Over the years I had the pleasure of meeting a number of my father’s students. Each of them were unique and special people in their own rights but a number have reached out to me to tell me how much my father changed their lives. When you are someone’s child its much harder to see the impact they have on your. You see them at their best but you also see them at their worst.
My dad and I caught the NASA bug in 1967. I think my dad caught it long before I did but he started watching with me and we talked about what was happening often. My father came to Indiana University on a National Science Foundation post man in space scholarship so I suspect he was into NASA as early as 1959 if not even earlier than that. But he acted as if I had discovered something amazing.
In 1969 he and mom got me a wonderful lunar lander set. The funny thing about that was they had set them up the night before. Sorry mom, Santa had set them up the night before using the last AA batteries in the house. Then Santa that very tired person that he was left the toys on and in the morning (Christmas Day) there were no batteries in the toys. Today there is probably a store open that you could urgently go buy batteries but in 1969 I had to wait a couple of days to be able to play with my new toy. I played with it with or without batteries it was the best toy.
Over the years dad and I had a number of talks about space. Dad was an administrator for the school program for NASA (region 6) for many years. He helped teachers determine what types of science experiments their kids could have preformed by astronauts in space. I wish I had a number you know the teachers and students impacted but sadly I do not. In the end a lot of teachers I knew were impacted so at the very least dad impacted thousands of young science students.
Mom was a teacher as well. Her style was a little different than dad’s sometimes which was always nice. In 1968 I suspect based on doing the math somewhere around early march mom came into the kitchen asked my sister and I a question. “If you could have anything join our family that you wanted what would it be?” First off I doubt that is anywhere near what mom actually asked that day. My answered however is a family legend. I replied “A puppy.” I know my parents talked to me awhile about what was actually coming (a little sister whom I adore but she was never a puppy – mom wouldn’t even let us put a collar on her).
.Your loving son