My dad visited Henry's class on Wednesday afternoon, to talk about his days as an astronaut.
All right, actually he was an engineer at Grumman Aerospace, where he worked on the design of the lunar module. Among other things. I am unclear as to what he did. Only I know it was impressive!
"You know," I told him, "You could have just said you were an astronaut. They were ready and willing to believe whatever you told them."
"Right," he laughed, and gave me that look. That do you mean it? I think you mean it, Alice, you nut, what kind of values did I teach you look.
"'It's Henry's grandpa, Buzz Aldrin!'"
Anyway, because Henry's grandpa built something (or designed something, WHATEVER) that made it to the moon, he was as good as an astronaut to these kids. They were in awe. "I like your glasses," one of them said, as soon as he walked in. "You look cool," another kid observed.
My favorite thing about visiting Henry's classroom is that the kids act like you're a celebrity. An adult, in our midst! But--but you're not normally here! Can I get your autograph?
Anyway, my dad told them all about the design of the lunar module, sometimes in more detail than I thought they could comprehend, but damned if they didn't eat it up.
Plus he had a cool model. That our household is going to get, one of these days. My parents have it in their basement. Their basement! That thing deserves a display case.
The kids were scandalized at the fact that the astronauts had to leave detritus on the moon. "That's littering," was the collective murmur. "And someday the moon-people will come to our planet and steal our children in order to get their revenge," I whispered to the back row of kids. (No I didn't.)
One question no one asked: where did the astronauts go to the bathroom? Scott, my mom, and I were all standing in the back, waiting for that one. But alas.
"Could you imagine," I said later, "what would have happened if you had told them that astronauts wear diapers? Chaos! They would have had to end the day early!"
My mom sighed. "I knew I should have asked it. I was going to," she said.
"I would have told them that there was a special porthole built into the shuttle, out of which the astronauts could stick their butts," I said.
My dad just shook his head. It's not easy, being the smartest person in this family.