The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #14997   Message #131739
Posted By: Peter T.
04-Nov-99 - 01:32 PM
Thread Name: BS: Brushes with Greatness
Subject: RE: BS: Brushes with Greatness
Not a musician, but once when I was an 11 year old on an American Air Force Base, I was sitting in a barber chair when the astronaut Gus Grissom came in, followed by a pile of staff people. He was being given a civic welcome in town some weeks after his flight, and I had been completely obsessed with the space program (as were all kids in those days), so I knew all the details. His aides said that he was in a hurry, and he asked me personally if I would mind giving up my seat for him. Thrilled, I did, and proceeded to talk with him for about 15 minutes about what space was like, what had happened when his capsule sank, and the usual kid questions. He was absolutely gracious, very generous, very funny, gave me an autographed picture and other souvenirs he had. And then after awhile his aides began to get restless, but he just kept talking with me, and I realize now without any sentimentality that he had gotten into being a kid again with me, seeing himself through me, about how great it was, and all the things he still wanted to do. He got more and more enthusiastic, all about zooming around, and space, and the moon. Finally, he got up to go, and he shook my hand, and said he had to go off to this dumb reception, what a privilege it had been to meet me, and how great it had been, and off he went, staff and brass in tow. Needless to say, I bragged about meeting this great astronaut for days, until everyone got sick of it.
Then later, when he died on the launch pad, I was in mourning for days. He is the most unremembered of the early astronauts, but not by me. He is still my model for a American hero (it is a terrible cliche, and I know his personal life wasn't perfect, but I can't help it.)
yours, Peter T.