I found Readers’ Favorite in August. Someone on my 12 x 12 writing forum had earned their star, and they were sharing their good news. I decided to check out Readers’ Favorite. You can pay for an express review. That means you get the review within 2-3 weeks, but it doesn’t affect the quality or rating of your review.
Readers’ Favorite also has free reviews, but you are not guaranteed one. Reviewers choose the books they want to do. They look over a list in their favorite genres. They look at the cover, read the description, sometimes a little of the book. Then they make a choice. Half of the submissions are reviewed within 3 months. Some are never reviewed.
I decided to opt for a free review. I sent my submission out August 30th. September came and went. I was busy working on other manuscripts, and I forgot about the review. Then October 14th I received an email from Readers’ Favorite. I was afraid to open it, afraid of what was inside. I knew it would be an honest review. I hoped for a 5, but I’ve been hopeful before and been disappointed. I prepared myself for a 3. Then I opened the email, and this is what I found:
Reviewed By: Emily-Jane Hills Orford
Review Rating: 5 Stars - Congratulations on your 5-star review!
Reviewed By Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers’ Favorite
Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon in 1969, had a passion for flying and aeronautical engineering from a very young age. An outing with his father to watch an airplane race in 1932 launched his passion. In 1935 he had his first airplane ride. As a boy, he built one model airplane after another (and a few paper airplanes in between), always looking forward to sending the finished craft zooming across the yard outside his bedroom window, just to see how far it would fly. He worked odd jobs, earning the money to finance his ever-growing fleet of homemade airplanes and to pay for his much-desired flying lessons at the nearby airfield. As a teenager, he researched and designed a wind tunnel, a project that earned him recognition. He graduated from high school in 1947 at sixteen, the youngest graduate at his school. He earned a Holloway scholarship to study aeronautical engineering at Purdue University. Little did anyone know then that this passionately brilliant young man would someday walk on the moon.
I remember that day in 1969. I was twelve. Not usually allowed to watch television during the day, I sat down with my grandmother to watch the historic event on a small ten-inch black and white television. My memories of Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon parallels that of author Rinda Beach. A lot has been written about this astronaut’s accomplishments, but what’s interesting is the story Rinda weaves in her book, Neil Armstrong’s Wind Tunnel Dream. Written with young readers in mind, the story tells of a young Neil Armstrong and his growing passion for airplanes, flying, and the world beyond the skies. With occasional black and white sketches to parallel the story, the author develops a plot that will appeal to young readers and encourage them to dream big, to never lose sight of one's dreams and to work hard to achieve them. Every famous adult was once a child with a dream. Having fond memories of this historic event fifty years ago, it was a pleasure to read this story and learn more about the man whose passion encouraged all of us to dream big. A wonderful addition to the library of young people’s stories about flying and space travel.
If you’d like to see the review online at Readers’ Favorite, click on this link:
Have you ever been out somewhere, and something caught your eye? You wanted to know more about it, but how? Sunday I ate lunch at Texas Roadhouse. I looked up and found something looking down at me. I thought it was a buffalo.
My husband thought it was either a buffalo or bison, but he wasn’t sure which. Now I was curious. Same animal, or different? There wasn’t a computer in sight, but, I had my phone so I asked it, “What’s the difference between buffalo and bison? I couldn’t believe the answer!
The animal we all know from the Wild Wild West isn’t a buffalo – it’s a bison! Real buffaloes come from Asia and Africa. So what’s the difference? Read the paragraph below. Then test your knowledge.
First look at the head. There are 2 clues. Bison have huge heads. Buffalo have smaller ones. Bison have beards. Buffalo don’t. I read that bison are the cool cows! LOL! I thought that was funny!
Second bison have huge humps for their shoulders. They can use them as snowplows. I could use one this winter – LOL again! Now, can you tell which is which?
#1 and #2 Which is Which? Buffalo or Bison?
#1 is a bison. See the beard, big head, and shoulder hump? It’s a dead give-away! #2 is a buffalo from Asia. See its small head? It’s missing a beard and a hump! A dead give-away! Did you know Asian buffalo have horns that span 6 feet. This one sure looks that wide!
#3 and #4 Which is Which? Buffalo or Bison
#3 is a buffalo. It’s from Kenya, in Africa. Its horns are much smaller than an Asian buffalo, but it’s head is small, and there’s no beard or hump. #4 are American bison. All 3 have big heads, beards, and shoulder humps.
So how did this happen? How did bison get turned into buffalo?
The mix-up started when the first Europeans came over, before Jamestown and the Pilgrims of Plymouth. Think of the explorers in the 1500’s from countries like Spain, Portugal, England, and France.
Those explorers had been to Asia and Africa. They’d seen buffalo there, and they thought they saw them in America too. Now looking at them side by side, it’s easy to see the difference, but those explorers couldn’t. And that’s how buffalo and bison got misnamed.
Google Source: https://www.livescience.com/32115-bison-vs-buffalo-whats-the-difference.html
Google Me That!
Same day, same lunch, I was telling my husband about a movie I’d seen called The Fifth Quarter. The 2011 movie was based on a miraculous college football season from 2006, but I couldn’t remember the name of the college. Guess what – I googled it!
The team – The Wake Forest Deacons. The movie is about what happens when a family loses their 15 year old son in a car accident. They turn a tradgedy into a miracle for the team, for organ donors, and for families who lose their teenagers in car accidents.
Do you believe in superstitions, you know black cats, the number 13? If you’re not sure, listen to this song written by Stevie Wonder back in 1972. It won him a Grammy in 1973, and here’s him singing it live in1974: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Vjj6J7gXp
This version’s from 2015. It’s a minute longer, but at 50 years old, it’s still a great song about superstition. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mo6LRLWUMwU
Superstition cuts both ways. People avoid Black Cats and 13, but they carry around four leaf clovers. In sports players wear lucky socks and jerseys.
This version’s from 2015. It’s a minute longer, but at 50 years old, it’s still a great song about superstition. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mo6LRLWUMwU
Superstition cuts both ways. People avoid Black Cats and 13, but they carry around four leaf clovers. In sports players wear lucky socks and jerseys.
My superstitions come out for college football. Can you guess my favorite team? It’s the OSU Buckeyes! We may be a bunch of crazy nuts, but we’re pretty tasty whether you wear us, eat us, or watch us on TV.
