A memoir of working as one of the few female employees at the Kennedy Space Center in the 1960s.
Martha Lemasters’s gripping memoir tells the remarkable story of her life as a single mother employed at Cape Kennedy during the Apollo years. Fiercely determined, she works her way up, finally realizing her dream of becoming a writer in a male-dominated workplace, and witnesses history first hand.
In this riveting insider's look at the real dream team who made landing a man on the moon possible, we get to know many of the main players in the most powerful scientific and engineering team of its time.
The space race and the sexual revolution collide in this true story of what it was like to be a part of this remarkable era, and the historical accomplishment of launching our astronauts to the moon.
|Publisher:||Morgan James Publishing|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||2 MB|
About the Author
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
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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.