In 2009, as the world was celebrating Apollo 11's 40th anniversary, I had a revelation. I knew Grandpa Ed had worked for Grumman. I knew he worked on the Apollo contract -- but what did he do?
"He was a ‘tester’ of electronic equipment - making sure it worked and had power as it was supposed to," Aunt Laura again explained to me. "He was really proud to be a part of it. He had a career at a time when a little skill could enable you to buy a house and raise eight kids.”
He did just that. He raised Laura, my father, and their six other siblings, alongside my grandmother, Patrica, in Kings Park, New York. The town, like so many other Long Island towns, sprung to life after World War II. Census data shows it was still growing when man walked on the moon: 5,000 residents in 1970 ballooned to 16,000 by the time the shuttle program launched in 1981.
A year later, my grandpa Ed would die before I ever had a chance to meet him.