If you’ve never seen my Buckeyes on TV, check out this link. It’s pregame with the best darn band in the land. Oh, the memories! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iar01OwPkAw
Did you recognize anything? How about with the photos of Brutus Buckeye and that team in white? I’ve watched them since I was born. In high school my dad took me to a few games, maybe to encourage my choice in colleges. The best thing about those games, calling plays with the legendary Woody Hayes and my Dad. We matched him 80 – 90 % of the time. It was crazy fun!
So what does any of this have to do with superstition? I don’t remember how, or when, but I didn’t want my Buckeyes to lose so I started shopping online on Gameday. It gave me something to do, something that made me feel like I was helping. On Saturday, September 21st, the Buckeyes were playing Miami of Ohio. Within minutes they were behind 5 – 0. OUCH!
I got to work! I started shopping, but I didn’t buy anything. I window-shopped, and within minutes the Buckeyes scored. They didn’t look back. They won 76 – 5. I bought 3 books I’d been looking at , and I helped my Buckeyes. It was a winning strategy!
The game was over, but, not my superstitious shopping. The dogs came out – the Georgia Bulldogs. They played Notre Dame, and the announcers gushed over Georgia and the SEC. Oh My! They thought the SEC walked on water and should have 2 teams in the National Championship.
I didn’t shop, not till Georgia tied the score. Notre Dame needed help so I had to! I started looking for a book I needed as a mentor/teacher. I bought it, but Georgia pulled ahead. So I started on shoes, and YES, I let the dogs out, the shoes. I didn’t buy them, but oh, was I tempted! Something stopped me. Maybe I finally realized winning isn’t in my hands. I let God decide, and DARN! He picked Georgia.
I didn’t buy the shoes, not till two days later. I still wanted them, and, my husband won’t let me have a dog, so really, this was a great idea! Right?
This post was inspired by more superstitious shopping. OSU was playing Nebraska. I had to help, so I shopped on Pixabay and Wikipedia. That’s how I found all these great images – AND – a little inspiration!
STAGE 1 - I’m not a morning person. I’m a night owl. I love staying up late and sleeping in.
I look at morning people, the ones who bounce out of bed, and I just want to tell them to stop.
I hate mornings. It’s a fight to get up. I just want to close my eyes again and go back to sleep. I hit the snooze button like 10 times before I can get up. I HATE it!
This is what sleep should look like, peaceful, dream-filled. For a couple of weeks, I was submerged in sleep. I slept 10 hours, sometimes more, every night. When I woke up, I napped for another hour or two. It was lovely. I needed it after a stressful summer, after the SCBWI writing conference.
But by the end of the 2nd week, I started to worry. I had too much sleep, and I felt like a zombie trying to get things done.
It ended, finally, the way I thought it would, with the opposite extreme – I’m having trouble going to sleep. I lay there, hoping. I get up, do a little work, and try again. It’s horrible!
So now, I’m on a sleep journey, trying to find a happy medium. I’ll have to learn to set and stick to a bedtime, but I’m committed to this change. I’m tired, all puns intended, of getting either too much sleep, or too little.
My first step, to power down. To shut down all my electronics 15 – 30 minutes before bedtime. That means sometimes I’ll have to finish a post the next day, but at age 60, I’m going to learn to shut things down. Here’s to the journey! I’ll let you know how it goes in a few days.
PS- It’s tonight, the evening after I wrote the post above, and it worked! I finished the post, but I didn’t put it up on social media till now. Best of all – I didn’t feel guilty. YAY!!!
You can’t kill the golden goose, AKA you, AKA me. If you don’t take care of yourself, there is no you to write, to do whatever makes you special. So tonight when it’s midnight, it’ll be a tiny bit easier to stop.
Here’s to my sleep journey, and to yours, whatever it is! I’ll post when I have more to tell, probably when I take sleep journey.
I've been on my journey for 9 days, longer if you count the day or two of pre-journey research. Last winter I joined Noom, and I have a personal trainer/adviser. When I hit a wall with my sleep, I asked Lisa for advice. So here are my Stage 1 results . I went over them with Lisa to plan Stage 2 .
5 of the 7 nights, it worked. I powered down at midnight. By 12:30 I was in bed, and 5 of those nights I went to sleep, just like the girl in the picture. It was lovely!
2 of the 7nights, I couldn’t go to sleep, even though I powered down. 2 of them were in the first couple nights when I was getting used to the new system. Three is a pattern so Stage 1 was a success! Hip Hip Hooray!
The Next Goal:
I saw my speed bump ahead – the earliest wake-up call of all – getting up early to substitute teach. It was coming, but what was the best way to handle it?
This old body loves to sleep 9 hours a night, I can only get 6 when I sub.
I asked Lisa for advice. She didn’t answer. Instead she asked me about my sleep cycle. My answer – I’m a night owl. Lisa thought sub days would force this owl into becoming an early bird. You can’t be something you’re not so I came up with a compromise . . .
My goal is to power down at 10:30. It will take some time to pull that time back an hour. Lisa said to move it in increments of 15 minutes. I want 3 days to get used to the change before making another one.
That works for most days. But when I sub, I’ll have to work with less sleep. I’m OK when I’m with kids. They energize me. At home I’ll take my 20 minute power nap. I’ll drink more water and keep moving. It’s not perfect, but it’s worth a try.
I’ve been on this voyage now for a month, since September 26th. I’m in a much better place than I was. I no longer sleep 10 hours a night or need hour-long naps every day. The last post I wrote was October 5th. Here are my results since then.
I didn’t track numbers this time, but over the last 22 nights I’ve been able to get 9 hours of sleep. I probably had 1-2 early mornings each week. I got up, and I didn’t take naps longer than 20 minutes on those days. I followed my rules.
I managed to power down somewhere between 11 and 11: 15. I wanted to push it back to 10:30, but I decided not to. I’m a late night person, and an 11:00 powerdown time works for me. Sometimes close enough, like 11:15, is good enough.
The next problem I took on was waking up. I can hit the snooze button for an hour. It's a really bad habit! I decided to try something new. I let myself snooze for 15 minutes. Then I wanted to try something positive, something that would make me want to wake up.
