On Saturday, February 5th, 2000
and autograph show was held in Houston, Texas. My wife
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
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
One of the items that I had signed by Edgar
Mitchell was an oil painting that I had done. I had taken up oil
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
Shepard has always been one of my favorites.
Mitchell inscribed it for me “1st Fra
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
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
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
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