Tonight, I was playing around on Facebook, wasting time until I could go to bed, and I was dumbstruck by a post. A friend posted a link to an amateur film of the Challenger explosion back in 1986. I remember that day, and I thought I remembered it well. Tonight, I was reminded how little I remembered. Rather, I was reminded of how little I *chose* to remember...
...My birthday had just passed, and I received a Space Camp jump suit (never got to go, sadly), a copy of Project: Space Station (simulator where you plan an execute a mission to build a space station, from budgeting up to EVA to put it together) for my Apple ][c, and got to see the movie, Space Camp. I was a huge space fan, in no small part thanks to Star Wars and other shows that increased my interest in space. It wasn't about the sci-fi in space, but space itself, that captivated me. It was magical and special, and felt like it belonged to me personally, somehow.
That day, 28 January 1986, was a teacher in-service day for my school. I remember this because I went outside after the explosion occurred, and it was around noon. I forget exactly what I was doing that morning, but I know I didn't get to watch it live. I remember my mother calling me inside to tell me that the Challenger exploded. For some reason, that hit me. I didn't cry, even then, but I was seriously quiet. I was bothered by it. Thinking back, I don't think it was because of the loss of human life. Instead, what bothered me was the fear that this would set us back on our journey to explore space.
In my LJ back in May 2003
, I said:
All these dealings with space brought up something I had long forgotten: I absolutely adore space. It has intrigued me since I was too young to ride a bicycle. When I was 8-10, I had school classroom caliber models of the planets on my walls. (They were actually FROM a teacher supply store.) I got a ton of books about space. I read anything I could get my hands on. I even had a subscription to Odyssey magazine, a space magazine directed at children. That is part of the reason I loved Star Wars so much.
What happened to it? Where did it go? Why did I stop reading and learning all I could about space? As near as I can tell, it was because I discovered fantasy. Fantasy took me away from facts and figures, magnitude and orbital velocity, and transported me to where things could happen because you willed it. *shrug* That sounded too melodramatic, but I think I got my point across. I love fantasy, and will always. However, space was my first true love. Sitting here, right now, I'm feeling something I haven't felt in YEARS. I am feeling a sense of contentment that is leaving me about as relaxed as one can be without sleeping. I could almost cry with joy at this sensation.
But, I digress..
On that day in January 1986, I walked outside, feeling a bitter sting of loss over the dead astronauts and the uncertain future of the space program. I looked up at the sun, and with the mental pictures of those astronauts in my mind's eye, proclaimed to the sky, "I will
become an astronaut. I swear it." My memory tells me that I may not have said "I swear it", but the rest is spot on, and here I am, a customer service manager at a grocery store. I can't even say that I tried. I coasted through the rest of 4th grade, on through 7th grade, making A's without trying, and not really applying myself to become more. What kind of person am I?
I even did it with writing. I keep promising to myself that I will start writing and keep at it, but I never really get started.
I guess I should be grateful that I'm at least sticking with my job at Kroger. *rolls eyes*
Anyway, this needed to be said, even if you disagree with it. I had completely forgotten that promise, and it upsets me quite a bit that I broke it.