Friday, November 13, 2009

Still a Rocket Kid

My father is dying. When I got the news, and before I can get there to see him, I found myself wanting to reread -- and possibly rewrite -- my memoir of growing up with the crazy rocket engineer. Rocket Lessons has not (yet) sold, but I can post a few excerpts here to give you an idea. It's really why I started this blog, to surface the book. I think I really will have to go back and see what I can do with this record of the 50s-60s Cold War era in America, seen from the zany perspective of one the soldiers in the aerospace trenches -- days when real men wore pocket protectors, slide rules, and buzz cuts.


I also googled my father and discovered something he never mentioned to any of us (maybe my mother knew but has forgotten). He patented a device to launch liquid fuel rockets. You can see his drawing and abstract still on file at the Patent Office.


In other news, I never did blog about a lovely review my book Femme au chapeau received from Cheryl Snell at Library Thing in February. Thanks, Cheryl!

And if I did mention it, well, it's worth two mentions!


  1. So sorry to hear about your father, Rachel. My thoughts are with you.
    It is interesting growing up with these scientist fathers, isn't it? What do we become in their wake?

  2. Thank you, Jeannine. I very much appreciate it! Yes, a scientist father lends a certain world-view. In my case, ther was a sense of excitement in our house about science and technology and its possibilities. Plus we read lots of science fiction, and my father encouraged scientific curiosity. Poor Dad! I'm sure he was perplexed when early on I became interested in poetry, which he says he has never been able to understand. But he does like the poems I wrote about him. "They're all about me," he said. Very cute.

  3. I'm so sorry to hear about your father -- I lost my mother almost two years ago, and there are still days that I forget that she is gone. Of course, when we write about our parents, their lives do go on..

  4. We're sorry about your father, Rachel. We also grew up with a scientist dad. He really enriched our ways of seeing things.

    I'll let Cheryl know that you mentioned her review.


  5. Karen, thanks. My father died last Saturday, and it still seems unreal. I keep thinking I can pick up the phone and call. Maybe in some way, I can. I've been writing about him, and learning a lot about our relationship.

    Janet, thanks for your thoughts. Scientists fathers impart a unique sense of inquisitiveness that's wonderful for writers. It does enrich our perspective and ability to really look.