I was not in favor of the space program.When John Glenn took off, I was in study hall in college. I remember having a hard time finding a seat and then I realized the nuns had brought in a small black and white TV so we could watch take-off. The rosary beads came out, and we all started to pray.
I was facing finals and I needed to do well since the federal program had given me a loan of $400. This was the first time our Catholic college had received federal funds. Each year you taught, they would reduce your loan by 20 percent. In the early 1960s, $400 was a huge loan. So I wished John Glenn good luck, but I had wished they were all praying for me in stead of Glenn.
Every nun was in love with Glenn. They did not even care what religion he was.
Meanwhile, I was heading to teach in the inner city and ready to cure poverty and any problems that my students would have to deal with in there lives. I thought the money spent on the space program should be sent on the poor. I never understood why just because the Russians did it we had to do it. I know the Cold War was on, but I thought it was like a kid saying, I need those gogo boots because my best friend who is not really my best friend has them. I thought, I guess we need to plant our flag. Manifest destiny, and all that–okay.
Now I am a senior citizen. We still have the poor, but the space program has helped us in so many ways, including robotic activities for the para- or quadriplegic person. I became a speech pathologist and worked on rehabilitation units, so I saw how technology mattered to real lives. I have visited space museums and still can not believe what they accomplished, even if they were–when I first watched in college–all white men in white shirts with thin ties in the space center. So, now I am so proud of the space program.