It was the night that Sputnik was supposed to be visible to the naked eye in my hometown of San Leandro, California.
The night was clear, no cloud cover at all.
My brother, about 11 years old at the time, and I, about 8 years old, and our 16 year old babysitter were out in the back yard,
Laying on the picnic table watching the sky for the spectacle of man's first craft in orbit.
Sputnik was expected to be seen after dark in the southwest sky, going just over our fig tree in the southwest corner of our yard.
The house was on the North side of the yard so we had no fear of any obstruction of our view.
As we lay watching, we saw no less than 5 nor more than 8, I'm thinking it was 6, what we initially thought to be our subject sighting.
The 2 problems were:
1. There was more than just one object.
2. They were traveling from the wrong direction, coming from the East, traveling West.
Their time to go from the eastern horizon, which was the roof of the one story house of our neighbor to the East, to the western horizon, trees, quite a ways away, was about 90 seconds, possibly 2 minutes but not more.
The objects were quite bright but looked like Sputnik did when we finally did see it.
Sputnik was just where we expected to see it, too.
The objects had no specific formation but their flight pattern was directly East/West.
No side trips at all, but one ship or the other would race out in front of the group then slow and wait for the others to catch up.
This happened about 3 or 4 times while we watched them traverse our field of vision.
We called it the drag race in the sky.
We did talk about whether or not it had been the Sputnik, discussing the direction and number of vehicles.
Or had indeed been flying saucers, and decided we had been treated to a very special show before getting to see our Sputnik.
Seeing the first man made space craft was pretty exciting but, honestly, the drag race pretty much stole the show that night.
For us, anyway.