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Author Topic: The Town Closest to the Moon.  (Read 1225 times)
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« on: July 15, 2009, 10:56:43 PM »

I was born in Wapakoneta, and there is -- or at least was, up till around 1990 or so, when we moved -- a great deal of Neil Armstrong-related iconography around the town. After all, why wouldn't there be? There's the Neil Armstrong space museum, a weird, yet quite attractive building, resembling nothing so much as Spaceship Earth at Epcot, situated right next to I-75, between a BP and a Waffle House (and near where Big Bear Plus used to be before they were bought out by Community Markets, which also bought out Dave's and Cylde Evan's and may or may not be owned by IGA). I've been there a couple of times. They used to send us there on field trips. There's a collection of astronautish-stuff and model airplanes and a theater and a room that looks like an infinite field of stars because of some tricks with mirrors, and I don't remember what else because I've been to a lot of COSIs and space centers and my mind is jumbling things up.

There's a mural somewhere downtown, too, though it may've been painted over by now. Here's a picture of it: http://www.enquirer.com/editions/1999/07/18/mural_600x334.jpg It's actually not very well done. It's just something I remember.

There are also Neil Armstrong day parades. Or were. They got smaller every year. Neil Armstrong never attended after a certain point. I don't know if they're still around.

Wapak's pretty much in a constant state of collapse. Moreso than Lima, even, and I think it's biggest claim to fame is, for being a town of around 10,000 people, having a total black population of around 18. It's a quaint little town that's racist as hell and digging out everything quaint it ever had and it's good I got out before I was old enough to know what urban decay was.

In this sense, it reminds me of the American dream, I guess. Or how annoying nostalgia can be. I still remember enough about the place to wish that some of the things that USED to be there still were.

I think, maybe, my biggest personal connection -- and I tell this story over and over again because I think it's interesting and it's not even really about me but there's nothing ELSE interesting about me, so... -- is that my mom, who grew up in Wapak, used to go to a church were Neil Armstrong's mom was a Sunday school teacher.

Neil Armstrong never really drew attention to this particular accomplishment. I don't think the town did either. The memorabilia is more out of a sense of duty, I guess, than earnest interest. Wapak's a very insular town that has more terrestrial ambitions, and aspires more towards Heaven than the heavens.

o/` I do not feel joy o/`
o/` I do not dream o/`
o/` I only stare at the door and smoke o/`

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