In Ye Olden Times; When the Moon Came to Town

Published on
October 14, 2022
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In Ye Olden Times; When the Moon Came to Town

Originally appeared in the Bridgton News of March 12th, 2020

Howdy neighbor!

Today I have a very special article for you; special in two ways.  First, it commemorates a truly unique occasion, but more importantly, it concerns an event which took place at a comparatively recent time in our history.  This week’s article comes from the Bridgton News of Thursday, March 16th, 1989 – a date I am sure most of my readers will remember.  It concerns the time when, a generation ago, the children of our school district were given a remarkable opportunity; the chance to hold a piece of the Moon in their hands.

When we look at history I think it’s important to remember that it didn’t just happen “way-back-when” in the days of top-hats and carriages.  In the next few weeks I wanted to focus on history from the last century, so if I reproduce an article which any of you are familiar with or remember, please do write back in and tell me some more about it.  I would love to hear your stories.  And now, let me take you back to the day when the “SAD 61 Kids Held the Moon.”

“She stood there, holding the moon in her hands.  It was just another day at school.

The Moon Rocks – real live (well, real dead) rocks from the surface of our only natural satellite, have been making a tour of the SAD 61 school district’s classrooms over the past week.

Last Friday, Crooked River Elementary School teacher Brian Cushing visited Sebago Elementary School, where August Murphy and several dozen of her schoolmates got to hold the Moon in their hands.  The rocks were well-pulverized specimens trapped in Lucite; students viewed them under a microscope.

“Oh neat!” third grader Nick Foley exclaimed, gazing at one of the six slides.  “It looks like different sorts of crystal.”  Nick was so fascinated by these views of the Moon that he wouldn’t leave the display area after his “turn,” and began reading the instruction book that came with the slides.

Children had previously been entertained by a video on the Apollo program.  They saw photos from the lunar surface.  They saw the highlands and the maria, the rilles and the mountains.  Then they looked at the small samples of basalt, beccia, anorthosite, highland soil, orange soil and maria soil.

They learned how the Moon may have formed.  They learned strange facts: that, for example, there are no maria on the Far Side; that the Moon Rocks – the very pieces of the Moon they held in their hands – were older than any rocks on earth, and by about one billion years too.

“I went to Goddard Space Center, run by NASA, to learn about the rocks and bring back these samples to show you,” Cushing told the kids.  “I learned a lot there.”  As did the SAD 61 kids this past week, [and] as can the SAD 61 community this Thursday, Cushing will make a presentation and have the Moon Rocks on view at Crooked River School from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 16.  All are invited.”

Did any of you go to see these when they were here?

Till next time!