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Moonwalk Memories | A special delivery
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Homepage for One Small Step. One Giant Leap. Man's first moonwalk, 40 years later

Where were you on July 20, 1969?

Most likely, you were glued to a TV set in the living room anxiously waiting for Apollo 11 to land on the moon.
But Ernestine McBroom was doing her best to catch a glimpse of the landing while giving birth on a stretcher placed strategically in a hospital hallway in sight of a television.

"We told everybody we were going to name him Moon McBroom," she said of her son, John, who turns 40 this year. "The doctor, however, cautioned us to avoid Apollo."

McBroom said she remembers spending the day in the living room watching TV, waiting to see the moon landing.

Expecting her fifth child, McBroom knew she would give birth that day, but didn't want to miss the historic event.

"I stayed at home as long as I could," McBroom said. "I was in labor and waiting for him to come and waiting for the men to walk on the moon. It was kind of a day of expectancy. You didn't know which was going to come first. It was exciting, you were hoping for the best."

Once she arrived at the hospital in Greenville, Miss., where she lived at the time, the doctor told her he would have to multi- task.

"He said, ‘We waited all day for this, we're not going to miss it,'" McBroom said.

McBroom, who now lives near Oakwood, said giving birth to a boy that day was special for her family because her last three children had been girls.

"The moon walk was exciting but not as exciting as his birth," McBroom said.

Though his given name is John Anderson McBroom, to this day he is still called by the nickname given to him by his 15-month-old sister the day he was born: Boy.

"He's was named after one of my husband's friends," McBroom said. "But he's everywhere known as "Boy."
Julie Clotfelter Gosset has a slightly different memory of July 20, 1969 - rather no memory.

Gosset was born that day and while she can't actually visualize Neil Armstrong's moonwalk, she's been told she watched it in her mother's arms.

"I thought that was pretty neat that I came in time and was in her arms in enough time to actually watch the moon walk," she said.

Gossett, now a resident of Gainesville, is the president of the board of directors for Family Ties Gainesville, formerly known as Prevent Child Abuse Gainesville.

"I'm not a particularly special person more than anyone else," Gossett said. " I just happen to be lucky enough to be born on a date that makes me feel like I have a responsibility back to the rest of the world and especially back to future generations. To my kids and other people's children as well."

Gossett said she is inspired by the bravery of the first astronauts to land on the moon.

"The guys who went to the moon were brave men who could've died. They had no idea what they were getting into," she said. "I feel like I owe it to people, to these men, to do something just as good for the next generation."

Gossett said she thinks July 20, 1969, was an especially important day because it gave Americans something to be happy about during such a tumultuous decade.

"We had so many things to be sad about right before that that it turned around the spirit of America and the spirit of people and we saw that we could accomplish again. Everything was mean and ugly in the '60s for a little while and then we did this extraordinary thing and all things seemed possible again" Gossett said.

 

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