About Me

My Photo
I am a children's writer from the Virgin Islands. Growing up there was like living inside a history book; an imagination stimulator. Consequently I've been writing for just about forever. I am a graduate of the Institute of Children's Literature and a member of SCBWI.

Blog Schedule

I post on Monday and Thursday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Outer Space Connection - Part One

When we were living up at Gifft Hill one of the first things Dad did was put in a small generator. It meant that Mom could do laundry using the wringer washer. It meant that Erva and I could listen to Saturday morning Story Hour on the radio and play Dad's records. It also provided light at night, as each room in our four room castle had a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling. But I suspect the true ulterior motive was so that Dad could operate his ham radio.

No matter where we lived he had a space where he set up his gear. There were maps on the walls marked with the places he’d “talked” to and he had tons of postcards sent to him from hammers he’d connected with. Now that I think about it, hamming is like the internet, like blogging. It was a way of talking to people from all over the world. Dad talked in Morse code. He could send and receive up to 60 (yes 60!) words a minute. I still remember his call letters, KV4BO.

All that to tell you about this. One night, Dad called us into my parent's bedroom where his radio was. 

“Do you hear that?” he asked. Out of a tiny speaker came this little high toned “beep, beep, beep, beep.”

Ok, yeah, we heard it, so what….

“Follow me,” he said. And he took us outside. It was a clear night. The sky was absolutely glittering with stars.

Ok, yeah, so why are we out here looking up at the sky?

“There! There do you see it?” He was exited.

We looked where he pointed. It wasn't a plane…no blinking lights, besides it was too high. It wasn't a meteor…it was moving too slow. And it certainly wasn't Superman.

It was a moving star!

“That’s Sputnik,” he said. “The beeping you heard is its signal.”

File:Sputnik 1.jpg
Sputnik
A star was making a noise!

It was 1957, I was seven years old, and that was my introduction to space. I had no comprehension or understanding of satellites, or the space race, nor did I understand the significance, the importance, of the moment. What I remember was how strange and exciting it was to see a star moving across the sky and hear the noise it made.

Later on we had a cat that spit and hissed at any little thing. We named her Spitnik.

Did you have a moment when you were introduced to space? Is there anything about the space program that interests you?

8 comments:

Laura Marcella said...

What a wonderful story! My dad was always into space and it was he who introduced me to the wonders of the universe. Whenever we were outside he'd remind us to look up and admire the sky. I loved it when he'd point out the planets and constellations!

Ghadeer said...

I remember when I was first introduced to space. It was at the beach at night with one of my uncles who is a Physicist. He went on and on about this fascinating universe and I remember being just so....stupefied.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

How cool that you got to see it!
And I like the name you gave your cat.

Barbara Watson said...

I was born the year astronauts landed on the moon and always wished I'd been able to see it live. What a thing that would've been to experience.

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

Spitnik! What a wonderful name for a cat! I really got into the idea of space when I was a Tween, reading Ray Brandbury's Martian Chronicles and some of his other collections. For a long time I was hooked on Sci Fi, although I don't read much of it now. But his books were really visionary. So much of what he predicted has come true.

C. Lee McKenzie said...

I loved this! I'm making a note to name my next cat something spunky!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

LOL - Spitnik.

And I did name my cat Spunky, which is also my nickname.

J.L. Campbell said...

Hi, Bish, Love the name you gave the cat. Can't exactly when I had just discovered space of thought about the mystery of it.