My Dad at work, circa 1960s
My family moved twice while I was growing up. Until I moved to New York City, I didn't live anywhere longer than six years. In the winter of 1964-1965, we moved from Long Island, east of new York City, to Merritt Island, Florida. As you can see from this map, our home was just a little over 10 miles from the Apollo 11 launchpad. I used to watch rockets launch from my bedroom window. On most launches, our windows shook.
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The Apollo program had an enormous economic and human toll, an important part of the story which I've yet to read anywhere else. Shortly after we moved to Florida, my father began working 60-80 hours a week, a pace which didn't let up until nearly the end of the development program. Once it became routine to send men to the moon, the development program ended abruptly. Hundreds of thousands lost their jobs simultaneously in a region whose development was triggered by this one program. My dad was able to find another job within Grumman, but it required moving back to Long Island. With no buyers, we were only able to sell our home at a greatly reduced price, losing all our equity, and having nothing with which to buy a new home.
We moved back to Long Island in the fall of 1970, just in time for me to start the school year, though just one week late.