Apollo 11 or 12? A Superintendent’s Letter to Mamaroneck

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Apollo 11 and Buzz Aldrin land on the moon July 20, 1969

To the Editor:

Okay, I understand, anyone can make a mistake, it happens. But as a person who had less than a harmonious relationship with teachers while growing up, I had to say something.

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In a recent e-mail from Superintendent of Mamaroneck schools, Dr. Robert I. Shaps cited in his opening paragraph, that the first landing and the first steps that humans took on the lunar surface 50 years ago is a great example of the American spirit, and our ability to overcome all boundaries .

Shaps, writing about the country’s pride in such a great achievement–that still exists today— said we all “join(ing) the rest of the nation in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 12 moon landing, the triumph of American spirit, and the quest to accomplish aspirational goals.”

There was only one problem. The event that he was noting was not in fact Apollo 12, as we all know, it was actually Apollo 11. I guess Dr. Shaps forgot to carry the one.

Maybe Dr. Shaps didn’t check his math. I thought that in no time there would be at least another e-mail, with a correction, or even apology, if not to us, to Neil Armstrong. I am sure we all would give him half credit if he corrected his error. Perhaps he wrote one, but unfortunately his dog ate it.

But I am quite sure thatwhen I was sitting in the gym at Camp Nock-A- Mixon, and theyrolled out a black and white television for us to watch the event, the number 11 came up over and over again.

My father worked at NASA, and one of his best friends was Pete Conrad, who captained the Apollo 12 voyage the following November, which unfortunately began an era when the space missions were starting to lose their appeal and attention of the space program. Their names were never etched in history, as were the crew of Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins.

Of course, this was not a world shake blunder, but it does show a bit of sloppy work which I was accused of often, but onlyduring my school years of first grade through college.

It’s fair to say that the Superintendent was just shaking off his back-to-school jitters, you know like an umpire who makes a bad call early in the season and the announcer says “its spring training for the umpires too.” So we’ll give the guy a break and hope things get better. After all the progress reports don’t come out for months.

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AJ

Emblematic of the town ? Seriously ? If you live in Mamaroneck, you are PRIVELEGED to live in such a great area. So many of left, because for the average working person it was not affordable for us to remain. I grew up there. We had a fine school system, easy access to one of the greatest cities on the planet, all the modern conveniences available, and top notch health care. Be GRATEFUL !! I have lived in other areas where none of those things are true. Where we have wells that don’t supply the best water, where the closest… Read more »

SD

Ironic that an article taking someone to task for an error is itself riddled with grammatical and punctuation errors (missing commas, missing spaces between words, using “its spring training” when you meant “it’s spring training, “ etc.). Emblematic of the town and society that we live in.

Mg

Not ironic, iconic! They were obviously, intended. The subtle humor is lost on you. But then again, you don’t know the author, as we do, so we’ll give you a pass.