Jul 12, 2011

Space Cadet

My mom came by the other day, and as we were chit chatting she asked if I wanted her to write a guest post for me. Since she's pretty awesome and has guest blogged for me before, I thought this would be a fun. The plan was to post it this weekend but blogger wouldn't let me post anything until really late Sunday night. I was so busy packing I realized I didn't make anything for Back to Basics today, so the timing worked out beautifully! Without further ado, I give you my mom!

The end of the space shuttle program brought back a flood of memories and a realization: I am a child of the space age.

I am old enough to have been there from the early, early stages, if not the start. Little kids had heard of Sputnik. When I was sick and home from school one day, my mom sat me in front of the television and said, “Watch this and remember. This will be history.” And John Glenn, an Ohio native, orbited the earth.

The space program took off, and we followed the launches. We were horrified when Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee died on the launch pad. Just a few years later, a man landed on the moon – and a man from my home state, Ohio, had the honor of that “giant leap for mankind.” School kids could actually spell Neil Armstrong’s hometown, Wapakoneta. Ohio led the nation in number of astronauts.

When we went backpacking, we carried Tang, used on early space missions. A special treat? Freeze-dried ice cream.

1981, the first space shuttle was launched, and my first child was born. The shuttles were hot stuff.

Then one January day in 1986, I was working in the newsroom. The Reuters machine next to me began ringing its alarm bell, and when I read the alert – the space shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after takeoff – my blood ran cold. It was beyond imagination, made worse by hundreds of thousands of school kids watching as the first teacher – Christa McAuliffe – was killed with six other crew members. The image of a Y-shaped vapor trail remains embedded in my memory.

But the space program survived, and your host blogger, Becky, spent some cool Girl Scout events at local space centers, working in simulators. Robotics clubs became popular. The Hubble telescope sent back unbelievably beautiful images.

We use technology developed for the space program every day. Check out your cell phone, Dustbuster and – don’t I wish – Tempur-Pedic mattress. Today, when I backpack, I don’t carry tin vagabond stoves and buddy burners, but lightweight titanium stoves – and sporks. The tents are not heavy canvas, but lightweight nylon. And the one piece of equipment each person must carry? An emergency “space blanket.”

The space revolution is turning into the information and technological revolution. Sometimes I feel I am on information overload. So I gather my lightweight backpacking gear and get out under the stars – and try to distinguish shooting stars from the satellites orbiting the earth.

Are you a child of the space age? Thanks for the guest post Mom! (Back to Basics will be back in full swing next week!)

(Quick! Only a few more days to enter my blogiversary giveaway!)


Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Hi Becky's mom! I met you when I came to visit Becky in April. :)

Great post - you experienced so much history. History that I fear my generation takes a bit for granted. I think we forget how significant these events of the past were!!

BFraze said...

Thanks, Lisa! You know, there is a cell phone app that lets you hold up your smart phone and identify constellations? GET OUT! :-)

Amber said...

Aw great guest post!! I agree with Lisa, I think generations today take history for granted a little too much.

Gracie said...

I feel kind of close to the space program, especially the Challenger tragedy. My aunt was working closely with the program at the time and knew the astronauts well. She had bought us stuffed spaceman toys for Christmas and got us as excited about the launch as she was. I was only four when the Challenger exploded, but I remember my aunt calling crying to talk to my mom, and my mom explaining that the astronauts had died. It was so unusual for my aunt - known for her strong personality - to cry that it made a big impact on me.

Mandy said...

I loved reading this. As someone who worked with NASA, it is crazy to think of how far the space program had come in the past 40 years.

And woot woot for John Glen (and you) being Ohio natives! #buckeyeforever

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