A memory

After my last post, before I went to bed, I decided to go outside, in the dark, to see if it was cloudy or not. I was greeted with a beautiful, clear, starry sky. A memory from my childhood came to me in that instant.

When I was very young, I was staying at my paternal grandparents house, I think it might have been when my brother was born, so I was 5 years old. It was dark, we’d had dinner, and my grandfather took me outside. The block of land their house was built on was a very narrow block, it was actually originally part of a through road that had been closed off to create 2 house blocks, one on either end of the short street. Between my grandparents house and one neighbour, there was no fence, and a bit of a grassy area, and we went out there and looked up at the sky.

Then my grandfather excitedly said, ” look up there, can you see it, it’s a satellite”, and sure enough, a little white speck was making it’s way across the sky in a straight line at a steady speed. We saw several more, and it was just a great thing, my grandfather was very excited every time we spotted another. I guess that it was also exciting for me, because I was somewhat into Space Shuttles and all that stuff.

When I was thinking about this the other night, it dawned on me why my grandfather was probably so excited. I was born in the latter half of the 70’s, when space exploration had been going on for a few years, but my grandfather was born in the mid 1920’s. When he was a child, going into space was still a fantasy, a science fiction story. But here he was, a grandfather, a man who had survived WW2 in Papua New Guinea, had lived a large part of his life, and suddenly there are things in space whizzing around in the night sky that we, humans, had put there. I can’t begin to imagine how amazing that must have been to my grandfather, but he was so genuinely excited by going out, to look for satellites, that he must have felt like a kid again, with all the amazement and wonder that comes when you discover a new and fascinating thing.

It’s amazing, all those years ago, I never thought of it in this way, I was just an excited little kid, but perhaps, my grandfather was once again too.

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