Monday, July 23, 2012

Goodbye Ms. Ride

A long time ago, I learned about Sally Ride in school.  I decided then and there I wanted nothing more than to be an astronaut like her.

I begged and pleaded with my folks to send me to Space Camp.  Do you remember that movie?  Those kids were so cool.

I knew if I could just convince my parents to send me, I could learn to be an awesome pilot and of course, NASA would immediately hire my 4th grade self into the space program because I would be just that good. Or maybe I would accidentally get launched into space like those cool space camp kids did.  It could happen!

And then in 4th grade, our teachers gathered us together in the library to watch the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger.  You know, the one with Christa McAuliffe, the first teacher, ever to go into space.  And I knew almost immediately that something was wrong, having seen launches before.  I didn't think it was right, all that smoke.  And then we knew.

And no one survived.  And by 5th grade, I didn't want to be an astronaut any more.  I remember my dad asking me if me not wanting to be an astronaut had anything to do with Challenger's tragic accident.  I took a deep breath and lied saying of course not.  I just wanted to be a marine biologist now.  Because I think in 5th grade, I wasn't ready to face up to the fear of my own mortality.

But I never forgot Sally Ride.  Never forgot how she inspired me to follow my dreams, no matter where they took me.  To not let being a girl be an excuse for failure.  And I know I can't be the only girl who looked up to her.  

She passed away today, and when I mentioned it to a younger co-worker of mine, she sheepishly admitted she had to look up who she was.  And that my friends is tragic.  When I read the news, I told my husband, and then got so choked up I couldn't talk.  Heck, even writing this has me in tears.  I didn't realize how much she meant to me until she was gone. 

So, while stupid cancer has taken another great from us, I won't forget her. For the little girl that I was, she was the moon and the stars and everything in between.

Ride Sally Ride!

Seriously.. Thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. She was a hero of mine also. While you were in primary school, I was applying for Teacher in Space.

    Today is a sad day. When I see you, I'll tell you her mother's connection to All Saints.