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Memories Of The Event That Changed My Life Forever

©Kathleen Marden

     I was a typical adolescent in rural southeastern New Hampshire, in 1961. My grandparents ran a small farm, across the street from my childhood home, where during the warm summer months, my mother, brothers and I helped out preparing the land for planting, sowing seeds, and weeding the garden. We picked the bounty of fresh, succulent beans, corn, tomatoes, peppers, squash, and peas when they had matured, and delighted in the fruits of our labor. There was an abundance of love in my family and the work we accomplished together.

     My mother was a farmer, craftswoman, and stay at home mom. My father ran a small business and was scoutmaster to my two younger brothers and many of the boys in our local area. I belonged to 4-H where I crafted covered cigar boxes and sewed pretty outfits that won ribbons at the Deerfield Fair. Life was secure and relatively happy. 

     In September 1961, I was enjoying the first month of the seventh grade at Daniel J. Bakie School, in Kingston Plains. The school bus arrived at my house each morning and drove us home in the afternoon. My school awarded me a responsible position as a crossing guard and bus monitor, to ensure the safety of my fellow elementary school students. This instilled a sense of pride in knowing that I was respected by school leaders. I supervised first grade students when the teacher took her lunch break and assisted in the cafeteria. On Sunday mornings, I volunteered as an aide to the Sunday school teacher. My extended family gathered in the afternoon to socialize with one another and catch up on the week’s news.

     Pease Air Force Base, a nuclear facility, was one of three nearby military bases that caused a sense of uneasiness in the youngsters in my community. Periodically, the school’s bell would sound, and we were instructed to assume a fetal position under our desks or to lineup in tiny balls, arms protecting our heads, along the hallway. Nuclear war loomed as a concern, and people from the city were building bomb shelters at their summer homes. The Kingston Barrel Factory (now a Superfund site), located a mile or so from my family’s home, spewed toxic fumes into the air necessitating home confinement from time to time. The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard built nuclear submarines across the river from nearby Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  

     I had arrived home from school on the afternoon of September 20th, anticipating a social visit with my mother before I did my afternoon chores. But this day she was preoccupied with a phone call from her sister Betty Hill. It was not the typical conversation that I was accustomed to hearing. There was concern over possible contamination from the “flying saucer” that had hovered over their 1957 Chevy Bel Air the previous night, when they were traveling through the New Hampshire’s White Mountain region. Flying saucer! Aliens! I was completely unaware that life existed on other planets! On this day, my life changed forever.

     The rest of the story, including the scientific evaluation of the evidence and the military’s interest in what occurred is told in Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience. The 60th anniversary edition updates the first book (2007) with new scientific discoveries and supporting evidence.

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