Mommy’s little space cadet a little too well grounded




One year when I was in elementary school, I was chosen to go to a summer space camp. It was a special privilege, the sort of special privilege that I found terrifying. Surely there had been an astronomical mistake. I kept waiting for someone to correct it, but nobody ever did. And so the girl who considered gravity her best friend attended space camp.

Looking back, all I can think is that those were desperate times. The Russians had launched Sputnik. John Glenn had orbited the Earth three times in Friendship 7, and Americans were trying to win the race for space.

Space camp was for kids whose teachers thought might have potential in the sciences. If my country was depending on me to help win the race for space, my country was doomed. It was a heavy burden for an 8-year-old to know she was about to bring down a superpower.

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