A personal account of the times by a newly hired stewardess
On July 20, 1969, it was the power of silence that marked my memory that day, at the Pan Am Stewardess College. The lunar module Eagle was about to land on the surface of the Moon, carrying Commander Neil Armstrong and Edwin A. “Buzz” Aldrin. I was living a momentous moment in history as the US raced for technological superiority with their Cold War enemy, the Soviet Union. The serious expression of two Pan Am pilots caught my attention. The tenacious determination in their eyes, for success at any cost, made me think of their dogfight attitude that earned them the title of “Sky Gods.” How small the world suddenly seemed as I stared at the Moon’s surface. In that moment, I wanted to be an explorer. One who is brave enough to venture off the beaten path, not to follow others, but to find my own unique way to happiness and success. I thought of my Italian grandmother when she would point to the full moon and say. “Listen mia cara, there is a time for everything. You are your thoughts so the energy you give them creates your experiences. The moon will always listen to you and it will follow you wherever you go. It is the keeper of what is in your heart.” Loud cheers shattered my thoughts, as Armstrong became the first human to step on the Moon. He would come home with samples and scientific observations, but in that moment as he moved across its surface, studded with craters and strewn with rock and dust, I wondered what private message he would leave behind?
On September 1, 1969, I opened the Pan Am Clipper newspaper and read. “KNOW ALL YE BY THESE PRESENTS, that Dora Dudby has become a certified member of Pan Am’s First Moon Flights’ Club.” On the back of the card was Pan Am’s signature saying, “Pan Am makes the going great.” All you had to do was call Pan Am reservations and book a flight for the first lunar space tourism travel. Pan Am would handle the reservation with the same care and efficiency that you would expect from the most experienced airline in the world. Some 40,000, would-be moon flight passengers, had already signed up. At the end of the article titled “Give The Lady Her Ticket, Please!” was another article. In that story an overzealous lady in Sidney, Australia had called Pan Am reservations to book for the first commercial flight to Mars.