Kay Ethier moved to Parksville 26 years ago, and the Ontario papers reporting on the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969 came with her. – Emily Vance photo

Parksville woman finds Toronto newspapers of 1969 moon landing in her crawlspace

‘We’ve come a long way’: Kay Ethier reflects on historic day 50 years later

Kay Ethier’s son was digging around in the crawlspace of her Parksville home when he found a little slice of history.

Alongside the old report cards were a handful of Toronto newspapers from July 21, 1969 – the day after NASA’s Apollo 11 crew made history by walking on the moon.

Ethier lived in Aurora, Ont., at the time, and her husband Gerry Ethier saved the papers. He had worked for the Air Force, and was interested in all things aviation. The two moved to Parksville 26 years ago. Gerry has since passed away, but the papers he saved 50 years ago still remain.

Ethier clearly remembers where she was on July 20, 1969 – the day Neil Armstrong made that small step turned giant leap on the surface of the moon.

READ MORE: How a Kamloops-born man helped put us on the moon

“The night of the moon landing, my husband – they were little TVs then, and he put it in the window, the back bedroom window. We had a patio outside that window, and all the neighbours came to watch it,” said Ethier.

“Along with our two boys of course. Even all the neighbourhood kids. Our place was full. It was very exciting. Everybody was very excited about it.”

In browsing through the old papers, the excitement is palpable even through the yellowed paper.

A quote heading up The Telegram reads “this is phenomenal… it’s an achievement of mankind. I just hope people don’t look at it only for its technical aspects. It frees us from this life, this earth.”

The headlines that follow convey that sense of wonder and transcendence: ‘A night to forget about everyday things’; ‘50,000 in civic square, but roar was subdued’; ‘Applause from kings and commoners.’

A dose of realism tempers the optimism on a later page – a column by writer Gary Ralph cautions ‘That moon holiday is still years away.’

READ MORE: How much do you know about the moon?

Though 50 years have passed, the moment still stands out clearly for Ethier. She recalls making snacks for the neighbourhood as they gathered around on her patio.

“I can still picture everybody there, watching it. I mean, it’s still in the memory. It’s one thing that’s stuck in the memory because it was so important. It was so important to us,” said Ethier.

Ethier never thought she would see anyone flying to the moon in her lifetime, let alone walking on its surface.

“Not when we were younger. Neither one of us ever thought that. The difference in airplanes and stuff was exciting enough,” said Either.

She also never thought she would see the changes that have taken place in the years that would follow.

“The changes have just been unreal. Who would have thought 50 years ago that life would be like it is now?” said Either.

emily.vance@pqbnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

Just Posted

Pole-climbing thieves pilfering wire in Parksville Qualicum Beach area

Repairs are costly and thefts jeopardize public safety

Green Party leader Elizabeth May talks eliminating fish farming in open ocean pens

May stops in Qualicum Beach as part of Island campaign

Qualicum Beach council discusses helping out Orca Place residents

Town considers offer of temporary jobs in the future

Winter preparation underway for mid-Island highways

Drivers reminded to ready vehicles for changing conditions

‘Dirty Money’ in Nanoose Bay: Dr. Peter German to speak at ElderCollege

‘This is an evolving study’: presenting up-to-date information on B.C. organized crime

Scheer, Trudeau, Singh haggle over potential minority government outcome

If you believe the polls, it appears the Liberals and Conservatives are neck-and-neck

Scooter rider suffers life-threatening injuries in crash in Nanaimo

One person airlifted to hospital in Victoria after collision on Wall Street on Thursday

Campbell River homicide suspects arrested in Vancouver

Two men remain in custody, but have not been charged

Canucks beat Stanley Cup champs 4-3 in a shootout

Leivo nets winner, Vancouver dumps St. Louis for fourth straight win

‘The more you test, the more you find’: Beef recalls a sign of success, experts say

Despite appearances, experts say a recent rise in major recalls is not a sign of food supply problems

Talk to your kids about vaping, B.C.’s top doctor says

B.C. health officials have discovered the first vaping-related illness in the province

Alberta truck convoy plans counter-protest at climate rally with Greta Thunberg

United We Roll organizer says similar protest planned for Swedish teen’s event in Edmonton

Green Party leader Elizabeth May rolls through Vancouver Island to boost a party stronghold

Mocks media, evokes Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and promises change

With $4M investment, Camosun College offers first sonography program on Vancouver Island

Starting in May 2020 students from Vancouver Island can pursue a career in sonography

Most Read