Apollo 11 Camp/Hobby Memories
I remember our family watching all the coverage of the Apollo 11 and knowing that this was important and I was fascinated at the same time. This led to a model rocketry hobby as a youth. One I shared with my own children and hope to with grandchildren. Watching this new science unfold as a youth has made me appreciate the courage of all the Apollo missions.
Jim Elo, Head of Facilities Maintenance, Linda Hall Library
The Summer of 1969 was my second season working at Camp Minnowbrook, a children’s arts, science, and music camp on Lake Placid in the Adirondacks.
That evening at dinner I spoke to the head counsellor and suggested that we might all want to gather in the auditorium to watch the moonwalk. He barked back at me, “Levy, go back to your table and do your job.” It is possible that the director, Lothar Eppstein, overheard our conversation because a minute or so later he called for everyone’s attention.
“Evening program tonight is canceled. After dinner, we will all go to the auditorium and watch the Moonwalk. History will be made tonight, and we are part of it.”
The evening went on in fits and starts, with all kinds of interviews going on. Then, around 11 p.m., Armstrong appeared and said, “I am at the top of the ladder.” I’ve never seen these kids get so quiet so fast. The auditorium was absolutely silent as Armstrong gently went down the steps. “I am at the foot of the ladder.”
Finally, he was on the Moon. I am not sure how the “a” got left off, but I recall hearing clearly “that’s one small step for a man.”
I will never forget that night. Years later I had the honor of interviewing Buzz Aldrin. He then started calling back, over and over again, to change the quote he gave. Then I went to Canada to give a lecture and called Wendee [Levy’s wife] in front of a group.
“How are you?” I asked.
“I’m fine, she replied, “but Buzz Aldrin is still calling!” Everyone listening practically fell out of their chairs.
David Levy, Astronomer, science writer, and discoverer of comets and minor planets
On July 20, 1969, I was working, between high school graduation and college, as a Girl Scout camp counselor at Camp Saukenauk Scout camp located in Mendon, Illinois. I had been in Scouting for many years. I always looked at the sky. At camp the sky was clear and the stars, moon and Milky Way just stunning. It started me on my path of enjoying astronomy.
On July 20, I had worked as a lifeguard at the lake and was with other counselors enjoying the evening before we were due back at our units. The camp arts and craft instructor came with her husband and stayed in their pick-up truck camper. She called us over to look at the moon landing broadcast. We stood outside the camper, she angled the black-and-white TV out the door, and we watched the astronauts on the moon. As I looked at the TV, I also looked at the moon. [I was] marveling at being able to watch this event on TV.
July 20th, 1969, is one of those happy “where were you then” memories. The space race was interesting; in school, we watched all the launches and landings, as well as special reports. I had wonderful conversations with my older family members. My Grandmother’s cousin and I talked about all the advances she had seen in her lifetime, from riding to school on a horse, driving her first car, to the moon landing. In contrast to all of the troubling world and national news, the moon landing gave me hope for the future.
I was a counselor at Kennolyn, a great summer camp outside of Santa Cruz, California. Kennolyn’s owners, Aunt Marion and Uncle Max, rented a couple of dozen TVs and placed them around the mess hall. All campers got to stay up late and see the landing.