My New Game Plan
This is exactly how I feel at this stage of the game. I have basic rules that help me go to bed and wake up, but it’s not perfect. I’m still tired, especially after a day spent subbing. I need to do some tweaking, maybe even break a rule or two when necessary.
Most nights 9 hours of sleep works, but it doesn’t on subbing mornings. Then I feel tired into the next day. I discovered, when I really can’t get up that next morning, I gift myself with an extra hour of sleep. It breaks the rules, but I feel so much better. It’s my plan for tomorrow and for Thursday, my recovery day after subbing.
This week I discovered turning on the light, sitting up in bed, and checking my phone – it works! I can wake up in 15 – 30 minutes, and that’s a new record for me! It changes the rules, but who cares! I don’t, especially if they work better. My goal is to make waking up something I enjoy, not the chore it’s always been.
Lisa, my Noom coach, suggested meditation as a way to help me fall asleep. There are some nights when I’m so excited/upset that my head spins with ideas. I can power down my body, but it’s a lot harder for my head.
I reached out to my Noom social group. I asked for ideas, and I got 3. Someone suggested using a musical playlist of 3 - 4 songs. Another suggested two different kinds of breathing exercises, and the last one had a You Tube video.
I think I’ll start with the breathing. I use a BIPAP sleep machine. It’s for sleep apnea, but it also stops my snoring. I used to be Snoring Thunder. Now I’m Snoring Whisper. The BIPAP machine makes it easy to focus on breathing because it pushes air in and out of my nose every minute of every night. I’ll let you know in a week or two how it worked! I hope the force is with me!
My Final Results:
I started my sleep journey back on September 26th. Today, December 2nd, I’m declaring it finished.
I’ve achieved almost everything I wanted. I nap for 20 – 30 minutes, but only as needed. Most nights I power down around 11:30. I get 9 hours of sleep. Usually I fall asleep within 10 minutes.
My final challenge – to figure out how to shut down my brain when it doesn’t want to. My big discovery – movies like the ones on the Hallmark channel relax me and help me fall asleep. Mission accomplished!
Thanks to Lisa from Noom, I’m back on track. Sleep will never be perfect. There will be nights when I can’t get to sleep, or mornings when I don’t get enough. But, now I have a tool kit to get me back on track again. Here’s to the future! With sleep, anything is possible!
Come on a Scavenger Hunt with me for NEIL ARMSTRONG’S WIND TUNNEL DREAM. We’ll start in Wapak and see what we can find. Let’s go!
First Stop - Riverside Art Center – It’s at 3 West Auglaize Street. Take a peek inside. Their motto is ‘Let Your Creativity Flow.” I did! This is where I started searching for my first illustrator. I don’t see my book yet, but if you are looking for local artists and classes, this is the place to start. I’ve taken painting classes here, and someday I may teach a class, writing and editing of course.
Look at the first picture above! It’s me and Neil. I was taking a walk through town and found myself in Riverside’s window. I’ve seen my shadow before, but I’ve never seen it with a book I published. WOW! Dreams do come true. The other picture is me signing books at Riverside. BTW, if you pop into Riverside to get my book, they’re already autographed for you.
Next Stop – Casa Chic – at 109 West Auglaize Street, down the block from Riverside. It still looks like this outside. Casa’s still celebrating Neil’s 50th anniversary. Find a golf cart, and you can go ‘astronauting around Wapak for a little longer, but fall’s coming and so’s our favorite annual holiday, ‘Wapa-Ween.”
Take a look inside. Casa has three floors of furniture, decorations, jewelry, and clothing. This is the main floor where my book usually is, but I think Neil moved upstairs with the T shirts and other memorabilia.
It doesn’t matter which floor I’m on . . . This is my happy place. I always find treasures. At Saturday’s book signing they were all for my grandgirl. Really!
I also made some new friends. It doesn’t matter whether you buy a book or not, I love chitchatting about Neil and the stories I discovered from my research. The books at Casa aren’t autographed, but my card and a bookmark are inside in case you’d like to message me. I’m glad to answer, to snail mail an autograph too.
Stop #3 – Armstrong Air and Space Museum – at 500 Apollo Drive, next to Interstate 75. Two new statues made their debut this summer. Young Neil sits by the curb with a model airplane. An older Neil stands by the entrance ready to make a test flight. Come to Wapak, and tour the museum.
You’ll find exhibits inside and out. The plane you see below is an F5D Skylancer. It was one of the planes Neil flew during his test pilot days. Go inside and discover what Neil and his fellow astronauts wore in space. Then check out the museum gift shop with its great souvenirs., including my book!
Save the dates! Saturday, September 28th and Sunday, the 29th are the Museum’s Festival of Flight. Come make your own paper airplanes, helicopters, and kites. Look skyward for drones and more kites. Come inside for a tour. I hope you’ll stop in to say hello. I’ll be there signing books and meeting young astronauts and their families!
Stop #4 – Auglaize Embroidery – at 4 N. Wood Street in Wapak. This is Auglaize Embroidery, all spiffed out for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Come inside and meet everyone’s favorite employee, Bo. He’s always there to meet, greet, and get his ears scratched. He is one GREAT DOG!
I never thought Neil would be at Auglaize Embroidery. They don’t sell books, but they sell mine! Here’s how it happened. I’ve known the owner, Judy, since high school. I was thrilled when she decided to buy four books for her grandchildren. I brought them in, signed them, and headed off to the lake. A couple days later Judy called me and left a message that she wanted to sell my books. What? How? Why?
called her back. Remember the four copies I sold her? She had multiple people come in and try to buy them. She decided then and there to sell my book. Judy has stocked Neil ever since. Her copies are autographed and come with a bookmark and my card. Stop into Auglaize Embroidery for all things Neil and Wapakoneta!
Stop #5 – Image Master Print & Copy Center –
It's at 129 East Auglaize, down the street from Riverside and Casa.
I met Mary when she bought a book for her grandson. She surprised me by selling Neil at her shop this summer. Now it’s fall, and Mary still has a copy you can read while you wait. If you like what you see, walk down the street, or go shopping online.
