Half a century on, that “one small step” still looms large in our memories!

Living history

Chris Valenty: “Here are some photos, taken by Milo Casey, that ran in the Forest Lake Times in 1969. I am the young boy pointing at the moon.”







The Gram With a Thousand Rules remembers: “Moon Landing, July 1969:

“This is the 50-year anniversary of the first men to land on the moon, and with all the hoopla in print and on the media remembering that exciting event, I searched for the notes I took at the time. (Notes, heck; I typed four pages, single-spaced!)

“Knowing how memories can distort with time, I remember sitting down at my typewriter on July 24th, 1969, to jot down a diary to save for my kids. We took three Polaroid photos — two the night of the moon landing, and one the next day. Here are a few excerpts from my diary to go with the photos:


“’It was mutually agreed that the babies HAD to stay up and watch, even if they were too young to remember. (Mother, how could you ever tell them someday that you had put them to bed?)’

“’While the television transmissions were thrilling beyond words . . . it would be less than truthful to pretend they were technically of the quality we were used to seeing on commercial television and frankly, as the astronauts continued their painstaking experiments, several sets of young eyes began to droop. They had watched with breathless eagerness those first, apprehensive, almost frightened-to-let-go steps . . . the gaining of confidence and then the “Bouncy-Bouncy” football type dodging and the “Kangaroo-Hop” as the astronauts called it. Then the setting up of the American flag, the reading of the plaque: “On this day, men from Earth came in peace for all mankind . . .” and the conversation with the president but now, the shadowy figures had settled down to business and none of it seemed real at all.’


“‘I put the babies to bed and urged the kids to stretch out on the couch to sleep. I promised to wake them so that they could see Armstrong and Aldrin crawl back up the ladder. The children all opened their eyes to see the last moments and then almost too soon the walk was over. The kids went to bed and my husband left for the TV station for a long night of work. I settled down to watch the lonely LEM and try to make this day last a little longer. It was silly, but here I was, sitting alone at 2 am, watching the shadow of a Moon Landing Vehicle, waiting for the astronauts to throw away their excess gear. Finally, I too gave up and went to bed.'”


Gregory J. of Dayton’s Bluff: “It’s hard to believe that it has been 50 years since the Apollo astronauts first walked on the moon in 1969 — but the calendar doesn’t lie. Growing up in the 1960s meant being inundated by space-related everything, and toys were no exception.

“One of my best Christmas gifts of all time was the Marx Moon Base play set I received in 1962 from Santa via Montgomery Ward. It received some hard usage and then spent over 50 years in my father’s garage, but it survived. The box is in rough shape, and a few parts took a beating, but overall it is still in excellent condition.

“Marx made all kinds of play sets and had a tendency to mix parts from one set with another. This explains why the Moon Base set includes ICBMs, Minutemen missiles, a space station, various terrestrial accessories, and a space plane that could shoot missiles that would detonate an exploding rock formation.

“Taking a cue from Marx, we would often combine the Moon Base set with our other toys. It wasn’t uncommon to see our green Army men and their weaponry battling moon men and dinosaurs on the surface of the moon.

“The Moon Base instructions had warnings about trying not to shoot your eye out, but the drawing for the space plane alone would give today’s parents a stroke.

“The Apollo program was barely defined in 1962, so Marx filled in the details using Mercury astronauts and a bright orange Mercury space capsule that was way out of scale. I’m not sure where the green moon men came from. But I did discover something interesting while playing with . . . or should I say studying these items recently. The orange and green parts look really cool when illuminated by an ultraviolet LED light and look even better when photographed with a digital camera.”








Finders, keepers (responsorial)

Ramblin’ Rose: “Subject: Never Forget.

“I immediately recognized the subject of the items in the submission from Kathy S. (June 19th).



‘I had expected to see replies from other BB’ers on this bit of history, and was a bit surprised when there were none.

“Stalag Luft III, as it was less formally known, was a German prisoner-of-war camp during World War II. Located in Nazi-occupied Poland, it first housed British airmen, and later expanded to include Americans and other Allies, eventually holding over 10,000 men.

“I recognized it for two reasons: First, it was the basis for the fictionalized 1963 movie ‘The Great Escape’; second, I had the privilege of knowing a former U.S. Army Air Corps officer who had, unfortunately, been a POW there.

“The British airmen really did dig three tunnels they code-named Tom, Dick, and Harry, as the movie depicts. Dozens of them escaped one night over a period of hours; sadly, almost all were recaptured. You know what happened next: 50 of them were executed on orders from Hitler. Several German officers were held accountable at the Nuremberg Trials and also paid the ultimate price.

