Locals share memories of lunar landing

By: Michelle Miller-Carl Journal News Editor
-A +A
Today marks the 40th anniversary of man’s first walk on the moon. The three-man crew of Apollo 11 were launched from the Kennedy Space Center on July 16. Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins and Neil Armstrong orbited the Earth and then the moon before Aldrin and Armstrong climbed into the lunar module and made their descent to the moon’s surface. The Eagle landed at 1:18 p.m. (Pacific time). By 8 p.m., Armstrong climbed out of the capsule and took his first steps, uttering the now famous phrase, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” The moon walk was viewed by some 600 million people, according to Nielsen Media Research, each with his or her own recollections of that historic day. We asked our readers to share their memories of the lunar landing. Here’s what they had to say: - Junie Pitz, 66, of Colfax was on a different kind of mission on July 20, 1969 — she was giving birth to her youngest son, Tim Pitz, in a Roseville hospital. “He was born at 3:04 a.m. and they walked on the moon later that day,” Pitz said. “Laying in the hospital room with a new baby and watching them walk on the moon … it was so exciting. I should have named him Neil, but that didn’t appeal to me.” - Sarah Bentley of Cool was just 4 years old when her dad sat her down in front of a small, black and white television in the family’s home in Hertfordshire, England. “(He) said to me you must see this, because it is a significant moment in history,” she said. “I remember sitting on his lap, listening and watching the first landing on the moon.” She thanks her father for making her watch the event. “After all these years, I never imagined (he’d) be so right!” - The space race was one of the big stories followed in the Windsor household in Roseville. William Windsor, 56, who now lives in Newcastle, remembers sitting in his living room trying to make out the fuzzy image of Neil Armstrong zapped from space. “The photography was so poor. I didn’t understand that,” he said. “I still have no clue.” (If you want to relive the images of that day, log on to NASA’s Web site,, for restored video and photos of the moonwalk and a real-time audio recording of the mission.) - For NASA engineer and Newcastle resident Jon Rubenzer, Apollo 11’s successful launch into space was a cause for celebration. “Every launch we had was a relief when the thing didn’t blow up,” he said. Rubenzer, 72, worked for NASA for 15 years at the Ames Research Center in Mountain View. He was a sub-system engineer who worked with electrical systems. He even worked on NASA’s biological test orbits, providing full atmospheric conditions for monkeys shot into space. For the lunar landing, Rubenzer was camping, sitting right next to the Stanislaus River listening to the live broadcast on the radio. - For Eloise Hussey, 85, of Auburn, the lunar landing was a day filled with love. She was married at noon in her living room that day. “As soon as we got married, our guests insisted on turning on the television,” she said. “It was really exciting. As a matter of fact, somebody thought it would help (the picture) by hanging onto the antenna cable, but it ended up not even being plugged in.” Eloise and her husband, Jay, are celebrating their 40th anniversary today, perhaps under the light of the moon that set the stage for mankind’s historic achievement on July 20, 1969.