The Final Wapak Stop #6 – Wish Boutique – at 28 East Auglaize. It’s across the street from Riverside. All the other businesses have been around for years, but Wish opened a year ago, and I just discovered it this week when I was running an errand. Jessica manages the shop, and it’s a great place to hunt for gifts. I found five for my grandgirl, and I wasn’t even looking. Jessica made another dream come true – she decided to sell my book in her store
Do you see my book on the top shelf? I’m thrilled to be there! Right below Neil are Jean Reagan board books too. If you know a preschooler, they’re the perfect gift!
Here are just a few treasures you can find at Wish Boutique. I have a feeling this will become my new place to shop, and it offers new customers for my book. A two-fer!
BTW – I picked up some grandgirl gifts. None of them are in the pictures, just in case my Texas kids are reading this post.
This has been an exciting summer for me. May 17 my first book debuted. I’m excited to say I’ve sold about 400 copies so far. As a debut author I had no idea what to expect. I’ve written for 12 years, but until now my stories only existed in my brain and in my computer. This summer has been so exciting!
If you’re one of the 400 who’ve bought my book, I hope you’ll consider writing an honest review. It’s one of the best ways to help new readers discover Neil and his wind tunnel. More reviews make it easier to search and find us.
Another way to help Neil and his wind tunnel is to recommend it to your local library, or buy them a copy. To date I’m now in 6 libraries. For this reader that’s pretty exciting!
But, this moment was more exciting! This is a picture from June 1st from my daughter’s wedding. As you can see from the picture she’s my mini-me, and this was a military wedding. I’ve only been to one other. It was when one of my college roommates got married in the 80’s. All I remember were the swords, but I remember so many moments from my daughter’s, like her father walking her down the aisle.
But there’s another moment that I’ll never forget. I don’t have a picture of it, but I’ll remember it as long as I have memories.
You see, my son and his wife pulled my husband and I over to take a selfie – ONLY it wasn’t a selfie. It was a picture of a sonagram. Do you know what was in it?
My husband didn’t, but I did, right away! It was a picture of my grandbaby. My first! So the night of my daughter’s wedding, I got a 2-fer . . . I got a son-in-law AND grandbaby. WOW! What a great surprise!
Then the parents-to-be got their siblings together for another selfie. My daughter got it before her brother, or her husband. The wedding photographer got that shot, the moment comprehension dawned on all three faces.
Then the parents-to-be took their show on the road. They did the same selfie trick to the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. What a great way to announce a baby.!And its name . . . you’ll love it . . . REALLY! Baby Blob!
Why? Because the baby looked like a blob for its first 10 weeks. BTW – this is not my grandbaby. I have the real picture, but it’s not mine to share, not until I ask my Texas kids for permission.
A Road Map for this Grandma-to-be
I won’t be driving cross town to visit the baby. I’ll have to drive from Ohio to Texas. Through Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana to get there. That’s 18 hours by car, fewer if we fly. I’m glad my son and his wife live on the east side of Texas. It’s huge compared to Ohio!
With that kind of distance, we won’t have a lot of face-to-face time, but we’ll use technology instead! We can visit anytime online with apps like Facebook or Skype.
When we’re together, I hope we’ll explore the world, chit-chatting about all the things we see. Then we’ll snuggle into a good book and take turns reading together. What could be better?
Grandmas Just Want to Have Fun!
Baby showers . . . Birthdays . . . Christmas . . . Let the shopping begin!
I wonder what I’ll pick for the baby shower. I love gifts with a theme,. Maybe I’ll pick a lamb to give her sweet dreams, and the right book of course! OOPS! Did I let something slip 😊
I hope I’m there for dress-up days like church or dance recitals.
But I’d rather be there for regular ones like walking her dog or lunching on Happy Meals. Grandmas and grandgirls should have fun together.
Oh the Places You'll Go!
I’m lucky to be a grandma now. I’m a retired teacher. I can go, pretty much, whenever, where ever I want, and I’ll always want to be where ever my grandgirl is. Here’s to walks and talks. To the places we’ll investigate. To the things we’ll discover.
Can you guess two places we’ll go? My husband and I live on Norris Lake. There’s so much to share with our grandgirl. Swimming, tubing, boating – I hope she’ll love it!
My kids loved beach vacations! Now it’s time for a grandgirl to take their place. Building sand castles, hunting for seashells, leaping over waves – I’m looking forward to it all! Here’s to my grandgirl and the fun we’ll have together!
One of the best things about having a book for sale is getting to talk to people. I told them the stories I learned from my research about Neil Armstrong, and they shared theirs. Here are my six favorite stories:
TALE #1 - This is a small photo of the Saturn V rocket. Each of the nozzles in the center is bigger than me. I could stand inside one and not bump my head.
It took many people in many places to build the Saturn V. Since my book launch I’ve met several people who helped build it, and they were proud of being a part of history.
I talked to a lady whose father worked on the Saturn V rocket in Mexico. She remembered having no phone at home, but her dad still managed to get a call from NASA at work. All these years later she still couldn’t believe the technological power of NASA, and she was still proud of her dad’s contribution to Apollo 11.
Tale #2 – This story begins and ends at Neil’s boyhood home. It’s in the picture above. The plaque, below tells you the story of how Stephen and Viola Armstrong moved Neil, June, and Dean back to Wapak when Neil was 13.
Neil graduated from Wapak’s Blume High School three years later. If you enlarge the signs, you can read a summary of his life from the time he left Wapak to the end of his aviation career.
The first picture is the front side of Benton Street where the Armstrongs lived. The last picture is a shot down the alley behind the house. Now for the story from a Benton Street neighbor. It happened when Neil was an adult, probably before his NASA days. He was flying home to visit his parents and wanted to let them know when he got into Dayton.
Neil didn’t do it in the ordinary way, with a phone call! He would fly over the field behind his parents’ house. The plane would thunder past the houses and shake them, at least that’s how I heard the story. Then Neil would fly south to Dayton and drive an hour home to see his parents.
This is the Gardens. It opened in 1999 in the field behind Benton Street, long after Viola and Stephen moved out to my neighborhood in Oakwood Hills. By 1969 their street was renamed Armstrong Drive.
Looking at the Gardens today it’s still mostly field. A corner of the building is in the picture to the left. Grass, and trees lie beside it! I closed my eyes and imagined Neil flying overhead. I could hear the faint thunder of his plane and feel a slight rumble under my feet. I thought of Neil and smiled. He loved airplanes!
