No. Not really. I’d be terrified.
I am, however, newly obsessed with the Space Race of the 1950s and 60s, all thanks to the book and television series The Astronaut Wives Club. My mom and I decided to watch the show on a whim, and now we are hooked. We hustled to Barnes and Noble to pick up a copy of Lily Koppel’s book, and the obsession became completely ingrained.
We’ve been enthralled with the fashion of the past, captivated by the relationships between the real-life astronauts and their wives, and busy googling and wondering about the real people behind the space craze.
I’ve never been a girl fascinated by space; I’ve honestly always been terrified of the “last frontier.” The thought of a whole lot of nothing and dark matter and stars just floating out there to infinity and beyond scares the living daylight out of me. I hate thinking about things that are unknown–my future, ingredients in the food at sketchy restaurants, and space, of course. It’s all too much.
The Astronaut Wives Club makes space seem a little more…human. Feasible. Nostalgic. I can empathize with the wives holding their breaths and wringing their hands as their husbands blasted off to dabble among the stars. I can’t imagine the anxiety, the not knowing, these women must have felt. I admire their bravery to face the press for the sake of beating the Russians to the Moon. I have nothing but respect for the women behind the heroes–some put up with infidelity (at least until after the Space Race) to help secure their husband’s spot in history; others battled inner battles (such as Annie Glenn’s speech impediment) to upkeep the essential ideal American appearance. They put on brave faces for the press despite their feelings of terror and apprehension.
Long story short, these women are lofty hero[ines] themselves.
Thanks to the ABC drama and the biographic page-turner, I’ve even conjured up a slight interest in the stars. About a week ago, I ventured out after sunset and marveled at a celestial phenomenon–Venus and Jupiter were in sight, so close to each other that my pinky finger could cover them both. Scholars believe this phenomenon could have been the star of Bethlehem. I wouldn’t have even cared if it weren’t for the Astronaut Wives, real women who would look at the Moon knowing their husbands were so desperate to walk its surface for the sake of fame, country, and history.
If you haven’t watched the TV show or picked up the book, I urge you to do so. These were real women living in a time when women had limited rights. They were supposed to be the perfect homemakers and have things just so, but they also had a voice. I love learning about different times in history, but I never paid much attention to America’s space craze. Now I know what an incredible time in history it was, and I also know a little about the people behind the Moon walks and the missions. It took a whole army to make history–men and wives included.