National news often affects us at a local level.

This was true Jan. 28, 1986, when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded a little more than a minute after liftoff from Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla.

Seven were killed: Francis R. Scobee, commander; Michael J. Smith, pilot; Ronald McNair, mission specialist; Ellison Onizuka, mission specialist; Judith Resnik, mission specialist; Gregory Jarvis, payload specialist; and Christa McAuliffe, payload specialist and teacher.

McAuliffe's presence on the shuttle made it all the more painful. A teacher from New Hampshire, she was to be the first civilian in space and she planned to teach lessons to students back on Earth.

It could have been one of our own teachers up there. That's how it felt at the time. For my generation, it was experienced and remembered the way John F. Kennedy's assassination was for the Baby Boomers.

At Rockland District High School, a teacher listened to coverage of the launch on the radio, then ran down to the library to watch it on TV.

"Librarian Eunice Stadler said after the news spread, teachers and students were in the library throughout the afternoon to receive updates on the explosion," The Courier-Gazette reported Jan. 30.

"The only word that I can use to explain the reaction of the students and teachers is disbelief," she told the paper.

Tom Molloy's fifth- and sixth-grade class at the Owls Head school was stunned by the fiery images.

One of our summer people wrote in to the Black Cat to report she saw the explosion from her place in Florida.

News outlets this week are reporting that now, after 32 years, two astronauts aboard the International Space Station plan to teach the lessons McAuliffe was going to teach from space in tribute to her.


Jan. 28, 1969, a headline on the front page of The Courier-Gazette said the first residents were moving into the Methodist Conference Home on Summer Street. The first were four retired ladies. The Rev. Gerald Kinney was the executive director of the recently completed building.


Speaking to the Jaycees in January 1969, Sen. Edmund S. Muskie said they should not tune out the youth movement. "He noted that but two percent of the 18 to 24 age group are activists or militants," the Courier reported. "In describing the youth of today, he commented that no generation has been better educated or more involved in national affairs or had more exposure to the world in general than the current youth generation."

The column talks about the promise of the American Dream, arguing it does come true.

"Don't tune them out," he advised his listeners. "To turn a deaf ear to young Americans would be to deny that promise, that hope."

The column notes the Jaycees ranged from age 21 to 36, being youth on one end of that spectrum and "solid, settled citizen and family man" on the other.

He was talking about the Baby Boomers. It's interesting to read what is said about the various generations when they are young. How will today's articles about millennials sound in 30 years?


Sue Thurston of South Thomaston, who happens to be my wife's mother, recently dropped off one of her many books of ancient newspaper clippings. Her grandfather Earle C. Dow was a local newspaperman in the 1930s, and he left behind a treasure trove of photos and stories.

This particular book of clippings seems to hold a lot of columns on recipes and household tips under headers like "Almanack Hints." I'm not sure what papers they were taken from. The clippings include stories from the Courier and Portland Press Herald and other publications now out of print.

I spotted a clipping under the headline: "Dog Bubble Bath Gift Appreciated."

"Here is that unusual gift to warm the heart of any hostess, for the old saw 'love me, love my dog,' is as true as it is trite. If you are visiting friends who are dog owners, a bottle of bubble bath for the dog tucked into your bag will solve the problem of 'that little something which shows appreciation,' yet is out of the beaten path.

"The really thoughtful guest, of course, would not only present a bottle, but might even give the dog its first bubble bath shampoo just to show how easy it is on both man and beast. Whip two tablespoons of it to a froth in a cup of warm water and apply with hands or sponge, working it through his coat. Wipe it off with a towel. DON'T RINSE. That's all there is to it — no slush, no muss and no getting yourself and the dog in a fine frenzy and the bathroom or garage a mess."

If you do happen to pop in on that friend of yours and give their dog a bath during your social visit, please shoot me an line and let me know how it went. Shouldn't be weird at all.

Editor Daniel Dunkle of The Courier-Gazette lives in Rockland. Send in your stories, photos and memories via email at:; or snail mail to: 91 Camden St., Suite 403, Rockland, ME 04841.