John Glenn, 1998

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.

Commerative Stamp, Feb. 20, 1962

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!


  1. That’s so cool! I was born in 1962, but I remember the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969. We watched it on our black and white console TV. I just read that NASA obtained 1.1 billion dollars in private funding to relaunch space exploration as early as 2015. Pretty exciting stuff!


  2. Yes, the era of John Glenn was a very different time. Now, we are de-funding NASA. I’m glad to learn that there is a private donation to the program! A clever title for this post. He is a remarkable man indeed. Nice to remember your ride with him! I enjoyed this post, Jonel.


  3. Incredible. I don’t know much about this man, but I do know enough to consider him both noble and heroic. I think the “married 68 years” part impresses me equally as him being an astronaut does. You just don’t see a whole lot of that anymore.

    Thanks for sharing this again with us!

    ~ Cara


  4. This post is really clever! I was expecting you to say you were on a plane with him. I have special memories about space travel too and can remember my young boyfriend (now spouse) gazing at the night sky and saying, “One of these days we are going to land on the moon.” I thought he was a brilliant fascinating fellow. And then John Glenn did it and proved Bill was right all along. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!


    • I am so glad that you caught the humor! And I remember Sputnik and gazing at the night sky. We have lived through so much and now they talk of Mars. Thank you for stopping by to remember and comment.


  5. I am still trying to catch-up on posts missed during my time off and am late for this one. Interesting that since you posted, Neil Armstrong died and this got me thinking about all of the other astronauts, then I read this. I too still remember Sputnik and the beginnings of space exploration, very exciting for a young lad! Now, as an elder, I am torn between that excitement and more down-to-earth concerns that could use the energy and funding of the space program to improve things on this planet…


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