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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Reflections on my childhood

As this month ends I have been reflecting on my early years.  At work we are always running a contest of one sort or another.  This past month has been around NASA space history as a hook.  Well on my desk I have one of my paper models.  It is the Gemini Titan rocket you see above.  Now having a model to work from I started drawing this piece above.  The problem was - in order to draw it all with some degree of detail I used a seperate sheet of paper for each stage ( the bottom stage being too big to draw on one sheet).  Thank God I have taught myself photoshop so I could scan them all into my computer and peace them all back together as you see it there.  Drawing this made me remember the bits of history that I experienced.  The first memory was being in elementary class and my teacher had pulled in a tv so that we could watch the first man land on the moon.  That is the first "clear" memory.  There is a fuzzy memory of what NASA was doing while I lived in Puerto Rico.  I can remember going to Cape Canaveral with the family as a young teenager.  Then when I was in Mexico on my senior trip to Yucatan with my friend Erik we stopped our site seeing for one day to sit in a Salvation Army childrens home to watch the first Shuttle Launch.  And while staying with my older sister in Florida during a Christmas break I stood on her balcony in Orlando and watched an Air Force Titan (much like the one above) ark up into the sky. I could not believe that I could hear it go up from that far away. 
     Like most young boys of the 50's and 60's I was enamoured with space travel.  I wanted to be an astronaught.  In Asbury, in my speech class I used the Shuttle Manual I had to deliver a speech on how use the shuttle galley(complete with a working carboard model of it that I made and wearing a lab coat I bought and Shuttle patches sown onto it.  Above me right now on my wall is a patch I got from one of the shuttle ground crew.  When I worked for Airport Security in the TSA in Colorado She came through and I had the luck to be the one screening her.  She worked on "STS 107" The ill fated final mission of the shuttle Columbia.  I remember both lost Shuttles vivdly.  A tragedy, all the losses that NASA suffered, to be sure.  But, what sticks in my head is that we as a nation mourned for them, picked up the pieces, figured out what went wrong and kept going up there. 
This Patch reminds me of that point.  I feel that my facination for space travel led me to an avenue out of my own hardships of math and reading since it lead to my interest in science and science fiction.  My father will remember defending me to the principle of the school in Mexico when I turned in a term paper about black holes.  I had a history teacher that told me to my face that I would amount to nothing in life.  When she announced that we had to turn a term paper about anything we wanted to I did mine about the black holes.  I did it to spite her but I did my research(well before the internet existed) for that paper.  When she refused to take it I balked and my dad went to the principle.  Upon confirming what the teacher had said about doing it about anything the principle took to the head of the schools science department who gave me an A. 
     While I did not go to work for NASA - in one form or another my interest for it helped me reach some of the successes  I have gotten.  We all have something that catches our interests early in life.  For those who have little kids - encourage those interest (just as MY parents did).  It may go nowhere but it will still help shape them as they grow.  So Live Long and Prosper ....