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2003 UACC Autograph Show in Washington, DC

  Photo Credits: Mary
Lexie, me, and Walt Cunningham at the Houston UACC Autograph Show
Lexie, me, and Astronaut Walt Cunningham at the Houston UACC autograph show.
Richard Gordon, me, and Lexie at the Houston UACC Autograph Show
Astronaut Richard Gordon, me, and Lexie at the Houston UACC Autograph Show
Edgar Mitchell, me, and Lexie at the Houston UACC autograph show
Astronaut Edgar Mitchell with me, and Lexie at the Houston UACC autograph show
Me, Lexie, and Alan Bean at the Houston UACC Autograph Show
Me with Lexie, and Astronaut Alan Bean at the Houston UACC Autograph show.

On Saturday, February 5th, 2000 and autograph show was held in Houston, Texas.  My wife Mary, my granddaughter Lexie and I attended the show.

Appearing at the show were four astronauts.  Those astronauts were Alan Bean, Walt Cunningham, Richard Gordon, and Edgar Mitchell.  Bean and Mitchell were both moonwalkers and I especially wanted to introduce Lexie to them.

The astronauts were great with Lexie.  They really enjoyed her.  Edgar Mitchell invited Lexie to sit on his lap.  Lexie was a little big too shy though and declined his offer.  Mary was able to take photos of Lexie and me with all four of the astronauts.

The nice thing about this show is that it was fairly relaxed.  It didn’t have the masses of people vying for the attention of the astronauts like I have seen at some shows.

I had a really nice conversation with Walt Cunningham and his wife Dot.  We talked about his book, “All American Boys”.  This was the first time I had ever met Richard Gordon.  He was so nice.  It was like talking with your father.  I told Captain Gordon that of the 23 men still alive who flew to the Moon, he was the next to last for me to meet.  He responded “I’m sure glad I wasn’t last.”

One of the items that I had signed by Edgar Mitchell was an oil painting that I had done. I had taken up oil painting in the summer of 1999.  The second painting that I did was a painting of Alan Shepard saluting the flag at Fra Mauro.  That photo that Edgar Mitchell took of Shepard has always been one of my favorites.

Mitchell inscribed it for me “1st Fra Mauro Expedition”, Feb 1971 Edgar Mitchell Apollo 14.” and signed it.  Mitchell told me that he thought the painting was really nice.  Houston area space collector Richard Stonely was seated by Mitchell and he also gave me nice compliments on the painting.

I then took the painting over to the table that Alan Bean was seated at.  Bean himself is a very accomplished artist.  I told Mr. Bean that he was an inspiration to me.  After seeing his paintings and collecting limited editions of his artwork for years, I decided to take up oil painting.  Bean got a twinkle in his eye.  He seemed really impressed.

Bean commented to me “That’s fabulous, and that is only your second painting?”  I told him that it was.  He then asked me “How many classes have you taken?”  My reply was that I haven’t taken any.  He said “Well you’ve really got talent.  You need to take some classes for some basics, but this shows that you’ve got a really good eye.”   His recommendation was that I take some classes from the Houston Art Museum.  That wasn’t possible though since I am not a Houston resident.

Bean asked me how long I had worked on the painting.  I told him that I thought it was about a month and a half.  He said “Well, I wouldn’t work on this one any more.  Set it aside and start on another.  Have this one framed up and hang it where you paint.”

We had a very long conversation.  I was dazed that it was even happening.  I certainly never expected Alan Bean to pay me such great compliments.  Talking to Alan and hearing his praise, gave me a really warm feeling inside.

Talking with Bean about art was fabulous.  I could not have asked for any better experience at an autograph show.

After we were finished at the show, Mary, Lexie, and I went over to a really nice seafood restaurant.  The food there was fabulous.  It was a great way to cap off the show.

Following our lunch, we drove over to the Houston Science and History Museum.  Lexie enjoyed the dinosaur skeleton exhibit.  There was also a butterfly arboretum that was really nice.  It was very cool to have exotic butterflies flitting around.  Lexie got a really kick out of that.

What a beautiful weekend it was to share with my wife and granddaughter.

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UPDATED : February 18, 2007
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