Mainers’ Moon walk memories

Posted July 18, 2009, at 1:39 a.m.

We asked for your memories of the distant events on the moon’s Sea of Tranquility and you responded.

I was a newly graduated electrical engineer from the University of Maine working in Nashua, N.H. My son Wayde was born February 20, of 1969 so was 5 months old. I knew this would be a historic moment, so when Neil Armstrong came down the ladder, I set Wayde in front of the TV in his baby chair so he would witness it. I remind him of it occasionally — perhaps he will tell his grandchildren about it someday.

Ralph Marshall, Birmingham, Ala.

I was at Andrews Barracks, a former SS barracks, in West Berlin, Germany. My friends and I tried to stay up to watch but I was the only one awake at around 3 a.m. It was very cool for this young man from Holden, Maine not only to see a man walk on the moon, but to be able to see it from 110 miles behind the Iron Curtain.

Robert Booker, Media, Penn.

I was playing in our backyard with friends when our neighbors called us over and said we needed to watch this with them, as it was history in the making. We kept looking at the moon to see if we could see the astronauts and then looking back at the TV to see if there were any landmarks that could tell us where to look at the moon for the astronauts. Boy, were we naive kids.

Ginny Brown, Machias

We we’re staying in Washington, DC and I was watching the moon landing on the television in our hotel room. I was on the phone with my Dad back here in Maine, I was missing him and we enjoyed watching and talking during the broadcast. It was so exciting to a young boy that loved everything about space flight and the moon. I will always remember it to be the highlight to our trip, and it even topped going to the top of the Washington monument even though that was great, too.

Victor Vardamis, Bangor

On July 4, 1969 I lost my dad. After the stresses of funeral and family, my mother and I went to Jamaica for a getaway week. July 20, 1969 was my 18th birthday and the hotel had beautifully decorated our dinner table with flower petals. When we got the news, the party turned into a double celebration. For my 50th surprise birthday party given by my children, the theme was “The Moon Walk.”

Leslie Thistle, Bangor

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was 11 and a camper at Camp Jordan. The camp directors had everyone stuffed into the lodge building in front of a 19-inch black and white TV! It was quite a treat back then. It didn’t come in that great, but we were lucky to even get it. Every single camper was glued to the moonwalk as if it was a sci-fi thriller! We still were at the Golden Age of television, when Twilight Zone and Outer Limits actually scared the living daylights out of us. At this point in my life, after seeing such things as the Kennedys getting shot, Martin Luther King , the riots in New Jersey, Vietnam … this gave a kid hope.

James K. Tweedie, Bar Harbor

I was exactly where any very fortunate boy from Hampden highlands would be. I was at Camp Jordan enjoying a boy’s dream summer replete with kayaks, canoes, swimming, crafts, nature studies and many other well planned activities. The camp staff had the foresight to collect all the campers and assemble them in a cozy room in front of a medium sized black and white TV. I had fallen asleep on the floor amongst a number of other little 9-year olds and only woke up to a roaring cheer when Neil emerged from the lunar module. Of all the Apollo accomplishments, this cozy little Camp Jordan memory of man’s first steps on the moon remains most clear and cherished in my being. Thank you to the good people at Camp Jordan who made that memory happen for so many of us kids back in 1969.

Andrew Thorne, Everett, Wash.

I was working as an engineer at the transmitter site of Bangor television station Channel 7 (call letters WEMT-TV back in 1969, WVII-TV today) which at the time was located near the peak of Blackcap Mountain in East Eddington. Since one of my duties was to monitor the video transmission quality of what was being broad-cast, it afforded a uniquely ideal opportunity to view the entire moon landing from start to finish.

Stanley C. Koski, Augusta

I was in Washington, DC, that day as one of Maine’s two delegates to the American Legion Boys’ Nation program. That night we were allowed to stay up late to see the landing. Scores of us, student leaders from all across the nation, gathered around a single TV set in a dorm lounge to watch the event. It pushed Ted Kennedy’s Chappaquiddick episode, which had occurred a few days earlier, to also-ran status in the news for awhile.

P.S. For several years in the 1990s, my office was across the street from Neil Armstrong’s. I saw him once or twice, but we never actually met.

Jeff Hollingsworth, Washington DC (originally from Belfast)

I remember the day vividly. I was four months into my first tour of duty in Vietnam. The night of the landing was a crystal clear night. I remember looking up at the moon and trying to imagine just what was happening up there with those brave astronauts! Also that night, it had seemed like yesterday that President Kennedy had challenged the nation to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. And we did it! Good stuff!

Mark Carney, Newport

I remember getting in terrible trouble for playing with matches that day. I was six. But despite what my parents thought, I had the fire under perfect control.

Cliff Guthrie, Bangor

I was only 5 years old when I sat in my living room, in front of our black and white television, in my small rocking chair, which I still have and watched as the man walked on the moon. I can remember being nervous for the man, hoping that he would be all right and that nothing would happen to him. I often think of this as I believe it to be one of the first memories I have from childhood.

Rose Chambers, Fort Fairfield

During a hot July in New Jersey, I laid on the cool cellar floor, listening intently to the cacophony of noise and the NASA chatter, dreaming about what this moon mission might foster in future years. I knew about the science, and that inspired me. I felt the thrill of the mission and that encouraged futuristic dreams! This mission moved my thinking about progress, its historic consequences, enabled by media coverage, made a concrete scientific accomplishment accessible to the masses and caused fantasy to seem possible. At 58, I still dream.

Steve Hoad, Windsor

When the news released the information regarding the man’s first steps on the moon, my family and I were living in Austin, Texas. At the time I was stationed with the United States Air Force at Bergstrom Air Force Base, I was working at the time. Within a short amount of time the local TV Stations, meaning Austin and San Antonio, which also included the PBS stations, were broadcasting news about the moon walk and the Space Center located in Houston, where which reporters were attempting to interview anyone they could.

Harry Larrabee Sr., Ellsworth

We had just received our three tickets to an outdoor concert in mid-August and we went to stay at a friend’s camp at Monticello, NY. We wanted to check out the venue so we decided to do a road trip. Unfortunately there was no TV, so we had to listen to the Armstrong on the radio. “That’s one small step for man…”

Ken Hoehlein, Trenton

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