KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Fifty years after man first walked on the moon, some people in the Kansas City metro still remember the awe they felt at the “giant leap for mankind.”
At Tallgrass Creek Retirement Community in Overland Park, many residents still vividly remember that day.
“We were on our honeymoon and we were in Paris,” Janice Usow says. “Parisians were so excited that this happened, and they kept saying, ‘aren’t you proud?’”
Esther Redelsheimer and her family stayed up to watch the moon landing on television, and she and her husband snapped a picture of their sons watching in their pajamas.
“Our kids were in their pajamas, and I believe I said, ‘Well, you can stay up and watch it if you’re ready for bed,’” she says.
Redelsheimer still has the picture, but now it has another special memory attached to it. She says Neil Armstrong signed the photograph 20 years later at a lunch her husband attended, making it a treasured family heirloom.
In July 1969, Barbara Stark was living with her family in Puerto Rico. She says she got her children out of bed, and the whole family sat around a tiny television set with spotty reception to watch the moon landing.
“My oldest at the time was 6 years old, and she remembers, ‘Yes Mom, we had our jammies on and we are sitting in front of the tiny, tiny television, and it was very grainy,” Stark says. “But we were able to see the man on the moon.”
Harlan Brockman called his daughter to see what she remembered about watching the moon landing.
“I remember we debated whether or not to wake our daughter, who was 5, to see whether she would remember it. So, we decided to wake her,” he says. “Well, she says, ‘I remember them bouncing around on the moon like bunny rabbits,’ that’s the way she phrased it. That’s what she remembered about it. And you know, they did kind of bounce around. I don’t know how they were able to keep their balance there, because the gravity was such that they were really bouncing like a basketball, every step they took.”
Brockman also remembers worrying about the astronauts and how they would return to Earth.
“Well, I remember how proud I was that they got there and how worried I was that they would get away,” he says. “I thought that would be a terrible way to perish.”
Julia Thornton remembers feeling concern for the astronauts, too.
“I thought about reentry and if their ship would take off,” she says. “What if they weren’t able to leave? What if they weren’t able to find each other? It was emotional.”
Thornton, who is fascinated with space, says she’s also a distant cousin of Neil Armstrong. She hopes the moon landing continues to be celebrated for years to come.
“I hope we celebrate when it is 100 years,” she says.