Today’s prompt asks about my career aspirations at age 5. To be honest, I have few recollections about being 5, much less what I desired for a career. So I’ll take a cue from politicians who want to answer a different question, and…answer a slightly different question.
I suspect I may have wanted to be an astronaut, because it was a key year for Project Mercury and sending men into space. I may just as easily have wanted to be a fireman, though we wouldn’t be living behind the fire station (York Rescue #4) until the following year. So I’m going to go with astronaut.
Throughout the 1960s I followed NASA’s space missions. I had notebooks with any articles I could find glued in about them. To be fair, I had other notebooks dedicated to other sciences, and as I looked toward the future, I knew I wanted to be a scientist in some area when I grew up. (As I have mentioned elsewhere, high school freshman biology derailed that idea.)
I recall watching the moonwalk in 1969 while sitting on the floor—that was a safety consideration since we were hearing gunshots from the race riots happening outside in town. (Listen to the Audio Chimera podcast episode #12 for my recollections of this.)
How disappointing that people lost interest in space a few missions later (until Apollo 13 garnered attention, albeit for a negative reason). The loss of the space shuttles didn’t help either. As for those people who don’t see the reason to go into space because we have so many problems here on earth, well—maybe we can do two things (or many!) at the same time.
Sidebar: In the summer of 1966 the commercials for a new show began appearing on TV. I told someone I was interested in seeing this new show, which was called something like “Star Track.” It turned out to be Star Trek, but over the years I’ve heard so many people call it Star Track. I even made a joke about this in Aliens! 3 Miles, Turn Left, which an editor had trouble with. No, sir, it is not a typo, it’s deliberate! Point that out any way you want. And let’s not forget the technology of Star Trek is with us today—he wrote while typing on a pad similar to the ones Kirk and Spock used….