PS- If you’d like to look inside, click on this link to meet Karen Tullis the owner. You’ll even get to peek in her office, once Neil’s bedroom.
TALE #3 . . . a very small story. Today this is Home Stretch. They sell t-shirts, but from 1943 till 2000 it was Brown’s Restaurant. In the 60’s it was one of the few places to eat out in Wapak.
I met a former busboy from Brown’s at a book signing. He asked if I’d ever met Neil. I said no so he told me his story. He was clearing tables one night when he noticed a man who looked like Neil. He asked, and it was. That was the sum total of their conversation.
Neil is known in Wapak, and beyond, as a very private person. He kept a low profile, and that’s exactly what this busboy noticed, and now all these years later he still remembers his small conversation with Neil.
TALE #4 . . . a story about Neil’s dad. This story was told to me by Wapak Mayor Don Wittwer who was part of the team who put the 1969 parade together. I was curious about how they got Bob Hope. He was so famous back then. Don said someone in Wapak knew someone who knew Bob. They made the call, and he came. I guess it’s easy to get Bob Hope when it’s a parade for the first man to set foot onto the moon.
From 1955 - 1962 Neil was a test pilot which was a super dangerous job. Don Wittwer was at a meeting with Neil’s dad Stephen. He noticed Stephen was unusually quiet and tense. Later in the evening Stephen got a phone call. Afterwards he seemed more relaxed, more talkative. Later Don found out Neil had a test flight that day. The call was to say that the flight had gone well. I imagine it wasn’t the first time, or the last that Neil’s parents worried about his safety.
TALE #5 . . . the story of a photograph. I met the photographer who took this picture. I was doing a book signing at Riverside Arts and chatting with him. He asked me to Google ‘Neil Armstrong paper airplane.’ I thought it was an odd request, but it seemed harmless. It was.
This picture came up. It was taken in 1974 by one of Neil’s students at the University of Cincinnati. The man I was talking to was THAT student 40 years ago. He’s still proud of his photo, and of the fact it comes up first on Google.
Here are two links for you . The first is on Pinterest, and it’s just the photo. The second is from the university magazine. It tells you a little about the picture setting and the photographer. He never introduced himself, but he bought a book that I was thrilled to autograph. How often do you meet someone who had Neil as a teacher? Now I’d like to introduce you to Ralph Spitzen, UC graduate, Neil’s student, and Pinterest photographer.
Pinterest Link: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/c7/d7/c8/c7d7c8ff957cd2bcfa87cffaa79d2d52.jpg
UC Magazine: https://magazine.uc.edu/issues/1011/oncampusyesterday.html
TALE #6 . . . the final story – a salute to Neil from his son and granddaughter. I couldn’t find a picture of Mark or Kali in the parade, but I found this one with the Navy band. Neil spent 3 years as a Navy flier, and it was an important part of his journey to the moon.
I missed the parade, but a Wapak friend told me to google Neil Armstrong’s granddaughter. I did, and I found a video of Kali Armstrong singing the song her dad wrote to honor her grandfather. The link is below.
Under it is another one for First on the Moon. They’re the people who organized a year’s worth of fun for the community. The site has two great videos. The first will give you a taste of what Wapak was like this summer.
The second one is near the bottom. It’s a clip from ‘So You Think You Can Dance.” A hometown boy was on the show, and we all loved listening to their attemps to say our name, Wapakoneta. Enjoy!
Song Link: https://kryptonradio.com/2019/07/17/listen-to-neil-armstrongs-granddaughter-sing-flight-of-fancy/
First on the Moon Link: https://www.firstonthemoon.org
Timeline: Blast-off for a Trip to the Moon
7:45AM – The closeout crew sealed the hatch, and they purged and pressurized the cabin to make it safe for launch. That means the cabin was explosion-free.
8:30 AM - The closeout crew left the launch pad.
9:32 AM – Apollo 11 launched.
9:35 AM - The 1st stage engines shut down and dropped into the ocean.
9:41 AM – The 2nd stage rockets cut-off and fell into the ocean.
9:44 AM – Apollo 11 entered the earth’s orbit.
12:22 PM - After circling the earth 1-1/2 times, they fired the 3rd stage engine sending Columbia on its way to the moon.
12:52 PM – Michael Collins separated Apollo from the 3rd stage rocket. He turned Columbia
(command module) around and parked its nose next to the Eagle (lunar module). The discarded rocket was thrown into an orbit around the sun so it wouldn’t run into Eagle or Columbia.
My source for the dates and times is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_11. I converted the time to Eastern Standard, hopefully correctly, to make things easier for you. I didn’t see any events for July 17th or 18th. My guess is that the Apollo astronauts kept Columbia ship-shape, talked to NASA Mission Control in Houston, and monitored conditions aboard their spaceship.
July 19th - 1:22 PM Apollo sailed behind the moon, then fired its engine to begin lunar orbit. They circled the moon 30 more times, and they scanned the surface for the Sea of Tranquility.
July 20th - 8:52 AM - Neil and Buzz climbed into the Eagle and prepared to leave Columbia behind.
1:44 PM – Eagle and Columbia separated. Eagle made a spin so Michael could check to make sure the spaceship wasn’t damaged and that its landing gear was correctly positioned. It was!
As Eagle headed towards the moon, the two astronauts noticed they were passing landmarks 2-3 seconds early. Eagle was moving too fast, and it would land miles west of their target.
Five minutes into the descent and 6000 feet above the moon, about a mile, an alarm went off. It signaled that the computer couldn’t do all its jobs on time so its software postponed a few. Eagle continued downward.
Neil focused again on the landing target – it was covered in boulders. He took partial control of the Eagle. Buzz called out navigation info. At 250 feet Buzz saw a crater in the new landing site. At 100 feet, the fuel supply was dwindling, and they had to land soon. The astronauts had 90 seconds of fuel left before they crashed. Dust was kicking up, and it was hard to see, but Neil used some large rocks to guide him.
A few seconds later a probe hanging from the footpads of the lunar module touched the moon, setting off a light. Neil was supposed to shut down the engine, but he forgot. The NASA engineers were afraid Eagle’s exhaust would cause an explosion. It didn’t! Three seconds later Eagle landed, and Neil shut down the engine. They had only 25 seconds of fuel left.
