Moon Map

My parents bought me a large map of the moon about five feet square which I hung on my wall from a strip of dowel at the top. My father brought me a box of blue flag pins. Every time there was a moon landing I stuck a new pin in the correct spot — Sea of Tranquility first. My bedroom wall was Masonite so it was hard to get the pins to stay in. I wrote away to NASA and got back cutaway diagrams of Saturn V rockets and portraits of the astronauts with their crew cuts and their helmets tucked under their arms. I gazed into their handsome faces for hours. Our School didn’t have a TV so we were let out early to watch it at our houses. Timothy wanted me to go to his place to watch World Championship Wrestling but I didn’t. Mum was in the kitchen and I was on the sofa when it happened. The next year a piece of moon rock came to the Queensland Museum — a scary gothic looking building that had a scary World War One tank out the front and scary dinosaur bones inside. The rock was displayed in the middle of the ground floor of the museum. There was a kind of modernist steel barrier circling it so you could’t get very close, maybe no closer than fifteen feet. A uniformed guard stood next to the rock in its nitrogen-filled glass box. In my memory he has his arms folded over his chest, but that could be a later mnemonic overlay. I remember the rock was held in a kind of clasp arrangement and that is confirmed by the newspaper photograph I just found. It’s smoother than I remember. The newspapers said it was valued at fifty million dollars and I don’t remember that either.

Martyn Jolly