Monday, November 28, 2016

My Musing, Monday November 28

Today I am both musing and reviewing.  I was in Barnes and Nobel over the week-end and picked up the new Analog Science Fiction and Fact magazine.  When I checked out the stories and authors I found a short story I just had to read.  The story; The Continuing Saga of Tom Corbett: Space Cadet by James Van Pelt.

Tom Corbett books were some of my favorites as a young girl.  I loved anything about space.  That love started when I was about 10 and found  Trouble on Titan at my local library.  I was immediately in love with space and space travel.  I wanted to journey beyond Earth's atmosphere and often day-dreamed about the adventures I would share with the characters in the books I read.

I purchased and read every Tom Corbett book.  When I got older I packed them up and stored them in my Mother's attic.  I stilled dreamed about space and hoped that it would be possible for me to go in my lifetime.  I did not want to be a scientist- I wanted to be the pilot on the ships.  As a teenager I was told that I could learn to fly but I could never be hired as a pilot because I was a girl, I could be a teacher, a secretary, or a nurse if I wanted to work but I could not be a pilot.  How unfair.  I did not like it but had to accept that that was the way the world worked.  So I became a teacher.  Then the world changed.

Affirmative Action arrived.  The first woman to fly for a major airline was hired and I went to the airport to learn to fly.  It took me several years but I got the ratings I needed and started to fly for pay.  Then the world changed again.  The military started training women to be pilots.  That part was too late for me.  By the time that happened I was 28 with a husband and three small children.  Life in the military was not in the cards.  I always told myself that I would be thankful for what I had and I would not ever be bitter or angry about what I missed.  I loved flying but still would have loved to go the space.

Space did not open up like I would have liked it to.  I never got the chance to go but I did meet the first woman to pilot the space shuttle.  She and I were both at a Women in Aviation conference.  She came into a meeting and sat down beside me.  She was in uniform and I saw her pilots wings.  I asked her what she flew and she told me and then added that she was about to make a change.  She had just be told that she had been chosen as the next pilot on the space shuttle.  I was happy for her but for just a very brief time I was angry that I never had the chance to a least try.  

So what did my flying career look like. I did charter work and corporate flying but it turns out that being a teacher was indeed my calling.  My classroom was the cockpit of a airplane teaching others to fly.  I was the Department Chair of two different college aviation departments and had a very rewarding career.

So back to Tom Corbett and the story James Van Pelt wrote.  Tomike, called Tom for short was also a Corbett.  She discovers the Tom Corbett books and longs to be a Space Cadet in the Solar Guard and go to the Space Academy.  Like me she wrote herself into the adventures in the Tom Corbett books. (There were not women in the Solar Guard so she put some in.)  What, she thinks, if there is a real Space Academy?  What if she tries really hard to be qualified and is chosen.  

What do you think happened.  I could identify with everything she felt and wanted.  The biggest surprise to me was not what happened but who wrote the story.  I would have expected it to be written by a woman but that just goes to show you that I have some gender bias too.

I think anyone who dreamed of space would enjoy and identify with the story.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, JC. That was a moving story review, which is something I've never said before. I'm glad the story worked for you.


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