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Location: Vero Beach, Florida, United States

My name is Pat and I live in Florida. My skin will never be smooth again and my hair will never see color. I enjoy collecting autographs and playing in Paint Shop Pro.,along with reading and writing. Sometimes, I enjoy myself by doing volunteer "work" helping celebrities at autograph shows. I love animals and at one time I did volunteer work for Tippi Hedren's Shambala Preserve.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Very Timely Read.

The Last Man on the Moon by Gene Cernan

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (July 1, 2000)
ISBN-10: 0312263511

Considering the President has recently brought the fact that we were finally returning to the moon to a screeching halt.. I found reading "The Last Man on the Moon" appropriate.

Amazon.com Review

That "Geno" Cernan was commander of Apollo 17, the final manned moon mission, was a fitting conclusion to a flying career that included two previous stints in space (Gemini 9 and Apollo 10). His frank, earthy memoir of his years at NASA adds another entertaining, informative volume to the burgeoning shelf of books illuminating the inner workings of the space program and the people who made it happen. Coauthor Don Davis, a veteran journalist, helps Cernan craft a colloquial prose style that nicely captures the competitive, macho personality that seemed virtually mandatory for astronauts in the 1960s and '70s. Cernan candidly depicts the reckless streak that twice led to needless injuries jeopardizing his spot on a mission. He also acknowledges the stresses endured by his ex-spouse Barbara as she struggled to be the perfect astronaut wife--cheerful and uncomplaining for the cameras while he experienced all the fun and adventure of the job. And it sure was fun, as becomes clear in the exciting descriptions of his spacewalk from Gemini 9 and stroll around the moon from Apollo 17. Detailed accounts of each flight, including technical problems and personal tensions (particularly with Apollo 17 teammate Jack Schmitt, distrusted because he was a scientist, not a test pilot), remind readers that the space program is a human endeavor, with inevitable failures that make the triumphs that much sweeter.

Gene Cernan has been, and might well be, the last man to ever step foot on the moon.  I pray this is not true.

I have found that over the years, as I occasionally read autobiographies or biographies of our astronauts from the time of *the race for the moon* , that small tidbits of unknown facts leak out.  Of *near misses* and *close encounters* (not with aliens) and *what almost was or could have been* surface and I find them very interesting.  It makes the astronauts all the more brave, and all the more heroes.  This book was no exception.

My hero worship of the astronauts from Mercury, Gemini and Apollo are unmatched. Having said that and not knowing what else to say, I think I will just write some excerpts from "The Last Man on the Moon"...

The clamped our helmets in place, turned on the oxygen, and we could no longer touch, smell or hear the outside world.  Tom and I became different from any other creatures on Earth that day.  We would breathe pure oxygen for the next three hours to rid out systems of the nitrogen that might cause bubbles in our blood during a rapid change of altitude, not unlike the "bends" that can afflict a diver rising too fast through the water.

***********************************************

We awoke to Arlo Guthrie singing "City of New Orleans".  Jack and I had a different destination.  We climber aboard Challenger at 8:50 AM December 11, Texas Time, and donned our suits, zipped and snapped, connected the helmets, and put on the gloves.  Many of the items we needed for the lunar landing were crammed inside the spacecraft, and the outer edges of Challenger were lined with the folded Rover and other things too large to fit in th e cabin.  It looked like Fibber McGee's closet on the inside and the Beverly Hillbillies' truck on the outside.

When all was ready, we undocked at 11:21 am, "Okay Houston.  This is America, Ron radioed.  We're floating free out here.  The Challenger looks real pretty.

Checkout is complete, I reported, we're looking at America the beautiful

******************************************

I took one last unfiltered look at the Earth and was enveloped by a sense of selfishness, for I was unable to adequately share what I felt.  I wanted everyone on my home planet to experience this magnificent feeling of actually being on the Moon.  That was not technologically possible, and I knew it, but there was a bit of guilt at being the Chosen One.  I put a foot on the pad and grabbed the ladder.  I knew that I had changed in the past three days and that I no longer belonged solely to the Earth.  Forever more, I would belong to the universe.  With everyone back home listening, I ignored the notes on my cuff checklist and spontaneously spoke from my heart.

"As we leave the Moon and Taurus-Littrow, we leave as we came, and God willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind." I lifted my boot from the lunar dust, adding, " As I take these last steps from the surface for some time to come, I'd just like to record that America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow."  As I turned, I again saw the small sign pasted beneath the ladder by some unknown well-wishing worker, a phrase that I repeated every time I entered or left the Challenger. "Godspeed the crew of Apollo Seventeen" I said and climbed on board.

Mine would be man's last footstep on the Moon for many years to come.

And of course as we know now.. his footprints may well be the last footprints man EVER puts on the moon.

(below photo's from the web)

Gene Cernan on the moon...leaving footprints for all time.

*****************************************************************

I had this book review written up since before my surgery and thought I would do a fast post...

I just want to thank everyone concerned about my not being on line.  I have had some surgery that didn't go quite the way I expected and it's taking longer to recover.. I hope to get back soon!!!  Thank you all so very much, it means a lot to me.

8 Comments:

Blogger Cath said...

Hey, Pat. Good to talk to you this morning and hope you're soon much improved. *Hugs* you, sis.

3:21 PM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

Hi Pat, glad to hear you are recovering albeit slower than you would like. I was worried about you when I didn't see a post for awhile and am glad all is well (well, kind of). Anyway, take care and hope you are much, much better soon!!!! Sending you loads of positive thoughts to speed your recovery.

5:29 PM  
Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I was very worried about your absence my dear Pat...And so grateful you let us know where you have been and I hope that your recovery from this surgery goes faster now....I wish you "well" in every way, my dear...You've been missed a lot....!

Thanks for this review and for the excerpts...It is really awesome to read what he says about his experience and the fact that his footsteps might be the last for a very long time, OR, maybe ever....is quite heart-stopping, you know? It is great that so many of the Astros have written their rememberances for us to have as a record of a time that was incredibly exciting in every way. I know how much you love this whole period in our History and I appreciate all you have written about it, more than I can say.

Take Good Care, My Dear!
(((((((HUGS)))))))

3:57 AM  
Blogger DesLily said...

kathleen: thank you for your good wishes..its looking like it will be a while yet but at least beginning to feel human

Naomi: I've missed you too! I haven't begun to read blogs yet It's all I can do to do emails and respond to my own blog but I'll get there!

6:11 AM  
OpenID josbookshelf said...

Hi, Pat! I just read about your recovery from surgery. Hope you get well soon. :)

12:17 PM  
Blogger DesLily said...

jos: thanks.. I hope I do too lol

5:46 AM  
Blogger Carl V. said...

I'm with you in hoping and praying that he isn't the last man to set foot on the moon. I sincerely hope things change and he isn't even the last one in our lifetime, let alone ever.

I'm sorry about all the trouble you've been going through. You've been in my prayers and Mary asked me to wish you well too.

11:57 PM  
Blogger DesLily said...

Thank you Carl & Mary.. I"m trying like heck to make this all go away!

7:23 AM  

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