Friday, January 27, 2017

Crying...over you.

Do you remember the first time you cried? Not the I'm-hungry-there's- a-smelly-stuff-thing-near-what-I-think-are-called-legs. Hey! I-need-a-little-help-here kind.

When was the first time you cried because something so terrible had happened that you could not process it in anyway? When your parental figure just had to hold you and let you get it all out?

I'm sure there were times before but the first time I can remember crying, really weeping until my eyes hurt.

50 years ago tonight.  January 27 1967.

When I was a kid I loved the space program and, of course, dinosaurs.  Thereforet, this show made me happy...

But there was no Doctor to console me when I was 10 years old.  I knew the names of every astronaut on every flight.  I followed every launch and listened intently to Walter Cronkite and Jules Bergman talking Project Mercury capsules, Gus Grissom's capsule sinking after he splashed down in the Pacific and the Navy having to scramble to pluck him out of the sea before he went down with the ship.  John Glenn's words "Zero G and I feel fine, capsule is turning around.  Oh! that view is tremendous!" I have a Mercury capsule with GI Joe in it.  Right on my book shelf.  GI Joe and his capsule also came with a yellow 78 rpm that had the launch and a narrated version of Glenn's journey around the Earth.  That record is long gone, but I'm fine with it because my brain has been kind enough to allow me access to parts of the recording.  I have to take the small wins where I can get them.

Gemini flights with the Mercury Astronauts and other guys with the right stuff.  Ed White's walk in space.  Two ships docking practice. I have a plastic model of the two man Gemini capsule, all parts painted as they actually were - I had the books!  We were going to the moon.

In my ten year old memory, I had no concept of people "dying".  Everyone I knew was still there, and always would be.  My mother's mom had died when I was four, and I had no idea what was going on, and it appears my parents wanted it that way, as even today I have no idea of the woman or that time.  And now no one left to tell me.  So I just went on until January 27, 1967.

"People die," my mother said. "They're still your heroes, right."

"But they hurt...", I said.

"And you do too," she said.  "But there will be more."

More.  The world goes on, as I and most humans on the planet realize at some point.  The question is how fast and how far, and is it worth it to you?  You may need to cry again.

I'm not sure how folks will answer that.  But lemme tell you, ever since I had a wallet, in that wallet was a picture of Ed White during his space walk "floating on his tin can".  Two and half years later Americans were on the moon (really, they were).  And that day was one of the best days of my still young life.

Ed White  Roger Chaffee Gus Grissom

I still mourn these men, and am still puzzled why NASA used straight oxygen for the guys to breathe in the TINY Apollo capsule? Scientists might have remembered that oxygen feeds fire, and pure oxygen would do what, brainiacs? But....never mind.

While I may have shed tears in later times (that would be all of 3) nothing was like this day for me. People die. People burn up and die. Be glad you had the chance to know them. In any time.

"Challenger, go with throttle up."

"Crying over you,
Crying over you,
Yes, now you're gone,
and from this moment on,
I'll be crying, crying, crying, crying
Yes, crying, crying,
Over you." 

Roy Orbison

Man, I miss them still.

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