Astronaut, Surgeon, Revelation


WHAT DO THESE TWO PEOPLE HAVE IN COMMON?

Sally Ride
May 26, 1951 – July 23, 2012

Doctor James Barry
c. 1789 or 1799 – July 26, 1865

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SALLY RIDE

Sally Ride, 1984, from NASA bio

As the first U. S. woman in space, Sally Ride broke much more than a glass ceiling and became a symbol of the strength and courage of women and a role model for young girls.  After she left the space program she continued to encourage interest in science, math and space for young people.  Though she had become a public figure, she was a private person who valued her personal life as her own and refused endorsements.  She chose to reveal in her obituary that she had shared almost thirty years with her partner, Tam O’Shaughnessy.

*****

DOCTOR JAMES BARRY

Portrait of Doctor James Barry, circa 1813-1816, via Wikapedia

I learned about Dr. James Barry through a recent post from Loren Rhoad’s blog, Cemetery Travel:  Adventures in Graveyards Around the World.  She had done a post on Kensal Green Cemetery  in London where he is buried.  Check out her blog if you like old cemeteries.

A few days later I stumbled upon another blog, The Silver Voice, and found an excellent post from last year about Dr. Barry, Margaret Ann Bulkley:  The extraordinary Doctor James Barry.  Read that post if you want more of the fascinating details about this amazing life.

Briefly, Dr. James Barry was a renowned  British surgeon who joined the military and practiced in England and throughout the British Empire.  When he died he instructed that there was to be no post-mortem.  Yet when his body was to be prepared for burial, it was discovered  that Dr. Barry was a woman, MARGARET ANN BULKLEY.  The discovery was not made public until after the burial.  The British military was stunned.  In those days  women were not allowed to study to become physicians.  So in order to get into medical school she disguised herself as a man.  Circumstances forced her to continue this charade until her death at around age seventy.

*****

Two extraordinary women chose to keep their sexuality private until their death in order to maintain the career each had chosen.   Bulkley started out with a secret in order to achieve her goal of becoming a physician when that privilege was denied to women.  Ride chose to not to go public with  her private relationship, not in order to attain her dreams, but apparently to avoid controversy which might diminish achievements or the space programs.

Today there are no barriers to women becoming physicians in any field of medicine they choose.  Perhaps in the future sexual choices will not matter either.

Related Articles
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/3334909/Revealed-Army-surgeon-actually-a-woman.html

http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/wellness/story/2012-07-24/sally-ride-sexuality/56467620/1

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/07/23/157250870/sally-ride-first-american-woman-in-space-is-dead

https://www.sallyridescience.com/

Larry McMurtry auctions off books from his book stores, Booked Up Ink


I just saw this on the Half Price Books FaceBook  page.  Last weekend Larry McMurtry auctioned off books from his several book stores in Archer City.  Check it out on the link below.  And I missed it!

http://blog.hpb.com/hpb-blog/2012/8/13/larry-mcmurtrys-last-book-sale.html

In June I wrote a post about him and his book stores, My Favorite Bibliophile.


SUMMER RE-RUN: Since I didn’t finish any of my drafts this week, here is an old post from July of last year. It had only one comment and no likes.

THE COASTAL CRONE

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…

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