Nevada Appeal readers recall moon landing
Self-declared ‘space junkie’ says program is necessary for future
I guess I’ve always been a space junkie. I grew up reading Isaac Asimov, E.E. “Doc” Smith and Robert Heinlein. I also read a lot of Edna Ferber who wrote about strong women. In 1969 at age 20, I was in New York City and was able to watch the lighted message go around on the Times Square building, 1 Times Square, New York City, that man lands on the moon. I also bought and saved a copy of the New York Times supplement of the landing. Later, I moved west and went to work at NASA/Cal Tech’s Jet Propulsion Lab. I worked on projects like Voyager, Viking, Helios and Pioneer. I became the first woman mission controller in the NASA planetary program. While there, I applied to become an astronaut (no luck). Last year, I loaned the Carson City Library some of my pictures and other paraphernalia for an exhibit, which I hope the public enjoyed. My most recent direct contact with NASA was last summer when I took my nephew to the Kennedy Center at Cape Canaveral; we had a great day and met a shuttle astronaut. Before that, I attended the event for the opening of the Western Nevada College Observatory and was fortunate enough to meet Buzz Aldrin there and get his autograph on his book “The Return.” I feel that the space program is essential to our future. I was just born too early to get out into space myself.
Maxine Hauser Nietz
Historic events meant to be passed onto others
I remember watching the first moon landing. What a great, memorable day it was. I wasn’t quite 10 years old. And I also remember when President Kennedy, Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy were all assassinated. And I watched each of these events, moon landing included, unfold on my grandparents’ television set.
That’s the advantage of being born in the middle of a century, for if you live long enough, you’ll be able to tell others about it in the next. I also watched the astronauts’ triumphant return parade after NASA let them out of quarantine on that very same television set at my grandparents’ house! ’Twas an old, black-and-white Zenith if I remember right.
Every kid wanted to be our new space heroes either on the moon or somewhere else in space. “If you study real hard,” our teacher would say, “and graduate high school and with good grades, you can do that, too — you can do anything,” she always added.
In my possession is an original Los Angeles Herald Express Examiner dated July 21, 1969, the day after they landed on the 20th of July. The front page reads, “SPACE REUNION.”
I didn’t keep the paper for all of these years. I purchased it at a thrift store three years ago. It’s in great shape, too, and kept behind framed glass.
For all of us who remember the ’60s and ’70s? There’s plenty of 50th anniversaries coming up; we’ll all be just a little older, too!
Don’t keep your history inside; share it with others.
Resident: Hollywood made up landing
The “moon landing” was Hollywood’s single greatest achievement.
Leonard R. Schmidt
Father, daughter witnessed launch from Cape Canaveral
I so cherish those memories on July 20, 1969. My father just himself and I watched the rocket launch from Cape Canaveral … I was a young girl, 9 years old. I still can recall the massive sounds of the rocket engines. My father thought I wanted to be an astronaut … I said no, daddy, I really don’t want to fly to the moon.
Sandra Theresa Randall
Epic moment was something to be shared by all
Summer 1969 stands out strongly in my memory. My summer contained a number of key elements, including, of course, the “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” moon landing. After two years of medical school, I decided to take a year off before completing my degree. Adventure beckoned. So starting in L.A., I set off on a cross-country trip (primarily camping in my new VW bus!) by first working my way up the west coast to Canada — watching the moon landing in Vancouver, B.C. — then on to Idaho to pick up a friend, then across Canada in time to dip back into the U.S. of A. for the Woodstock Folk Festival in August, yet another epic event in that same summer! Man, those were the days, my friend!
I knew what dates the moon landing was supposed to occur, so I made sure to get to Vancouver ahead of time. It didn’t seem right to just sit alone in a motel. I needed someone to celebrate with. So I wandered into the Vancouver scene and befriended some Vancouver folks who were equally enthusiastic about watching history in the making. Believe me, it wasn’t just Americans who were glued to their TV sets!
The TV images from the moon were grainy — certainly a far cry from the HD of today. But it didn’t matter. What had seemed science fiction for so long was coming to life before our eyes and we were mesmerized. It’s hard to explain just how captivating it was — stunning, really. If ever there was a time to say “Wow!”, this was it.
I’m so happy for the memory. And, hey, then there was Woodstock.
Mother recounts watching landing after giving birth
I was busy delivering my firstborn, Scott, in Oakland, Calif. while everyone else was in the labor/delivery doctor lounge watching the only TV in that hospital department. However, I got to watch the reruns multiple times that evening while holding my new baby. The next day the pediatrician asked me if I named my son Neil.
Pilot recalls seeing Saturn 5 vehicle before going to moon
I had just completed my year of Air Force pilot training at Moody AFB, Georgia, around the second week in July 1969. On my last flight, they gave my instructor and me a T-38 supersonic jet and said go have fun one last time.
