the ocean, with flying fish landing on the deck seemed very exciting to me. My father was a truck driver and one day when he was gone I wanted to see what was happening out on the raft. I climbed up into his chair and picked up the book. I was horrified to find that I could read very little of it. I clearly remember thinking that by the time I learned to read in school, it would be too late and I would be so far behind I would never catch up. I got my folks to get me a book which turned out to be “Lassie Come Home” and nearly drove both of them nuts asking, “what is this word”. It took me about thee weeks to read the whole book and then I went crazy reading. Reading everything, junk mail, National Geographics, Kon-Tiki, and my grandmothers 1940's encyclopedia. In the encyclopedia was a drawing of the sun and the planets. There was a drawing of a 1940's airliner and info about how long it would take to get to the planets if that airliner could fly in space. That drawing filled me with awe. At the same time I stumbled across a kids book called “Space Ship to the Moon”, I read it so many times I nearly wore it out. I still have it, see the accompanying photo. After that the hook was set deep. National Geographic had a lot of articles about aviation, astronomy, and the early efforts to explore space. I hungrily, devoured every word. I will be 66 in a few days and I am still at it. Stephen Hawkins
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