Thursday, July 23, 2009

Memories

Today is the anniversary of my dad's death. One of my aunts sent this to me:

"In remembrance, from Aunt Mary Jane

As I watch, and listen to, the recollections of the miraculous landing of the space craft Apollo on the moon on July 20, 1969, I recall the memory of one who contributed to that successful landing.

"Bill" was working for "SpeedRing" on Eleven Mile in Warren MI. He wasn't one to talk much about his work, but that week-end he was talking animatedly. He had seen the successful landing, of the USA spacecraft Apollo, on the moon. The entire country watched TV, apprehensively, as the craft was landing. When it touched down, and landed safely on it's spider-like legs, Bill shouted "Yes, Yes, We did it!!".

Many of us never knew the projects or work that Bill was involved in. That day in 1969, he explained that his department at SpeedRing had been developing, for NASA, a type of "stabilizer" for those spider legs in order to guarantee that the craft would not tip over. This was critical to a "safe" landing of the space craft. [I remember my dad explaining to me that it was a gyroscope, designed to stabilize the legs if one of them landed on a rock or in a dip on the surface. He was cleared by the FBI for the project, and authorized to carry a gun in the briefcase when he traveled, even on airplanes -- what a different world that was!]

The Sunday immediately following the Moon Mission, we were together at my sister's home for a one year birthday celebration for their son Matthew.

Bill died on July 23, 1969."

I watched the moon landing in Boston. I called home and talked to my mom, who said dad was excited about how well it went. I didn't talk to him because they decided it was too expensive for me to talk to both of them, long distance, and told me I could talk to him when I called back on his birthday, July 30. Of course, I never got to make that call.

3 comments:

Little Black Scrap Cat said...

A very touching story and memory. Hitting me close to home right now as my hubby just lost his father on Tuesday, July 21st. He was lucky enough to have spent the last 10 days with him....

Snowbird said...

Wow, what a great story. Isn't it wonderful, though, that he lived to see one of his projects make it to the moon. I'm so sorry that you didn't get to talk to him that one last time. We just never know do we. Thanks for sharing that letter.

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