We took off southbound out of Moody and climbed up to 51,000 feet over the state of Florida. From 51,000 feet over central Florida, we could see the entire state of Florida from north to south, east coast to west coast, and everywhere in between. What stood out, though, was the Saturn 5 launch vehicle at Cape Kennedy, ready to take Apollo 11 to the moon. From 10 miles up and 50 miles away we could see it plain as day. It was huge.
It launched to the moon a few days later.
Stuart (Skip) Pardee
Compelling scene led to memorable dreams
I was barely 11 years old. My parents were watching on TV, but riveting as it was, I could not stop myself from running back and forth from the den to the backyard, vowing to catch a glimpse of the action on the moon itself. … It took until bedtime, but eventually my mom had pretty much convinced me that whatever I thought I saw up there was neither the Eagle module nor Commander Armstrong. But my dreams that night told a different story.
Lakeside picnic, outdoors retreat the perfect way to celebrate
As my husband was the resident dentist in Yosemite National Park for 37 years, we had the joy of living those years right in Yosemite Valley and raising our four children there — in the midst of all the park’s glory. One of our favorite things do on days off was to pile into the station wagon and head up to Tenaya Lake, which lay along the Tioga Pass road. We all loved picnics, sand and swimming in the cool mountain water. Tenaya Lake was a family favorite, surrounded by tall pine trees and rugged mountain sides. It could seem “other worldly” on occasions, thus
it was where we chose to be on that July 20th in 1969. We had great expectations and held high hopes for another “other worldly” event!
And so it was that, after a most delicious picnic, we were right there on the shore of our favorite Lake Tenaya for the auspicious occasion in the summer of 1969 when Neil Armstrong walked onto the moon and took his “giant step for mankind.”
We felt quite close to that particular moon — it looked huge! What a thrilling, treasured event. The memory of the special day 50 years ago is cherished by each of us.
Sierra Place, Carson City
Apollo missions brought nation together
I was only 7 1/2 years old when Apollo 11 landed on the moon 50 years ago. Although I don’t remember all the details, I do remember sitting with my family at our home in Tujunga, Calif., watching the grainy black-and-white TV coverage of the event, and my dad saying with awe and wonder, “That’s amazing,” when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. Everyone was so happy and filled with pride when it happened. My dad had even recorded the entire mission on his large, reel-to-reel tape recorder from the TV speaker! It was, indeed, a fun, exciting time, as were all the Apollo missions. Nothing since then has brought the nation together in a collective accomplishment as those Apollo missions.
The other memory I have of that first landing was a Gulf Oil commercial of a tanker “Bringing Home the Oil” while showing a large tanker traveling in the open seas. It was an Irish jig-type song that we were all singing throughout the mission. My brothers and I asked my Dad to record it if it happened to come on during “moon” coverage, and one night it did, and he got it! We were so happy, but unfortunately, I don’t know whatever happened to the tapes.
I’m so glad I was old enough to remember this historical and monumental event and the entire Apollo era. It was all over too quickly. Oh, and Tang was really good, too!
Kathy Reger Souza
Carson City (with “memory help” from her brother Steve Reger)
Family pondered event from Washoe Valley home
Over the Fourth of July holiday, 1969, we had just moved all of our possessions into the garage of the house we were building in Washoe Valley. A momentous occasion on its own.
On July 20, since TV reception was practically nonexistent, we and our children sat outside on our deck to look at the moon and listen to the description of the scenario playing out. We were so excited to imagine what it might like to actually land on the moon while we looked at it from our house on Earth.
I remember the moon landing
On the day of Apollo 11’s lunar landing, I was planning to play golf at Torrey Pines in San Diego. On the way there, I met a college friend who had recently married a woman whose parents lived in San Clemente, and he invited me to stop by after the golf game to meet his wife and watch man’s first moonwalk. After my game, I followed his directions to his in-law’s home and walked into an elaborate residence overlooking the ocean. Right next door was a walled-in compound with people guarding it. It was the San Clemente home of President Richard Nixon. I don’t remember the golf game, but the evening was very memorable.
Carson City resident explains U.S. Steel Supply commemorative letter
Clo Dierlam, 97, a resident at the Lodge Assisted Living community in Carson City and a previous employee of the U.S. Steel Supply in Oakland, Calif., shared on Monday how her boss and his friend had been interested in space activities when she was employed there years ago. She said to her knowledge that they were responsible for creating a letter commemorating the company’s role in the moon landing on July 20, 1969, from the men who flew the space shuttle, she said.
“It is an interesting activity that you don’t hear much of, but you know they’re working on space all the time,” she said, “which is to their benefit,”
Dierlam said she was unable to recall many details because there was much she was unaware of, but said she was sure missions continue on today.
“I’m sure space (NASA) is still working on the mechanics of making another voyage to space and they have to have everything that space will accept,” she said.
— Written by Jessica Garcia, Nevada Appeal reporter