The Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story
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Read the bestselling book that inspired the ABC television series.
As America's Mercury Seven astronauts were launched on death-defying missions, television cameras focused on the brave smiles of their young wives. Overnight, these women were transformed from military spouses into American royalty. They had tea with Jackie Kennedy, appeared on the cover of Life magazine, and quickly grew into fashion icons.
Annie Glenn, with her picture-perfect marriage, was the envy of the other wives; JFK made it clear that platinum-blonde Rene Carpenter was his favorite; and licensed pilot Trudy Cooper arrived with a secret that needed to stay hidden from NASA. Together with the other wives they formed the Astronaut Wives Club, providing one another with support and friendship, coffee and cocktails.
As their celebrity rose-and as divorce and tragedy began to touch their lives-the wives continued to rally together, forming bonds that would withstand the test of time, and they have stayed friends for over half a century. THE ASTRONAUT WIVES CLUB tells the story of the women who stood beside some of the biggest heroes in American history.
Joan. “I was naïve; I had been brought up as an only child; probably I was spoiled. Men don’t really chatter as women do, and Buzz is not a man who talks a lot. I am a talker, and I am very direct. It was hard for me, not to have him there to talk to.” The other astronauts gave him the moniker Dr. Rendezvous, because when he was earning his doctoral degree at MIT, the subject of his thesis was “Manned Orbital Rendezvous,” which he dedicated to the Mercury Seven astronauts. It turned out to be
private dressing room, with the promise of finding evening dresses, at least one for each. “After all, what does any woman think about when she hears she is going to Paris—clothes!” Lady Bird wrote in her diary. To her delight, it turned out the Pats were both a size ten. “That’s great—so am I,” Lady Bird noted approvingly. Picking up her First Lady’s telephone, Lady Bird called her secretary and suggested they put on an impromptu fashion show. The Pats were getting a very rare privilege
money she spent. When she returned to Timber Cove she even bought Gus’s share of Performance Unlimited and looked forward to going to the Daytona 500 with the Rathmanns. She loved car racing. She could buy anything she wanted now. Gus had left her with that $100,000 Life insurance policy, some investments, and around six hundred dollars a month from his military pension. Of course, it wouldn’t last forever, but it was enough to kick-start Betty’s new life. She was becoming almost a textbook
wouldn’t be able to attend regular midnight mass, since her husband would be performing some critical maneuvers then, but there was something godly about going around the Moon. He wanted Marilyn to have a special Christmas. She and Father Raish knelt down at the altar. As they prayed, tears welled in Marilyn’s eyes. Driving home from church, her whole heart was up there with the Apollo 8 crew. As she was pulling into Timber Cove, she looked up at the sky, just as she and Jim had when they were
garbagemen make their rounds early in the morning in Nassau Bay, Buzz commented that he thought they didn’t take enough pride in their work, listlessly slinging the bags up into the truck instead of giving it their all. Joan knew that Buzz gave everything his all. He would undertake his Apollo 11 flight with vim, vigor, and gusto, and though he’d be a hero to the rest of the world, she knew he’d return to Earth the same thoughtful, brilliant man he’d always been. “A curious mixture of magnificent