As you may know (if you read my bio), I grew up with the Apollo missions. My dad was a big influence there, following all the missions. He collected photos and other memorabilia. For the Apollo 17 mission, he bought the mission guide from NASA. While going through some old boxes after he died, I found the guide and took it home.
In 2006 Harrison ‘Jack’ Schmidt was to make an appearance at an Astronomical League convention. He was to be the keynote speaker. I couldn’t wait! I signed up as soon as the registration form became available. I bought tickets for my family, hoping that someday they’d appreciate what an honor it was to meet one of only 12 men to have walked on the moon.
I immediately thought about the mission guide. I thought it would be a nice tribute to my dad’s love of Apollo to get an autograph.
During the evening meal, before the appearance of Jack Schmidt, I was so excited. I didn’t know if we’d have the chance to meet him or if he would be signing autographs. He gave his talk about mining the moon, an idea I’m not on board with, but it was very interesting.
After the talk I was pleased to hear that he would meet with people and sign a copy of his book. I didn’t buy the book, but was hopeful that he would sign the guide. When I got to the front of the line I showed him the guide. He very politely declined to sign it, but told me there was a place I could send it on the Internet for signing.
I was disappointed, but I understood. The mission guide sits unsigned on my bookshelf. It means too much to me to risk sending it through the mail. I was happy with the meeting. Though I didn’t get my autograph, I did get a handshake, a picture and a big check mark on my bucket list!