I still vividly remember showing houses in Ledyard during the summer of 1981. Gypsy moth caterpillars were a problem throughout the state but Ledyard was one of the worst hit communities. Driveways were slick with caterpillar droppings and trees were defoliated. As a result, the following year, I became involved with Ledyard's town-wide gypsy moth spraying campaign. 6 years later I had my "fifteen minutes of fame" and appeared on the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather. Here is the story as written in the "Home News" by reporter Steve Adams on September 29, 1989.
Ledyard - Ledyard Resident Appears on CBS Evening News
It's been said that in the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes. For Linda Davis, however, her interlude in the limelight was more like seven seconds. Davis, a Board of Education member and local realtor, appeared September 8 on the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather. She was featured during a report on a fungus that is killing off gypsy moth caterpillars. Davis was involved with the town-wide gypsy moth spraying campaign in 1982, when Ledyard was one of the worst-hit communities in the state.
"The only word I can describe it is "disgusting"" Davis was shown telling correspondent Richard Schlesinger. "They covered the houses, driveways became slippery, we even had stories of people carrying umbrellas". "That was about all you could say in seven seconds," added Davis, who was described as a "community activist" by a network graphic.
The interview was filmed in July at the Ledyard Town Green. CBS cameras also filmed the town's most famous tree, the Ledyard Oak, which was destroyed by the Gypsy moth blight. Schlesinger was shown standing next to a plaque indicating that the tree was killed by gypsy moth caterpillars in 1969. Davis was a member of a volunteer group which banded together to coordinate a spraying campaign during the first year of the blight. Davis, who is seeking re-election to the school board this fall, joked that she will print campaign brochures with the slogan, "Dan Rather comes to me for the news."
I haven't seen any of the little guys nor have I found any news or concerns online of late. I'm glad. Anyone who was a resident of Ledyard back in 1982 will never forget it. It was like a horror movie. You could hear them chomping at night. 30 years later, "Disgusting" is still the only word to describe it.