4:17 PM – A second later, Neil said, “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.” Ground Control said, “Roger, Twan – Tranquility, we copy you on the ground. You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We’re breathing again. Thanks a lot!
Dr. Robert Bryant from NASA sent me the video link below. Neil will take you through the
last 3-1/2 minutes of the moon landing. The screen will split in two. You’ll see what the astronauts saw on their way down. You’ll also see what Google could show us in 2011. https://www.lpi.usra.edu/lunar/documents/moonLanding/https://www.lpi.usra.edu/lunar/documents/moonLanding/
Timeline: Prepping for a Moonwalk
6:47 PM – Buzz radioed NASA for a pre-approved message. He asked listeners to take a moment to think about the landing. Then he asked everyone to give thanks. Buzz did – by taking communion privately.
7:43 PM - Neil and Buzz started getting ready for their moonwalk. On Earth it took 2 hours. On the moon, 3-1/2. Then they depressurized Eagle.
10:39 PM - Eagle’s hatch opened. Neil, in a space suit, struggled to squeeze out the door. Would
you believe the two astronauts had their highest heart rates going in and out of that hatch?
10: 51 PM - Neil climbed down the ladder, but he couldn’t see his feet. Why not? The camera remote control that he wore blocked his view. The shots were grainy, but Neil got them.
10: 56 PM - Neil stepped off the ladder and said “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for
mankind.” Neil planned to say ‘a man,’ but either he slurred the words, or the camera did. Recent study says camera static caused the omission.
11:03 PM - Neil collected a soil sample and put it in the pocket of his space suit, in case of
emergency. One of the mission’s key jobs was to figure out what the moon was made of.
11:15 PM - Neil picked up the camera and took a sweeping shot of the moon. Then he put it on a tripod. Buzz climbed down the ladder. His comment, “Magnificent Desolation.”
Then the two astronauts tested the moon’s gravity. It is 1/6 of the Earth’s. Neil said it was easier than their practice sessions on Earth. Two small problems, they felt like they were constantly tipping backwards, and the ground was a little slippery, but the astronauts kept their balance. Loping along was the best way to move, but they had to plan their path 6-7 steps ahead.
Then the astronauts planted the flag in front of the camera. Buzz hoped nothing would go wrong, but the flagpole only went a couple inches into the ground. Buzz was afraid it’d fall over in front of their worldwide audience. He saluted it, and then President Richard Nixon’s voice came on the telephone-radio system. He said it was “the most historic phone call ever made from the White House.” He made a short speech, following the advice of astronaut, Frank Borman.
Then the astronauts had another 30 minutes on the moon. They set up an experiment to measure moonquakes. They also took pictures and
gathered soil samples, but time was flying so they stopped labeling them. Neil was moving so fast, and his metabolic rates were so high, that Mission Control sent him a coded message to slow down.
Their body rates remained low so NASA gave the astronauts 15 more minutes. That first moonwalk was limited in time and distance because NASA didn’t know how much water their bodies would need to control their temperature.
Buzz went back inside the Eagle first. They used a pulley to get their 48 pounds of soil on board. Then Neil reminded Buzz to throw down the memorial
bag. It honored the fallen astronauts from Apollo 1 and Soviet cosmonauts Vladimir Komarov and Yuri Gagarin. It also included a gold olive branch, and goodwill statements from leaders around the world. Then Neil climbed aboard, and they turned on the LM life support. To lighten liftoff, they threw out the life support backpacks, their moonboots, the empty camera, and some other equipment.
1:11 AM - They closed the hatch, pressurized the LM, and tried to sleep. After 7 hours of rest, at about 8AM, Mission Control in Houston woke the astronauts to get ready to return home. It took
about 2-1/2 hours to get ready. Somewhere in my account or Wikipedia’s, my time is off. It should have been about 10:30 AM.
Also, sometime during that 7 hours, Buzz accidentally bumped and damaged a circuit breaker to the main engine, the one that’d lift them off the moon. Everyone was terrified, but sticking a felt-tip pen in the circuit saved the day.
1:54 PM - The Eagle lifted off, the silver ascent stage only. They left the red descent stage on the
moon. As they left, Buzz caught sight of it being whipped around by their exhaust – then – the flag toppled over.
Next up: the return home.
BTW – this is a famous picture from that 1st moon landing. It is the only picture where you can send both astronauts. Neil took the picture of Buzz in the spacesuit , and Neil is reflected in Buzz’s helmet.
Timeline: Time to return home to Earth
July 20th – 21st - When Eagle left, Michael Collins was alone making solo orbits around the moon. He wasn’t lonely, even though he was out of radio contact every time he passed the far side of the moon. Michael was busy with housekeeping jobs that would get everyone home.
His first was to find Eagle. Michael knew it was about 4 miles off target, but he never found it. He also did maintenance jobs, like dumping extra water the fuel cells made and preparing the cabin for Eagle’s return.
On his third orbit around the Moon, Mission Control warned Michael about the coolant temperature. If it got too cold, parts of Columbia would freeze. They wanted him to switch to manual control and implement procedure 17, but Michael switched to manual and back to automatic again.
Michael did chores and kept an eye on the temperature. By the end of the next orbit, the problem resolved itself. While Neil and Buzz moon-walked, Michael relaxed.
Then he slept. He needed to be ready to rendezvous with Eagle, but he was ready to fly down to get them, just in case.
July 21st - 5:24 PM Eagle and Columbia met each other, and by 5:35 they reconnected. No problems!
7:41 PM Eagle’s silver ascent stage, was jettisoned off to orbit the moon. Eventually its orbit decayed, and it fell to earth. No sorry, to the moon!
July 23rd – the astronauts made one last TV broadcast. Michael thanked the people who built and tested the Saturn 5 rocket. It was an incredibly complicated piece of machinery, and it worked as expected.
Buzz commented that there were more than 3 men on their spaceship. Government and industry helped it fly. Then he read from Psalms to acknowledge God’s role. “When I consider the heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the Moon and the stars which Thou hast ordained; What is man that Thou art mindful of him?”
