'Urban Legend, My Toosh!' Says Former Neighbor
all heard the story about astronaut Neil Armstrong's childhood
neighbor, Elmer Gorski, but for those who haven't, it goes like
A pre-teen Neil Armstrong was pulling weeds along the
side of his house one summer's evening, and his neighbors, the
Gorskis, were in their bedroom. The window was open (those being
the days before universal air conditioning), and Neil heard
snippets of some bedroom conversation.
Being curious as well as young, Neil heard some things he
didn't understand until later. Mr. Gorski had apparently asked Mrs.
Gorski for a little of what we know today as, "Bill Clinton;" Mrs.
Gorski protested. "When that boy next door walks on the moon!" she
told the crestfallen Elmer.
Years passed, and Neil Armstrong forgot about the Gorskis.
He had things to do, like flying in Korea and testing stuff for
NACA. Anyway, in 1969, Armstrong had a flashback, as he sat in his
Apollo capsule with Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin, on the way to
Hours later, Neil Armstrong stepped from the LEM to the
dusty, cheesy surface, and said, for all of us to hear, those
famous words: "One small step for man -- one giant leap for
NASA shut off the next part of the transmission, when
Armstrong muttered, "Good luck, Mr. Gorski!"
Years passed, and someone got hold of NASA's "secret" tapes, and
asked the famous astronaut about that utterance. Armstrong, always
the Boy Scout, denied he ever said that -- he even denied that the
childhood experience related above had ever taken place.
No one could find any "Elmer Gorski," and, as the years
continued to roll, the story of Mr. Gorski and his quest became
branded just another urban legend. Until now.
ANN Finds Elmer Gorski
As everyone knows, our ANN
News-Spies are everywhere. One of them works in a nursing
home, and just happens to know Elmer Gorski and his bride of
sixty-three years, Mabel.
In an exclusive ANN interview, the
eighty-six-year-old Elmer Gorski told us, "I've played along with
that kid [Armstrong] long enough." What did he mean? "I never
wanted to hurt him by setting the story straight; but I'm old, and
Mabel's given me permission, so here's the truth: It happened just
like in the story."
We were amazed. After all, the only one who could confirm such a
fable was doing it! "Yup," he continued, "I owe a lot to
that kid. The past thirty-three and some odd years have been heaven
on Earth for me." Mabel just grinned. "Sometimes," he reminded us,
"those long shots pay off."
Armstrong and NASA declined comment.