I miss you and I love you. I think of you every day.
Today, Wally Funk, 82, became the oldest person to fly in suborbital space. She trained as an astronaut in the 60s when women were not allowed to become astronauts. As I was watching, I couldn’t help but think of Dan and mom one Christmas.
Dan was fascinated with space exploration. He was going to be the first Chaffee in space. When Roger Chaffee was named as one of the crew members for Apollo One, Dan was both thrilled and disappointed. He wrote a letter to Astronaut Chaffee and, to his surprise and delight, Dan received a lovely letter in return.
Excitement turned to horror and grief on January 27, 1967. Dan never again spoke about becoming an astronaut. But that came later, after my story.
My older brother Scott was in the army, stationed in Germany and away from home on Christmas. We were spending Christmas at my grandparents. Santa brought Dan a space helmet — the space capsule was awaiting him at home. Dan was also interested in becoming a newscaster as a fall back career, so as a present to Scott, Dan taped interviewed the first woman in space — Mom.
The only thing I remember from that interview Dan asking if the helmet was a problem. Mom said she didn’t wear a helmet because it mussed her hair. The look on Dan’s face and my mom’s efforts to keep from laughing were front-of-mind today when Wally Funk finally made it to space.
I’m sure Dan and Mom were watching.
For the third time in the history of this condo, there has been a water issue from the upstairs condo unit. People need to learn that plumbing issues do not heal themselves!
Last month I went to the kitchen to make coffee and feed the kitties. I saw a wet spot on the carpet and of course thought one of the kitties thought outside the box. I tried to mop it up and the spot got bigger and bigger. Not the kitties.
I called the management company and they sent Tom to check it out. He looked at a couple of the units but nothing seemed wrong in any of them. In the meantime, I saw the spot was growing exponentially. Opening a closet, I found a soaked carpet in there as well. For years the closet has been used for as an extension of kitchen storage. The appliances and dishes had to be removed and the stacked wooden shelving dismantled before the carpet could be removed. I also got busy using the Shop-Vac .
Shopping with mom was always an adventure. She hated shopping from the time she was a little girl, she hated shopping. Her mother would take her to the store to buy a new bonnet and the sales people would oooh and aaah over the chubby baby. Mamie (mom’s mom) would set her up on the counter and mom would sweep all the bonnets onto the floor. She’d fuss as they tried to try things on her. From then on she was a terror at shopping.
On the other hand, she bought the best presents! Long before online shopping, there was mail order and mom rocked those catalogues: Montgomery Ward and Sears Christmas catalogues were the best! At holiday time she would get so many catalogues, the mailbox was overflowing every day. Russ Emenheiser, the postmaster of the local office, would have to put them aside and hand them off when mom went in to collect her mail. If the weather was bad or the number of catalogues was overwhelming, Russ would hand deliver. He and his family lived two doors down.
Happy birthday — or as we used to say to each other — Happy Happy Joy Joy!
Another birthday and you’re not here. So much is going on on the political front, you should be here to see it.
There have been many time in recent days, I think about calling you, but I don’t know the number where you are. I still have a copy of your outgoing message. Even though I very accurately remember your voice, I still play the message once in a while, just to hear you talk for a few seconds.