“My brother, Don”, I once told my grandfather, “is interesting in cowboys and I am interesting in space.” That was accurate, if not well said. As a boy, I always was thinking about space. At a very young age I had a book that told that if you were on the moon you could leap 30 feet. I wanted to go. Surely in my lifetime I WOULD be there even though at that time no successful first steps had been taken beyond Captain Midnight’s TV show.
One evening Ed Howard from next door came by and asked us all to come out and see the sky. It is important to remember that at that time looking at the nighttime sky, unlike many locations now, you could see hundreds of stars and occasionally get a clear view of the Milky Way. That night I looked up along with me family and Ed. There were hundreds of points of light. “There it is!” he pointed.
A faint object crossed the sky. I appeared to blink and it seemed to be flying at a fairly low altitude. “That is Sputnik.” he said. My scientific curiosity was peaked. My patriotism was a bit wounded. My belief that I would make it to the moon was reassured. My entire world was beginning to change in ways I could not imagine. Soon we would all be interested in space.