Neil thanked the American people and government for believing that man could go to the moon. He thanked those who put their hearts, and their talents into the
Saturn rocket. He finished with, “To all the people that are listening and watching tonight, God bless you. Good night from Apollo 11.”
The astronauts were due to splash down on the 24th, but there were a couple problems to solve first. A bearing at the Guam tracking station failed. It would have stopped communication for the last part of the trip. It couldn’t be repaired in time so station
director Charles Force had his 10-year-old son Greg reach inside the housing and pack it full of grease. It worked! Neil sent Greg a thank you.
The next problem, Air Force Captain Hank Brandli had access to top secret spy satellites. They showed a storm front headed to the recovery area. It would make it hard to see Columbia, and winds would shred its parachutes. Two Navy commanders believed him. They put
their careers at risk and convinced NASA to move the recovery area 215 nautical miles to the northeast.
Changing the recovery area also changed Columbia’s flight plan and the sequence of its computer program. The Navy had the Hornet in position.
July 24th – Before dawn the Hornet launched 4 helicopters and 3 tracer planes.
12:44 PM – The helicopters spotted Columbia’s parachutes.
12: 52 PM - Columbia splashed down 1440 nautical miles east of Wake Island. It landed upside down. Navy divers attached flotation collars and a sea anchor. It took 10 minutes to right the capsule. Rafts were launched to get the astronauts.
The divers gave the astronauts biological isolation garments. They rubbed the astronauts down with a bleach solution. After the astronauts and divers were aboard the helicopters, the raft was sunk, on purpose. NASA was worried about moon
germs. They even wiped Columbia down with a disinfectant.
1:53 PM - The helicopter took the astronauts to the Hornet’s hangar bay where they walked into the Mobile Quarantine Facility. That’s where they finished the 21 days of quarantine that began when Eagle and Columbia reconnected in space.
President Nixon was already aboard the Hornet, ready to welcome the astronauts back. He thanked them, “As a result of what you’ve done, the world has never been closer.”
After the president left, Hornet used a crane to lift the 5-ton Columbia space capsule aboard. Then they moved it down beside the astronauts’ quarantine unit.
The Hornet sailed onto Pearl Harbor, Hawaii where the astronauts and their quarantine unit were loaded aboard a cargo plane and flown to Houston.
July 28th - 6AM The astronauts arrived at Houston’s Lunar Receiving Laboratory for their final days of quarantine.
July 30th – Columbia was flown to the Lunar Receiving Lab in Houston after it finished its checkup on Ford Island and Hickham Air Force Base in Hawaii.
August 10th - The Interagency Committee met in Atlanta and lifted the quarantine on the 3 astronauts, their physician, engineer and on Columbia itself.
Timeline: Time to Celebrate!
August 13 – This is the ticker-tape parade in New York for Neil, Buzz, and Michael. There was another one in Chicago that day. About six million people attended the two parades.
That night President Nixon held a state dinner in Los Angeles to celebrate Apollo 11. Members of Congress were there, 44 governors, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Vice President, and ambassadors from 83 nations. It must have been dazzling to the astronauts who’d just come out of quarantine.
President Nixon and Vice President Agnew presented each astronaut with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. It’s the picture to the left.
September 6 – Neil came home to Wapak for a parade. I was there! I was 10. I don’t remember the heat, or Neil. Sorry! I remember Bob Hope came, Tricia Nixon Cox (the president’s daughter), the Purdue marching band, and best of all, Purdue’s Golden Girl (she twirled a baton). So did I!
Neil did a speech for kids at the football field, but I don’t think we went. It’s sad – I’m 60, and I see the opportunities I missed. I can’t go back in time and watch, BUT I can write about it for you. Here’s the link for the Wapak parade: https://www.cnbctv18.com/photos/buzz/hometown-of-neil-armstrong-ready-to-celebrate-50th-anniversary-of-moon-landing-3955881-13.htm
September 16 – The astronauts went to Congress. They presented a flag to the House of Representatives, and one to the Senate. Both had been on the Moon.
That was the beginning of a 38-day world tour that took the astronauts to 22 foreign countries. Leaders from many of those countries met the astronauts. Many honored them with medals. Some of Neil’s are in the Armstrong Air and Space Museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio. You can see them in the museum’s display case.
September 29th to November 5th – That’s how long the world tour lasted. I can’t imagine the sacrifice the astronauts and their families made. Sometime in July, pre-launch, they gave up their private lives to travel to the moon. They didn’t get them back till early November. That’s a huge price to pay! Maybe that’s why all 3 astronauts left NASA pretty quickly after the tour was over.
In 1970 Michael retired from NASA. He took a job at the Department of State as an Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs.
In 1971 Buzz left to become Commandant of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School.
In 1971 Neil resigned from NASA and accepted a teaching position at the University of Cincinnati. The reason . . . their aerospace engineering department.
This month was the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Moon landing. The astronauts all moved onto other jobs. Neil died on August 25, 2012. If you see someone wink at the moon in Wapak, you know they’re doing it to honor Neil. He’s still a big deal!
Michael and Buzz are still alive. I saw them on the news with President Trump and Melania honoring this big anniversary. I loved Buzz’s comment. He said something like, it’s a shame we haven’t been back to the moon. I agree.
Here’s to the next space adventure! Have you heard of Artemis? She’s Apollo’s twin sister and the name of NASA’s future missions, first back to the moon and onto Mars.
Late 2019 -- First commercial deliveries/landers to the moon
And that’s how I want to end my posts about the 50th anniversary, with hope for the future. The kids who will be building Orion or riding aboard Artemis missions to the moon, and then onto Mars, they sat in America’s classrooms over the last 10 years. Maybe one of them was a student of mine. I hope so!
This is the crew of Apollo 11 – Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin. Fifty years ago tonight they were somewhere close to Cape Canaveral in Florida, waiting for launch time. I wonder if they were able to go to sleep. I would have been awake all night.
Back in 1969 I was 10. I had no problem sleeping even though Wapakoneta, Ohio was a-twitter with the world watching us. My parents lived a block away from Neil’s parents. It was a huge deal!
This is the run up to the launch date. On May 20 , 1969 the Saturn V rocket started its trip to the moon using that 3.5 -mile crawler-way. The rocket weighed 6000 tons. That’s about the weight of 6000 cars.
