As I wrote previously, school has started, yet the temperatures are still summer-like. The days are definitely shorter and the light has shifted. Fall is coming, but there is still lots of summer left. And, I still have lots of summer reading to do. I just got a box of books from Powells, my favorite used bookstore. This was in it:
A true story about the wives of the astronauts of the 60s and 70s, starting all the way back in 1959 when the first team, the Mercury 7, was named as the men who will go into space.
There has been much written on the men, but no one has ever told the women’s story, the wives behind the astronauts and what their life was like. This is it. Although a true story, it reads like a novel, and it has fascinated me. Enough so that I did some research on these women, the seven on the cover, to learn more about them. Five of them are still living. Except for two, all the couples divorced. The astronauts went on to remarry, and most of them are now dead.
LIFE Magazine gave the seven families $500,000, to be split amongst them, if they would allow LIFE, and only LIFE, into their lives. The photo at the top of this post, the one on the cover of the book, is from a LIFE photo shoot done in 1959, before the first space flights even occurred. LIFE also promised to protect the families from the press and to guard their secrets (like Annie Glenn’s stuttering affliction). The astronauts and their wives were celebrities.
I found this photo while doing more research:
From left to right: Annie Glenn, Rene Carpenter, Louise Shepard, Betty Grissom, Trudy Cooper, Marge Slayton.
Reading about these women, and their friendship, made me think about Allied Arts Girls, the book I wrote last year about a women’s group in our church that I discovered while working in the archives. Think I’ll go back and do some editing on it.