narragansett – the eagle has landed
January 19, 2011
It was a cool Monday evening in July; it was 1969. We had finished Compline – evening prayer – and Tom and I had gone for a walk around the grounds. We ended up in front of the chapel beneath the statue of John Baptist de la Salle. We sat on the edge of the flowerbed looking up at the night sky.
Three-hundred-and-eighty-four thousand miles away, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the lunar sands. Apollo had landed.
The photograph on the left is the front of the chapel, but it’s forty-two years later. The flowerbed now holds a Japanese maple and snow covers that summer’s memories. But as I focused my lens on the statue, the signage, the flowerbed, it was easy to see the two eighteen year-olds sitting on the shelf and looking up at the night sky.
It was a summer of great change. In a month we all scattered and left Narragansett forever. The young brothers and the teachers that had lived together were all re-assigned back to their districts. Most I never saw again. (I went back to Canada and the University of Windsor, Tom went to DC and Catholic University.)
But I always remember where I was and who I was with when the Eagle landed and Armstrong anointed earth’s moon.