourselves, and our possibilities.

I feel sure this woman also hoped that there was a possibility that the next day her career counselor would be inspired to turn off the TV, get off her coffee drinking glazed donut behind and go knock on a few doors on her behalf.

I did.

©Pat Coakley 2008



7 comments on “Time It Was”

  1. “One small step for man one giant leap for mankind”. Never truer words said and some things have greater import than job seeking.

    I’m so glad to have been alive to witness such a momentous and historic occasion. I saw the moon landing in my high school gymnasium with about a thousand ( the other thousand had no interest) other school boys. We sat there, cross legged on the floor, silent and in awe, staring a TV that seemed miles away.

    I think that the moon landing is the Americans finest achievement.

    • Razz, I decided to change the photo to one where the moon was more obvious…I love your memory and do you know what? I feel a similar feeling about America, ourselves, when I look at Obama and listen to him, as I just did, give a speech. This time to the NAACP. As he travels around the world, you cannot help but notice that people are looking at America differently, too, or should I say, looking “up” at America in a similar way to the moon landing. I am so glad I’ve lived to have seen this happen again.

  2. Very cool image.

    It’s nice to meet another “Coakley” I thought I was the only one.

    • You aren’t a long last relative looking for money are you, Charles?? Cuz, you came to the wrong side of the family! Thanks for commenting.

  3. How it seemed we were ripe with possibilities and for a while, the sky was limitless too.

    I’m taking a good guess that the title of your post is from the Simon and Garfunkle song that still makes me choke up.
    For a long time, it seemed like our most memorable moments have been assassinations, illegal wars and international arrogance.

    I’m so ready to look up again and feel the potential of achievement.

    I would have been as happy to know you in 1969 as today.

  4. Good guess, Bon Bon! Indeed. Those era songs from S&G still kill me. As I said to Razz, I feel the looking up again, and potential of achievement every time I listen to Obama or simply watch him travel the world. Some of my friends remember me in 1969 better than I do! So, it is fun to think about knowing you then.

  5. If it was 1969, you must have had an awesome Mustang. sigh… I think it is funny that many people mention remembering when JFK, MLK, or Elvis died but I rarely hear people discuss how they felt about the moon landing. This was nice to read.

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