Carolyn Parsons doesn’t remember the moon landing, but she knows where she was when it happened.
When Neil Armstrong took those first, historic steps on the heavenly body, the Lewisporte author was sat with her uncle Bruce Parsons watching from the family’s hometown of Change Islands. She was three-years-old at the time.
That was July 20, 1969, and now 52 years later, Carolyn has another piece of family lore that ties to the moon.
Recently, she was one of 125 named to take part in the Writers on the Moon project.
That will put her work in a time capsule on the moon.
“It is really cool and exciting,” said Carolyn. “It is just a little bit of a bigger project.”
Writers on the Moon is the product of Susan Kaye Quinn.
Quinn, a self-described rocket scientist turned speculative fiction author, bought digital space aboard a moon box being put together by U.S-based space robotics company Astrobotic and DHL.
The digital repository will be transported to the moon via Astrobotic’s Peregrine Lander where it will serve as a lunar time capsule with works from 125 independent authors from
Earlier this year, Parsons applied to win space on the digital data card that will house the work. She stumbled across the contest because she is a fan of Quinn’s work.
If authors were lucky enough to be chosen through a lottery, they would get 10mbs of space to populate with their work.
That meant Parsons could share her latest novel, “The Forbidden Dreams of Betsy Elliot,” along with the rest of her literary works.
As luck would have it, when the first 50 were announced, Parsons’ work was identified as Manifest No. 40.
Originally, there were only going to be 50 spaces available, but changed shortly thereafter and all 125 who applied were given space.
“It is a different way to launch a book,” said Carolyn.
When the lander hits the surface, she will have copies of four of her five novels, a pair of completed but unpublished manuscripts and a poetry book.
Parsons also included a poetry book published by her daughter and an essay from another daughter as well as some writing her grandson did and a photo taken by her granddaughter.
“I had space, so I could do some little things like that,” said Parsons, who also had space for three stowaways that she offered to some writer friends of hers.
The idea of sharing the project with her family is a special one for her.
Not only is her work being stored and preserved for all-time on the moon, so is the work of her children and grandchildren.
That adds just a little bit more to the endeavour.
“Someday, I could be gone and my grandkids could say, ‘Grandma said we’re on the moon. Our name is on the moon’,” said Carolyn. “It’s really a legacy thing that they will know.”
There will be videos shared with the authors that document the journey of their work from this planet to the next.
Bruce remembers the night he watched the moon landing with Carolyn and her cousin, Ellen.
He can’t remember the exact reason he was tasked with babysitting the pair, but he suspects it was likely a function of the Orange Lodge — he was not a member — that brought him there.
“(The moon landing) was interesting to me, so I had to be watching and I had to be watching them,” said Bruce. “They were a little bit excited about it as little kids would be.
“I guess that’s why I remember it so well.”
Looking back on that night in 1969, coupled with the recent news his niece received, the landing takes on a little more meaning now.
Carolyn said she has always had an interest in the moon and traces that interest back to that night. Her first book was even called “The Secrets of Rare Moon Tickle.”
“The things you do as a kid, you don’t realize where it is going to lead to,” said Bruce. “Sometimes it leads to things that are almost unimaginable.”
When the Peregrine Lander touches down on the surface of the moon, it will represent a full-circle moment for Carolyn and her uncle Bruce.
The lander is scheduled to launch this fall and make landfall shortly thereafter.
Parsons is hoping to be able to hold a small viewing party for the launch for some friends and family as long as the provincial COVID-19 regulations allow it. She’d rather not have a Zoom party.
While how she watches the launch is still in question, there is one sure thing — a piece of Carolyn is going to the moon.
“It’s come around that now my stuff is going to the moon,” she said.
Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice