Where is Wapakoneta And What Does It mean?

From this elevation it's difficult to identify if it is the Neil Armstrong Space Museum or the Golf Ball Museum.
From this elevation it’s difficult to identify if it is the Neil Armstrong Space Museum or the Golf Ball Museum.

Daily Prompt: Local Flavor

Write a piece about a typically “local” experience from where you come from as though it’s an entry in a travel guide.

Sometimes marvelous things happen when you are lost (For some that is perpetually).

Not long ago while touring the Midwest in search of delightful getaways for those who want to be intellectually and visually stimulated I made a wrong turn and drove north on Interstate 75.

While motoring some sixty or so miles north of Dayton, Ohio I passed by a serene community of Wapakoneta. Legend has it that it was named for a Native American chief Wapa and his Native American princess bride Koneta.

One can not help but note standing near the exit of the Interstate to this sleeply community stands a huge object resembling a golf ball lodged in a soggy rough. In reality it a replica of the moon and is the Neil Armstrong Space Museum.

Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, was born and raised in Wapakoneta, Ohio. It is said that going to that museum as a curios lad inspired him to go the moon ( Although it did not exist until after he became famous, but who pays attention to details?) As local lore recites shortly before leaving home his mother screamed, “Get out of here and make something of your life. Ya ain’t ever gonna make anything of your self laying around here and when ya gonna start paying me rent. You’ll end up a lunatic like the rest of your father’s family. I hope you leave and get as far away from this house as possible.”

For years local teenagers have been trying to organize a one night event to spray paint golf ball dimples on the museum’s exterior.

Providentially the Native American name, Wapakoneta, literally means “Shooter of – Moon” or “Too far – north.”

Enjoy a trip to Wapakoneta, Ohio. Knowing the story behind the town, its name, and most famous former resident will gratify your visual delight and stimulate your intellectual longings.

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17 comments

  1. That is the most egregiously wrong description of Neil and his Mom!
    Neil was an adult 7th grader when I knew him. He was so bright and so assured that everyone agreed with him, whatever the subject.
    Most of the time.
    For example he used to design math problems for the class (my sister was in it) when teacher was busy.
    His mother was a quiet, sweet person.
    His father was not at Neil’s level, even though he was a state bank examiner.
    Neil’s nickname was Speed, a derisive reference to Neil’s tendency to take his good old time answering your questions.
    But more about all this when I write a biography of Neil’s jr./sr years in high school, an area no one ever seems to cover.

      • Still haven’t written the article about Neil.
        The kids about year 3500 will be consumed to read about Neil.
        I plan to submit the article in order that at least one archive will tell them key things about him.
        Most significant was Neil as a high school junior (and I) returning from Camporee to see an Aeronca Champion plowing into the ground. Neil’s organization and direction of all of us in getting problems under control was
        masterful – not his blase TV interviews.
        Not understood even by his family was Neil’s strategy of listening to you for the first couple of minutes. Then if he decided against further waste of his time he would end the conversation – very pleasantly.

  2. That is a really nice story and I especially like the part where his mother called him a ‘lunatic’. The Roman goddess of the moon is named Luna and the moon is supposed to have mystical powers that induces erratic behavior and this is where the word lunatic is derived from. Just a suggestion, you should change ‘spry paint’ to ‘spray paint’.

Blather away, if you like.

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