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 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Qualicum Beach volunteer Mark Watson honoured for 30 years of service at fire hall

‘He has such a good spirit in everything that he does’

MLAs say Parksville will better prepared for flooding emergencies

RDN receives $150K in funding for Englishman River Flood Hazard Mapping project

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Shellfish industry get funds to clean up at Island sites and beyond

Businesses can apply to cover half of costs to clean up so-called ‘ghost gear’

BREAKING: Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

Most Read