The Step: One Woman's Journey to Finding her Own Happiness and Success During the Apollo Space Program

The Step: One Woman's Journey to Finding her Own Happiness and Success During the Apollo Space Program

by Martha Lemasters


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The Step: One Woman's Journey to Finding her Own Happiness and Success During the Apollo Space Program by Martha Lemasters

The names of the astronauts will forever be inscribed in our history books, but the names of the entire Apollo launch support team at the Kennedy Space Center and the thousands who supported Apollo elsewhere will only be known to a few.

It is the technical team, the engineers, analysts, programmers, and yes, even the secretaries and typists who kept the administrative side moving, who are portrayed in this book. This combined team, after achieving an unbelievable goal of putting men on the moon within the 10-year limit set by Kennedy, performed in an exemplary manner. Some believe they were the greatest technological team ever assembled, achieving the most difficult challenge of all mankind to date.

The Apollo team faced challenges and temptations like anyone else in the 60’s: divorce, affairs, deaths, three shifts of work schedules, as well as women’s issues, but they also knew how to have fun along the way. Choruses were formed, humorous skits brought laughs to facility dinners, and tennis bets of a lifetime played out on an Apollo stage with human lives on the line, etched with historic backdrops.

What was it like to be a part of this history-making event of launching our astronauts to the moon? Fasten your seat belts and journey back to the 60’s for a front-row seat by someone who experienced it all.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781630477141
Publisher: Morgan James Publishing
Publication date: 04/05/2016
Pages: 282
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.70(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Martha Lemasters spent almost ten years working as a PR writer at Cape Kennedy as a member of IBM’s team on NASA’s Apollo Program in the sixties and seventies. As a member of the launch support team, these years saw success in seven moon landings, Skylab and Apollo/Soyuz. She worked her way up the ladder from secretary to a respected writer as a single mother of three daughters, trying to find her own happiness along the way.

Read an Excerpt

I often wonder about old southern tales, sayings and predictions. My mother and grandmother have plenty of them, doling them out to me as sacred gospel. Mrs. Spalding, my fifth grade teacher, recites them to our class occasionally. Are they true and should I believe in their predictions and efficacy?

It is a memory that I recall many times, for inspiration, for confidence, or to simply smile, sit back and remember…

The year is 1948 and I am eleven years old in the sixth grade at South Side Elementary School in Ft. Lauderdale. It’s a warm sunny May day with the anticipation of the end of school in everyone’s thoughts. At recess, I’m playing softball with the sixth grade girls against the fifth grade girls. I hit a long ball, a sure home run. I round the bases and jump on the home plate, positive of my home run and jubilant with my efforts; my friends cheer me on as if I’m some famous softball player, only to be told the exact opposite.

“You’re out!” yells my teacher, strict Mrs. Spaulding, who is refereeing the annual game, in her three-quarter-length dress and chunky black shoes, behind the plate.

“You failed to tag second base,” came her decree.

“But, I must have touched second base.”

“No, you went right by it. You have to touch every base.”

I feel my chin rise, my teeth clinch, but I don’t cry. I know I’ll be up to bat again and know what I have to do and will do. The very next time at bat, I whack it even further than my first supposed home run. I traverse the bases, pouncing on every base with both feet, and once again I jump on home plate, looking up at Mrs. Spaulding with both arms raised.

“Well done,” she says.

Later, back in our classroom, after the school bell rings, signifying the end of the day and the end of the school year, I rise to leave with the rest of the class. Mrs. Spaulding says, “Martha, please stay after, I’d like to talk to you.” I return to my desk and anxiously wait. Am I in trouble for my grandstanding? After the last students leave the room, she motions me to come to her desk.

“Since this is the last day you’ll be in my class I want to tell you something,” she begins in her slow southern accent. “I want you to tell your parents what I am going to say to you. Will you do that”?

“Yes Ma’am, Ms. Spalding.”

“You’ve not been the smartest child in my class. You’re good at what you like to do but there is another ingredient that you do have that will take you far in this world. You’ve got ‘The Step.’ Your dogged determination is something that will stay with you and enable you to achieve.

She notices the confused look on my face, “Honey, ‘The Step’ is an old Southern term. When you have a goal, your ‘step’ is concentrated and it hurries you along, guides you to win, or to accomplish. Your pace becomes a little faster; your stride is determined and strong, you become more focused.”

She pauses, looks right in my eyes to see if I fully understand her message.

“You’ll understand what ‘The Step’ means some day,” she says, “ I mean its full meaning, the way it can transform and perform miracles. ”

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Growing Up in Florida

Chapter 2: The Journey

Chapter 3: Early Space Program

Chapter 4: Apollo Begins

Chapter 5: My Life as a Secretary

Chapter 6: I Get Promoted to Writer

Chapter 7: A Time to Sing

Chapter 8: Apollo 10

Chapter 9: I Become a Safety Hazard

Chapter 10: Let’s Slide

Chapter 11: IBM’s Control Center/Apollo 11 Dinner

Chapter 12: The Match

Chapter 13: And Along Came Jack

Chapter 14: Countdown Demonstration Test. . .The Germans Arrive

Chapter 15: IBM. . .Ready for Launch

Chapter 16: Apollo 12 Through 17

Chapter 17: 1975. . .We March

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The Step: One Woman's Journey to Finding her Own Happiness and Success During the Apollo Space Program 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Tori-B More than 1 year ago
A fascinating read! Told through the eyes of one of few women contractors, this is an inspiring, behind-the-scenes account of the dedication it took by many thousands of people to put a man on the moon during the Apollo Program. What really brought it "to earth" for me is Martha's personal story told in the context of this historic moment in U.S. history. Fast-paced and moving, it tells of the heartaches, challenges, and pride of an incredible mission accomplished with great sacrifice on the part of many. Martha's indomitable spirit shines throughout and captures one's imagination with honesty and humor--you feel like you're right there with her as she comes into her own worth. Her role as writer for the IBM launch team gave her security access to follow virtually any story anywhere at Kennedy Space Center.