The crawler pulled the rocket along at a speed of a mile an hour. That’s pretty fast if you imagine it pulling that stack of 6,000 cars. A Saturn V rocket was HEAVY!
Look below! That’s NASA Mission Control in Houston back in 1969. That’s what NASA engineers looked like, but not their kids, or me. We looked more like the Brady Bunch. That picture’s copyrighted so I’ll share the link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Brady_Bunch.
I also found the perfect song for 1969. It was the Age of Aquarius! Warning – music videos didn’t launch until 1981, but the song is still great. Enjoy!
The picture to the right was taken 48 years later. I was visiting NASA, and I took pictures of the things I remembered, things I thought you might be interested in. I hadn’t used any of them, till now. I hadn’t started writing NEIL ARMSTRONG’S WIND TUNNEL DREAM, but I had a blog to write.
Below is the link that started this post. ABC News was doing a feature about the 50th anniversary, and part of it featured the restoration of mission control. The only thing missing are those NASA engineers and their crew cuts. Enjoy!
This pair of pictures gives you an idea of the size of the Saturn Rocket and two pieces of the Apollo Space Module. Take a look at that first big black ring near the top of the Saturn Rocket. Everything above it is the Apollo Module that went into space.
Below it are three sets of rockets, three sets of fuel tanks. The bottom two fell into the ocean after their fuel was used up. This link might help you picture these pieces. https://www.dkfindout.com/us/space/moon-landings/saturn-v-rocket/
The top rocket and its fuel tank took Neil, Buzz, and Michael into space. Resource link: https://www.seeker.com/what-happened-to-all-the-saturn-v-rocket-stages-1768231080.html
Look below that black ring again. There are four pieces stacked on top of it. All four pieces went into space. The one on top is the Command Module. The picture beside it was taken in Houston. That module looks like it’s been to space and back. Here’s a link to help you imagine the pieces of the Apollo Capsule: https://www.dkfindout.com/us/space/moon-landings/apollo-spacecraft/
This is another photo from Houston. Do you see the Command Module at the top? That’s where the astronauts spent their time until they returned home again.
The Service Module is below it. It powered the life support systems for the crew. It made electricity to power Apollo. It also held the main rocket engine. It moved Apollo in and out of either the earth’s orbit or the moon’s. Thrusters made smaller adjustments.
Here are two trivia questions for you: Which astronaut got to be the 2nd man to walk on the moon? Which one stayed aboard the command module? Was it Neil, Buzz, or Michael? The answer – Buzz walked on the moon, and Michael kept the Command Modul in orbit so they could all go home.
Here’s question three: Did Michael ever make it to the moon? The answer – No, he didn’t. He retired from NASA a year later in 1970.
This is a model of the Lunar Module. It sat underneath the Service Module (from the picture above) in that huge Saturn V Rocket. The Lunar Module had two pieces. The ascent stage is the silver part on top, and the descent stage is the red part on the bottom.
Neil and Buzz used the red part first to power down to the moon. When they landed, they crawled out, did a little exploring, and then they left the descent module behind. It’s still there, 50 years later, sitting in that same spot on the moon.
The ascent module, the silver part, flew them back up to the Command Module orbiting the moon. It was the only piece of that huge Saturn V rocket that returned to Earth again.
Would you believe that the astronauts took pictures of each other after they separated in space? The first picture is of the Command Module orbiting the moon. It was named Columbia, and Michael Collins was all alone inside.
The picture beside it is the Lunar Module, and it’s heading for the moon. It was named the Eagle, and Neil and Buzz were inside. These are the pictures they took of each other back on July 20th, 1969.
This is my last classroom. It was June of 2015. School was almost out for the summer. It was almost out forever.
This is me in that classroom back in 2015. Find the flag, and you’ll find me in the doorway. Looking back, I had no idea what was ahead. I was still a teacher. I believed I would always be a teacher. But, I knew my last teaching license would expire in June of 2019. In four short years.
June of 2019 has come and gone. I didn’t renew my license – I let it go. It was time. I will never again be a teacher. I will never have a class or a classroom again. It makes me a little sad . . .
But – I don’t want to! I don’t want to belong to a class or a classroom any more. Why? I’m having too much fun becoming the new me. Over the last 3 years, I have slowly been changing, like a caterpillar in a cocoon.
Tomorrow, I’ll tell you how I’ve changed, how I’ve evolved, and where I’m heading.
This is me in the Fall of 2015. I was no longer teaching, but I came back to my old school as a writer. I wasn’t published, but I’d been writing for 8 years. I had something to tell kids about writing, about editing, about failing, and persisting.
In the spring of 2016 I started subbing. It brought in a little money, and it got me back in my comfort zone with teachers and kids. That year I subbed 2-3 days a week.
In the fall of 2016 I decided to volunteer at the Armstrong Museum. I was on my way to becoming a docent, but I stopped. I realized, even retired I had to prioritize my time. I couldn’t do everything. I backed away from becoming a docent, but I still volunteered at the museum. I continued to sub, but only one day a week. I pulled everything back to focus on my writing, to finally write a manuscript that could be published.
I still don’t have a book traditionally published, but now I understand how much goes into it. A manuscript has to be practically perfect to find an agent or a publisher. They invest a tremendous amount of time and money to produce a book. They have to get a return on their investment. I know . . . I just self-published Neil Armstrong’s Wind Tunnel Dream. I put in the money and the time, and I’m hoping I can earn my investment back.
I couldn’t have traditionally published it. It takes 2-3 years for that. I started writing in June of 2018. Going traditionally would have meant summer 2020 or 2021. That would have been too late for the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s moon landing. Neil’s book birthday was May 17, 2019, giving me 2 months to spare!
So this is me in June 2019, author and publisher! It’s also me, a short term sub! I just applied for my substitute license. It’s going to be back dated to June so that whoever, whatever I become, a small part of me will ALWAYS be a teacher. I don’t think I could ever turn away from it, and frankly I don’t want to. Being a teacher helps me to see the world the way kids do, and it helps me write the stories they need and want.
So here’s to the next frontier . . . to Rinda Beach as substitute teacher, writer, author, and publisher! I wonder where I’ll be in five years when I renew that substitute teacher license again.
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!