April 8, 1964
Jocie Brooke here reporting from her front yard a couple of miles outside Hollyhill. Out here this far from town, you can see the stars pretty good. That’s what I’m doing tonight. Outside looking up at the stars. The moon is going into its dark phase so it isn’t making any light to hide the stars. Hasn’t even come up yet. The stars are great but that’s not why I’m out here getting a crick in my neck staring up at the them. You can see stars most any night except when the clouds move in. But today NASA launched a spaceship. It’s up there orbiting the earth. Nobody’s in this one. But a few years ago we sent men into space.
Dad would tell me that if I’m going to be reporting, I should give some facts. I shouldn’t be simply woolgathering. Whatever that means. You ever notice how older people say the oddest things. Woolgathering – what’s that got to do with thinking about things?
But back to spacemen. Alan Shepherd was our first man in space in May 1961, but the Soviets beat us in that space race by getting their cosmonaut into orbit in April 1961. NASA didn’t get a man in orbit until John Glenn went up aboard Friendship 7 in February 1962. I looked up at the sky then too and imagined how it might be up in space. What would earth look like that far away? Would you be scared and thinking you’d never make it back home?
I don’t know if that’s why they’re doing these new launches without astronauts on board. All the men that went up did make it back down. Their pictures were in the papers and on television waving after their space capsules were plucked out of the sea. Daddy says now the space people are just trying to get more information about sending things into space before they put more men in the spaceships. He says it will happen, that men will someday go to the moon. President Kennedy said we could make that happen before he was assassinated.
And so I’m looking up at the sky. I don’t know if I can see the spaceship, Gemini I. But it’s up there proving that nothing is out of reach. Well, not space anyway. Aunt Love is yelling for me to come inside. She says I’m going to catch my death of cold. She says man shouldn’t be trying to go to the moon. That the Lord put us here on earth and we should be satisfied to keep our feet on the ground and tend to whatever work the good Lord gives us. She thinks the space people should get out their Bibles and read about the Tower of Babel before something bad happens.
She could be right. But it’s exciting to think about reaching for the moon and maybe even someday the stars. Wes laughs about it all. You remember that he claims to be from Jupiter, don’t you? Anyway, he says Mr. Jupiter, the boss up there, gave up on going to their moons a long time ago since they have dozens of them. It would have bankrupted their space program. Instead they just came to Earth. Only one of us and the crazy things the people here do make for great stories when the Jupiter spaceships head back home – zigzagging past all those moons.
I guess if I stick to facts like a good news reporter should, I might have to leave Jupiter out of the mix. But here on the Hollyhill Book of the Strange, it’s fun to have a little strangely unbelievable news.
But wouldn’t it be neat to be up there in a spaceship? I don’t think the Lord would mind. He made space too. And the view has to be great. What do you think?