Outer space revisited

I recently read my first Sci Fi book… at least I think it was the first, and yet… in a life of reading I must have read one before and anyway it was listed under adventure, and I am always up for that. Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 22.14.14I enjoyed Skylights very much and reviewed it on Amazon. I read it because I have become interested in the author Luther M. Siler via his blog and happened to read the opening of this book which gripped me. It is set in the future, but starts in a schoolroom as the assembled children are watching the launch of the Challenger in 1986.

However, I had forgotten, I have been to space before, nearly thirty years ago. Our youngest daughter decided, age four, that she wanted to be an astronaut. So we made her a space ship. Here are the engineers at work.space construction work 1For christmas that year she had a space suit.spacesuit 1And on her fifth birthday the next year we created a command centre (with lights, recorded sounds etc) for the main module of the space ship and she invited her friends to come to space with her for fifth birthday. One of her friends wanted to know if he should bring his pyjamas.space party 1They all took turns in three roles – pilot, navigator and engineer (I think). Note the Fischer-Price communications system.space party 2She also invited her wonderful first year teacher, who miraculously came. And even more gamely squeezed on board. space partyEven the cake was ready to be launched (note the candles underneath).space cake

I don’t want to end on a sad note, but it is only now that I realise that we could not have held the party a year later. This was 1985, in 1986 the Challenger attempted to take off into space with a brave and enterprising teacher aboard. Teachers are the amazing.

We were lucky, space exploration was all hope and success then. We had a wonderful, memorable party and the spaceship lived on in several incarnations ( a feature on a float, a rhododendron pot, a pots container…).

46 thoughts on “Outer space revisited

    • Thanks so much, I wondered what had happened to my inbox, as my followers are modest in number. Reading your book meant I recalled that very happy episode and also scanned some old photos into my iPhoto, so all good.

  1. What a wonderful time you gave her and her friends, Hilary ! – AND their teacher ! I see that Susanne (herself of course a mum) give your post due accolade. 🙂 I’m not a mum, but I think any kid thus encouraged in something she loved must have grown up to be a fulfilled woman.

  2. I enjoyed this enormously. Very innovative to build a space craft. I always wanted a TARDIS. I have my first (?) sci-fi in my reading pile, introduced to me by the son of a friend, who reviews sci-fi books on his blog. I think you should do the cake again next time your daughter has a birthday.

    • Now there’s a challenge. She has become rather a good cook and I have never yet made a successful spongecake… As to the construction, four-year-olds aren’t that fussed about cowboy builders, so anything goes.

    • You no doubt did other things, music? I used to worry that I had had more fun in my childhood, canoeing and camping. I think the children themselves direct things more than we realise. Mine dressed up and put on plays, but sports… nah.

  3. A fantastic and uplifting post, Hilary. Thank you for sharing. The costumes and scene settings in the pics are amazing! If that doesn’t inspire, I don’t know what does 🙂 Have a great week.

  4. Love the photos and story. [We went through an astronaut phase when our daughter was about that age as well, not quite so elaborate, though. A Halloween costume, a ship out of cardboard, books and toys here and there. . .] Anyway, you are an awesome Mum, Hilary! 🙂

    • Thank you. Some things just work out. I was working as a sculptor then, so turning out biggish structures was what I liked doing best. Most of their childhood costumes were of the pillowcase and ribbon variety.

  5. What a darling story, Hilary! And to know reincarnations are still happening. ☺ Did she continue in her interest of space and “the final frontier”? Oh, to have an astronaut amongst you!

  6. I think that has to be the best teacher ever! And you were a pretty awesome mum too! I love the space suit.
    Darn it, I never thought of that.
    My kids hung out for hours everyday in a closet under the stairs that they called their rocket They flew to nebulas, and event horizons, and through quantum foam, singing “quantum foam makes me roam.”
    When people would come over to visit they would eventually say, “Do I hear voices?”
    I would reply,” oh that’s just my children in the the closet.”
    Eventually I taught SPACE for science olympiad as a volunteer at my kids school. Well I should clarify, they taught me about space. We did rent an inflatable universe from the local space museum that sat 25 people at a time.
    I had to sit in this bloody thing for days on end, as of course all the kids in the school wanted to go to space!
    Your post brought back happy memories!

    • I’m glad this brought back happy memories. We knew nothing about space, it was just this strange obsession that our youngest had and it lasted a couple of years, then faded away (as these things do). Your dedication to the subject clearly went deeper and lasted much longer. This teacher ran first year for both my daughters and was wonderful. Sadly she has been ill for many years, but we still exchange Christmas cards.

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