“PBS recently aired a documentary called ‘Great Escape’ that included interviews with a few survivors, then in their 90s. They considered themselves fortunate to have survived.

“You can read details of the camp and the escape here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalag_Luft_III.

“I had the privilege of meeting U.S. Army Air Corps officer Robert McWhite during the last year of his life. As he and my father were both veterans of WWII, he shared some of his experiences with me. He spoke of going to enlist immediately after Pearl Harbor, expecting to just walk in and sign up. Instead, he found a line of men, in his words, five across and stretching around the block. Patriotism on display.

“He joined the Army Air Corps, predecessor to the United States Air Force, and became a B-17 pilot. He flew numerous missions over Germany, including one where his plane was heavily damaged. As he relayed to me: Without a working navigation panel, his only choice was to fly the damaged plane, with both engines smoking, west until he believed he was in Allied territory. At that point he turned on his IFF (Identification Friend-or-Foe) to alert the Allied radar. In response to his signal, two RAF Mustangs came to escort him to base. Without a working landing gear, he had to crash land the plane, narrowly missing three young boys playing in a field. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions, but insisted to me that he was no hero, that the real heroes were the crew who kept one of their own, seriously wounded, alive until they could get back to base. Only two weeks later, in April 1944, they were shot down over Germany, and Lt. McWhite became a POW at Stalag Luft III, where he remained until the end of the war.

“There is much more to his story, which you can read here: https://sites.google.com/site/8thafhsmn/pictures/robert-b-mcwhite-8th-air-force-b-17-pilot-ex-pow.

“This is the ugliness and horror of war, and we should never forget the price that has been paid for our freedoms.”

And now, here again, is Kathy S. of St. Paul, following up: “Subject: Terms used on the POW’s souvenir towel.

“BBonward.com recently published photos of a POW’s souvenir towel I bought at an estate sale in St Paul. It is labeled Luft Stalag III — the prison camp shown in the movie ‘The Great Escape.’

“I researched the terms online and ‘met’ a woman named Marilyn Walton. She defined the terms on the towel.

Cooler: isolation cells for POWs who violated camp rules. Steve McQueen lived there in the movie.

Who’s stooge?: the man whose turn it was to get the hot water for coffee each morning, wash dishes, clean, etc.

Give up another bed board: As in the movie ‘The Great Escape,’ POWs gave up wood slats from their beds to shore up the walls of their escape tunnels.

Get out the cards: Cards were cut to settle disputes, give out extra resources, etc.

Appel: name in French or German. For daily roll call, etc.

New purge in: a group of new men coming to a Stalag. POWs would run to greet old friends.

Parcels up: The delivery truck of parcels had come into camp.

I’ll bet you a D-bar: candy bars made by Hershey during the war. Used for bets, trade, etc.

Everybody out!: an order to vacate the barracks.

Who’s got the black pot?: a cook seeking equipment for cooking in a barracks.

Tally-ho: signal to hide things or to announce that a guard was in the barracks. British term.

Brew up: early-morning call that the hot water had been brought to the barracks for coffee or tea.

I’ll punch your T.S. ticket: reply to someone whining too much, etc. T.S. stood for ‘Tough Sh—.’

What’s the gen?: Gen meant information or news. News of the war’s progress was top gen.

Goon in the block: warning that German guards were present.

“BTW: the picture (on the towel) of Donald Duck behind bars was a famous one, back then.”

Live and learn

A second dispatch from Kathy S. of St. Paul: “Recently I’ve been realizing that I didn’t understand everything there is to know, back when I was in school.

“The recent movie ‘The Post’ left me with tremendous admiration for Katharine Graham, who inherited The Washington Post. In 1971, she had to decide if it would publish information from the government-generated Pentagon Papers that was critical of our war in Vietnam. She gambled everything she owned to do what she thought was right. And her decision helped end that war.

“In 1971 I was still in school, and my thoughts about Vietnam were pretty black-and-white. I wanted the war to end and didn’t worry about the details. So I never really ‘got’ the Pentagon Papers until this movie spelled them out for me.

“Today I visited a movable version of the memorial wall honoring those who died in Vietnam. A childhood neighbor barely older than me is among those who died in 1969.

“I’m glad I had a chance to honor him — and all the others.”

Everyone’s a (restaurant) critic!
Leading to: Dumb Customer Jokes

Rusty of St. Paul: “My new favorite view, drink and food venue is in a historic grain elevator on the Mississippi on the southern edge of downtown St. Paul. Odd, though, that it has a name associated with a river in the northwest part of our state that runs north to Hudson Bay. [Bulletin Board clarifies: Rusty is apparently referring to Red River Kitchen at City House.]

