| July 1989 was the 25th anniversary
of the Apollo
11 Moon landing. To coincide with that
anniversary Apollo 11 Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin authored a book
In June of 1989, Dr. Aldrin appeared at Taylor's Bookstore in Addison,
Texas to promote his book.
I read about the appearance and book signing in the
newspaper. My friend Andy Sheppard and I
made plans to attend the event. It
scheduled for the early evening probably around 6 PM.
Andy and I left work early that day to ensure that we got a
good spot in line at the book signing. I
think we must have gotten over to the bookstore at around 3 PM. There were a few people in line at this
point, but it was less than ten. Andy
and I assumed our position in line. My
girlfriend Mary would be joining us at around 5:30.
Mary and I had been only dating since Easter, but we were
very close. Mary did not understand
what the entire hubbub was about with an astronaut.
After all she saw them washing their cars in
their driveways in Houston
was a child. It was no big deal to
Mary. It was however an opportunity for
her and I to spend more time together. That
was enough motivation for her to come over to
the signing after
5:30 arrived and Mary found Andy and me in line for the
signing. She was happy with our
position, because it was in the cookbook section of the store. Cookbooks were some of her favorite books. Waiting for Aldrin would not be a hardship
While we were there in line, we struck up a conversation
with the person behind us. His name was
Mark Shelton. Mark was about the same
age as we were. We learned that like us
he was a real space enthusiast. He
showed a book that he had brought with him. That
book was The History of Manned Spaceflight. It
was a nice book and I always wanted to add
one to my collection. What was
unbelievable about Mark's copy was that he had dozens if not hundreds
astronaut autographs in it.
He told us some of the stories about how he had met these
people. One story in particular
resonated with me. That was his story
about meeting Charlie Duke in Duke's own living room.
He had just called Duke up and arranged a
meeting. This story resonated, because
Mary had been trying to do that same thing for me.
She had not been having a lot of success, but
from Mark's story we gained new hope.
Another thing that Mark told us about was the upcoming 25th
anniversary activities planned at the Johnson
The plans sounded great and we would make sure
to keep an eye out for the details. We
exchanged contact information with Mark so that we could stay in touch.
By 6:00 PM I would guess there were at least 300 people in
line for the book signing. It was an
incredible turnout. In fact it was
probably the best turn out that Taylor’s
bookstore had up to that point. The line
wound all the way throughout the bookstore. That
in itself was amazing. I
felt good that Andy and I had gotten to the store early, even thought
waiting in line for 3 hours.
A brief announcement over the store loud speaker announced
that Buzz Aldrin had arrived. Spontaneous
applause erupted from the people in line. The
atmosphere felt electrified to me. I could
not believe that I was in the same
room with the second man to walk on the Moon.
I had dreamed about meeting him since 1969 and here
25 years later it
was finally going to happen.
Andy went in line before me. I
had given my camera to him and asked him to take a
photo of me with
Aldrin. Andy got up to the desk with
Aldrin. He got a book and a photo
I was next. I handed
the book to the lady assisting Aldrin for his signature.
I also handed her a lithograph of Buzz
saluting the flag on the moon. Aldrin
signed both of them. Mary got a book and
a lithograph of the Apollo 11 Crew signed for me.
I wanted to shake his hand. I
struggled to get the works to come out from my
vocal cords. Resembling a mouse, I meekly
“Can I shake your hand?” Aldrin smiled,
put down his pen and reached across the table to shake my hand. Andy captured that handshake with a fabulous
It is difficult to convey how shaking Aldrin’s hand felt for
me. I don't want to sound sacrilegious
but it was as if I had just shaken the hand of God.
So high up on a pedestal had my hero worship
placed these men that I never would have dreamed of ever meeting one of
them. After the signatures we stood off
to the side for a while and marveled as other people came through the
The mission was accomplished. I
was thrilled to have met Aldrin and to
receive his autograph. Mary was thrilled
because I bought her a Martha Stewart Entertaining cookbook.
Andy, Mary, and I wanted to celebrate our success. Across the street from the bookstore was a
decent seafood restaurant. We went over
there for dinner. While we were talking
subject of Charlie Duke came up. I will
save the rest of this story for when I tell the story about Charlie
Duke. Follow the Charlie Duke link to get