September 9th, 2006


That may have been a small one for Neil....but it sure was a big one for me !

Strange things happen...coincidence wise.

While I've been on jury service I have been reading Andrew Smith's Book, Moondust, which Sharon bought me for Christmas. The book follows the author on a 'road trip' to meet as many of the Apollo moonwalkers as possible, there being only 9 of the original 12 still alive. Charles 'Pete' Conrad died in a motorcycle accident in '99, James Irwin Died in 1991 shortly after giving a lecture at the MoD in Whitehall which I sadly missed (but have the Transcript to), and Al Shepherd of Mercury 7 fame died in 1998.

Yesterday on the way into work I picked up a copy of the Metro and discovered that Al Bean Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 12 is speaking at the Roundhouse in Camden.

Al Bean as I think I may have said in earlier post is one of my favorite Apollo era Astronauts, and the Crew of 12 were certainly the closest crew and reading accounts or watching them on the mission they certainly radiate a joy, and feeling of fun which has rarely come accross from other crews or missions.

Astronauts like anyone have their ups and down and many of the Apollo Astronauts lives went through very hard times on their return.

Al Bean and the rest of his Team remained close though and Al later became the most wonderful artist. Uniquely in Space art he uses the tools and materials from the Lunar expedition to add texture and patterns to his work and even includes pieces of LEM mylar and tiny pieces of fabric from his Mission patches which contain dust from the moon. He does great work. I have many books on Spaceflight and one of my fav's is Beans monogram, full of his interpretive artwork.

Needless to say having read Smith's Book, and having such a fondness for Bean I was excited to hear that he is in London and decided to buy a ticket....

So on Sunday night I will get to see my first and probably favorite Moonwalker. I will take two of my Apollo12 books and see if he will sign it for me.

It has always been a dream of mine to actually meet and shake the hand of an Apollo Astronaut and to shake his hand.

God willing, this is a dream that will come true. I know i will remember it for the rest of my life as I will remember standing across from Mount Everest at over three miles altitude...probably about as near to space as I will ever get....

Strangely enough,...while I was at Everest base camp I didn't experience the Epiphany that I thought I might experience...However Al Bean's quote was with me...."is that all there is"... expressed after the excitement and thrill of the moon mission during the Hiatus on the return trip....

To meet Al Bean tomorrow would be every bit as monumental event for me as standing across from Everest...

and its strange really, because when he meets me...I'll just be another awe struck face among probably tens of thousands he has met since his return...

He will never realise that some part of me has always admired him, for his sense of fun and humor, humility, and admired his artwork and who has truly inspired me by what he and Pete Conrad's team accomplished …… and most importantly the way they did it.
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