Today’s anniversary of the moon landing brought back many memories and it made me realize how pivotal it was to my life.
As an early science fiction fan, I read my first SF at 6. The space program and in particular the moon landing captured my attention. I watched every second of the moon landing. That was it, I was going to be an astronaut. I clipped newspaper articles, read books, collected space stamps and watched everything I could on the subject.
But I soon learned that being an astronaut was out of the question, not because I was a girl, (the thought that that was a problem never occurred to me), but because I had asthmatic lungs. Not to be deterred, I decided I was going to be an astronomer. At the young age of 12 I joined the Royal Astronomical Society and went to monthly meetings. I saved up my babysitting money and bought my first telescope, a refractor, at 15 then later bought another scope, a reflector this time, when I was 16.
I had my career all planned out! I went into the pure and applied science stream in high school and took every math and physics course I could. I was ecstatic when I got accepted into Astronomy at the University of Toronto. Things didn’t quite turn out the way I had expected, though, I hated theoretical physics. I kept on plugging for three years because I loved the subject so much but when I learned I couldn’t participate in the 4th year work term at the Hawaii-France-Canada telescope (again because of my asthma), and I discovered that you practically had to wait for someone to die before you got a job as an astronomer, I decided to reconsider my goals. I started looking for another program to finish my degree.
My second love was writing. I thought I would be a science journalist, but there were no courses in that, so I settled on creative writing to hone my writing skills and thought maybe I could be a textbook editor/writer. I ended up with a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Science and fell into my first job as a technical writer, not having a clue what it was. And the rest (as they say) is history.
I still love science fiction, reading 100’s of books a year, watch many of the science fiction shows, and get my telescopes out periodically. If it hadn’t been for the moon landing, I don’t think I would be where I am today.