“It’s a lovely indoor space that is wide open and with high ceilings, is family-friendly (toss games), and has history displays on and in front of the walls and a narrow outdoor deck that overlooks the river and the West Side of St. Paul. A casual setting, but well-considered food and cocktails.

“Last week we celebrated my wife’s birthday there. Our group pushed together tables on the deck. It was the perfect evening in all respects, except there was a double row of barges moored right next to the patio that partially obstructed our view. The week before, I had been there and it was barge-free, with a terrific view of the West Side and Cap Wigington’s Harriet Island Pavilion.

“When I ordered drinks and food, I asked the general manager if he could get the barges moved. (I learned later this was a Dumb Customer Joke, as I bumped into a work colleague who had made the same joking barge-moving request of the manager.) I told the manager that it was my wife’s birthday, we were out on the deck, and could he get the barges moved? ‘I’ll get right on it,’ he said. ‘I’ll make some phone calls.’ I then said: ‘We only need the two barges on the far left moved, as that is where we are sitting.’ Of course I was spoofing, but he got an uncomfortable look on his face and said: ‘You realize that that is not possible.’ I told him: ‘Yes, I am kidding.’

“Just then, as I returned to the deck, a large tug pulled up to move barges! You can’t script this! I ran back to the bar and told the manager: ‘LOOK! Your calls worked!’ He was happy for the both of us. Unfortunately the tug peeled off a barge on the outside of the flotilla — one that was not obstructing our view.”

Everyone’s a (junk food) critic!


Dennis from Eagan reports: “Subject: These spuds aren’t duds.

“Kwik Trip gas stations have new donut-flavored potato chips. They smell and taste great, but shouldn’t the chips have a hole in them (just for fun)?”

Simple pleasures
Plus: Know thyself!

Norton’s mom of Eau Claire, Wisconsin: “Subject: ‘I am an excellent driver’ — mostly.

“It was like a beautifully choreographed and performed ballet. We all knew our parts and executed them perfectly.

“As I approached the intersection, I noted the order in which each of the other three drivers arrived at their stop sign. I stopped, and then, in perfect order, per the rules that govern how to negotiate an intersection controlled by four stop signs, we each proceeded through, with no hand signals, but only with that eye contact that happens at those intersections. It was beautiful. None of that start-and-stop action. No ‘You go . . . No, you go first’ hand gestures, or those even ruder hand gestures that sometimes occur.

“It was pure. It was simple. It was amazing.

“I proceeded on and smiled because I’d been part of it.

“Now my confession: As I was thinking about how to write this piece, I was stopped at a red light, waiting to turn left. As the light changed to green, I realized that I’d forgotten to turn on my blinker. I guess you can only be perfect every so often.”

See world
Photography Division

Mounds View Swede writes again: “I returned again to the Mounds View compost site to give them more food scraps before leaving town. There were a lot more poppies blooming than just a few days ago.

“The white rim on this red blossom was attention-getting.


“It had rained just a few minutes before I got there, so some blossoms had water droplets on them to make them more interesting.



“This one was way more complex and looked like a double blossom from the front and the back.


“I assume this white one has yellow pollen on the petals.


“I’m glad I brought my camera again. I won’t be there for another 10 days or so and expect a lot of changes by then, with so many plants getting ready to bloom.

“Other blooms that caught my attention in my yard included these bright Asiatic lilies demanding my attention.


“More subtle with their blooms are the milkweed plants. I have about 17 plants this year, but no butterflies yet to enjoy them.


“I have a lot of purple coneflower plants getting ready to bloom, but only one that did. It looks pretty spent already. Bees usually like these, but I have seen very few bees this year.


“The spirea are blooming with their complex blossoms.


“A few new lilies sprouted in the back garden this year. I wonder if they get the measles.


“My neighbor’s hydrangeas are pushing onto my side of the fence, which is fine with me. They really have a lot of blossoms!


“Another look at a different spirea plant.


“And this fern frond was standing high enough to get a shot of the sun shining through its leaves. I enjoy the green glow when this happens.”


Our squirrels, ourselves

Vertically Challenged: “I caught our resident white squirrel hiding behind the lilies while sneaking into the bird feeder outside our kitchen window.”


See world

Grandma Paula: “Subject: Wild life in the country.

“Living in the country, I used to get excited when I would see deer in our yard, and I would grab my camera and say ‘Oh look, there are a bunch of deer! I’ve got to get a picture.’

