It must have been about 1966 when John Glenn and I rode up together – just the two of us. We never exchanged a word. He just gave me that gentlemanly smile as we boarded and the doors closed for the ascent.
Ok…I rode up in an elevator with John Glenn. His wife, Annie, was a patient in the Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas for surgery and my mother was there for surgery also. I thought I recognized him, but I was too shy to ask, “Are you John Glenn?” I don’t remember who got off first, but the next day I read in the paper that his wife was in the Methodist Hospital and knew that indeed I had ridden up with John Glenn.
My memories of him go back to February 20, 1962 when as high school students we were all called to the gym to hear over the loud-speaker via the radio (yes, I am a crone, remember) of his three orbits around the earth in the Friendship 7 Mercury spacecraft and splashdown in the vicinity of Grand Turk Island.
John Glenn will be 90 years old on July 18, 2011 and was recently interviewed on the CBS News commenting on the space program. He has had a long and varied career – combat pilot in World War II and the Korean conflict, one on the first seven astronauts, U.S. senator from Ohio and candidate for president of the U.S. in the 1984 Democratic primaries. Then in 1998 at the age of 77 he ventured into space again as a member of the Space Shuttle Discover crew to study the effects of space on aging and became the oldest human to go into space.
He and Annie have been married for 68 years and have established “The John and Annie Glen Historic Site” at his boyhood home in New Concord, Ohio. There will be a birthday celebration there for him on July 18.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOHN! You still inspire us!