The successful launch of Endeavor today meant a lot to Idahoans. You see, Barbara Morgan was the runner up in the Teacher in Space program over 20 years ago. At the time she was selected, she was a teacher in McCall, Idaho, a small lake and ski resort community 100 north of Boise. (Her husband, by the way, is a novelist. I got to meet and talk to Clay Morgan many years. His family goes way, way back in the McCall area.)
Anyway, Barbara was watching in Florida when the Challenger exploded. Christa McAuliffe was her friend as well as fellow educator. But despite that horrible disaster in 1986, Barbara never let go of the dream to go into space. She went on to become an astronaut, and today, as Mission control exclaimed, Barbara Morgan was “racing toward space on the wings of a legacy.” (Loved that line!) Her dream of being a teacher in space is being fulfilled (at the age of 55!) even as I write this blog.
Okay, I cried. Most of those teachers she worked with in McCall twenty years ago cried. Most of the state of Idaho was watching and cheering – and a lot of us crying or at least sniffling. And we breathed a huge sigh of relief as they passed that 73 second mark. (In the photo of the crew, Barbara is second from the left.)
Barbara will be doing some teaching from space, including speaking to Idaho kids at the Discovery Center in a couple of days. I may stay up late tonight to try to see the International Space Station as it travels across the Idaho skies around 10:45. Congrats, Barbara. We’re cheering for you. Wave as you pass over us.