“Over the years, that excitement has diminished quite a bit. Coyotes, turkeys, snakes (eww!), do not excite me at all, and the darn deer munch on my flowers, the hostas and just about anything green — except the weeds.

“The final straw was waking up to a racket coming from the downstairs bedroom window at 5 o’clock in the morning. When I saw what it was, I grabbed my camera, took a shot of a big fat turkey looking at his reflection and pecking at the window!


“Then I pulled up the blinds, opened the window as fast as I could, and yelled ‘GET THE HECK OUT OF HERE!’ Scared him! He ran away.


“He still hangs out under the bird feeder, but I haven’t caught him at the window again!”

Where we live

Donald reports: “Subject: Just in time!

“Monday’s mail included an opportunity to sign up for . . . SNOW PLOWING.


The sign on the road to the cemetery said “Dead End”
Electronic Board of the Church on Lexington in Shoreview Division

Our Official Electronic Board of the Church on Lexington in Shoreview Monitor — Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul — reports: “Subject: Better in the retelling.

“The most recent message on the electronic board of the church on Lexington in Shoreview reads:

“‘Did you hear the one OUR Pastor told last week?

“‘NO? Come this week . . .'”

Life as we know it
Cafe Division

Al B of Hartland writes: “I was surrounded by coffee, a flatulent squeeze bottle of mustard, and observations. There were no lumps in the recipe. The food was good, but it didn’t need to be. I was hungry. Cervantes said: ‘Hunger is the best sauce in the world.’

“The cafe had no two drink mugs that were alike. I liked that. A free flyswatter with every meal was a nice touch.

“The cafe was a shady tree on a hot day.”

Our times

Babe of Burnsville: “Subject: Ornithologists & old encyclopedias.

“BB’s Official Ornithologist has certainly scored paydirt the last couple of weeks with, I believe, two submissions printed in ‘Pluggers.’

“I really connected with his ‘You’re a plugger if you keep your old encyclopedia for your second childhood.’ I read that the day before I, regretfully, hauled my 1947 World Book Encyclopedia to the recyclers. We’re moving, so space just doesn’t allow. Next trip, hubby’s 1964 Collier’s goes.

“I thank that World Book for much of my general knowledge. My brother was eight years older than me; whenever I had a question, he would say: ‘Let’s look it up in the encyclopedia.’ And so we did, right after heeding our mother’s admonition ‘Wash your hands first!’ With all the pictures in World Book, there were many ‘detours’ on the way as other interesting subjects caught my eye.

“I suppose now it will be Wikipedia, with the hope that what’s found there is actually accurate.”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: We’ve been amazed at how accurate Wikipedia tends to be.

Then & Now
Pop Music Division

John in Highland writes: “Subject: Kinky.

“I took some grief in high school with regard to my music preferences. I had a part-time job, and my co-workers constantly derided the ‘weird’ groups that I fancied. The Byrds? The Yardbirds?? The KINKS???


“I defended my choices by stating that I thought that my groups would be around longer than theirs.

“Although the groups have disbanded, Ray Davies, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Roger McGuinn, and David Crosby are still performing.

“In August, Justin Hayward, former lead singer and songwriter for the Moody Blues, is coming to town. I’ll bet that the majority of the concert-goers will be old guys like me.”

The Permanent Grandsonly Record

Arizona Susan reports: “A month or so ago, I received an email from the church I’m a member of. I take my grandkids to church with me. They had the worship assistants listed for the coming month, and here they had listed my 9-year-old grandson, Cooper, to do the scripture readings. They have never had a child do the readings before, so I called the church office to tell them that Cooper is only 9 years old, and there must be a mixup. But, no . . . Pastor had picked Cooper; he knows he can do it; he wants the youth of the church to become more involved in the Sunday services.

“So the Sunday arrives that Cooper is scheduled for. He’s just fine; not at all nervous. Comes time for the reader to go up to the pulpit, so Cooper walks up there, and Pastor walked up with him and introduced him to the congregation — but when Cooper looked at the papers on the pulpit, he couldn’t read them; he was not tall enough to see the top of the pulpit. So Pastor had the good idea to scootch the pulpit over to the steps going up to the altar, and then Cooper could stand on the bottom step and read from the pulpit. Obviously, the pulpit is on the same level as the congregation, not up in the altar area.



“Of course, Cooper did a wonderful job of reading. He’s so smart; he checked the readings before he left the house in the morning, and some of the words that he did not know how to pronounce, he Googled them to get the correct pronunciation! Love that boy!

“It is a wonderful memory.”

Band Name of the Day: The White Squirrels

Website of the Day:



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