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  Rene Carpenter, astronaut Scott Carpenter's wife

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Author Topic:   Rene Carpenter, astronaut Scott Carpenter's wife
Ruth Tiedemann
New Member

Posts: 9
From: Overland Park, KS USA
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 07-15-2006 07:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ruth Tiedemann   Click Here to Email Ruth Tiedemann     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rene Carpenter wrote a newspaper column for one of the Houston papers (I believe the Chronicle) during the time she and Scott lived in the NASA area. After they left there, she co-hosted a television show in Baltimore.

I admired her and her work immensely, especially her sensitive writing, and I've always wanted to tell her so.

KSCartist
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Posts: 2683
From: Titusville, FL USA
Registered: Feb 2005

posted 07-16-2006 06:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If you scan the posts in this message board, you'll see that the very lovely daughter of Rene and Scott also posts here.

KC Stoever
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Posts: 1009
From: Denver, CO USA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 07-16-2006 08:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the assist, Tim!

Ruth, I was visiting with my mom, Rene, just today, and can tell you (1) that she's in fine fettle and (2) she would love to hear from you. I well remember her syndicated column, "A Woman Still," kind of a proto-feminist/retro perfect-wife-and-mother column that today would appear on an op-ed page but then was relegated to the Women's section. Her TV show, which ran for about seven years in the 1970s was produced out of CBS affiliate WTOP in Washington, DC, which was owned by the Washington Post.

You can find my email address on my cS profile and I can arrange the rest. Thanks very much for your nice words about Rene.

Ruth Tiedemann
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Posts: 9
From: Overland Park, KS USA
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 07-16-2006 08:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ruth Tiedemann   Click Here to Email Ruth Tiedemann     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
First, thank you Tim! Yes, I realized from reading various posts that one of the Carpenter children was online. But we were good friends with several astronaut families back then and I remember how hard we tried to protect them from excesses by the public and the press. I felt it best to leave the choice to the Carpenter family as to whether or not I should make that contact.

Kris, thank you so very much for asking your Mom for me.

SCE to AUX
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Posts: 245
From: Anytown USA
Registered: Feb 2006

posted 07-17-2006 09:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SCE to AUX     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Kris, do you have any of Rene's TV shows saved on tape/DVD?

KC Stoever
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Posts: 1009
From: Denver, CO USA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 07-17-2006 10:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I myself do not.

Nor can I imagine what entity archived these local WTOP TV shows (Rene's "Everywoman," which aired Saturday night on WTOP, and Rene's daily "good-morning Washington" show--forget the name — Doug Llewellyn and JC Hayward were sidekicks).

Rene's two ca. 1967 appearances with Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show, I think, are lost forever. But Rene's appearances on the David Susskind Show may still exist, archived I forget where.

Ruth Tiedemann
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Posts: 9
From: Overland Park, KS USA
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 07-18-2006 10:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ruth Tiedemann   Click Here to Email Ruth Tiedemann     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wish the columns she wrote for the Chronicle were available. I clipped them and put them in a scrapbook because the writing style was so exceptional. But we lost the scrapbook in one of our many moves. Those should have been published in a book!

KC Stoever
Member

Posts: 1009
From: Denver, CO USA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 07-18-2006 11:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ruth, I've pondered that book project — the pioneering column, relegated to the women's section, but need Rene's help, and she's not much interested. You may want to encourage her when you write?

One thing you may remember is how Rene's column was involved early on in the MIA/POW antiwar movement among especially the wives of Naval aviators. Jim Stockdale had been taken prisoner of war early in the Vietnam war. Stockdale had been an instructor at Patuxent in the mid-50s when the Carpenters were there. Rene and Sybil knew each other.

Sybil Stockdale wrote my mom, after reading one of her columns on the war, begging her to help with an implacable U.S. Navy which, IIRC, would not release address of MIA/POW wives to each other, essentially isolating them on some sort of national security grounds.

Rene wrote repeatedly in her column about the men, and about the Navy wives trying to reach each other by phone or mail. Eventually, a powerful movement took shape. But it started with Rene and Sybil, or so I've been told.

Ruth Tiedemann
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Posts: 9
From: Overland Park, KS USA
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 07-18-2006 11:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ruth Tiedemann   Click Here to Email Ruth Tiedemann     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wrote your Mom and mentioned that I had always wished she, with her special talent, had written a book (preferably fiction since the author can get away with so much more in fiction) about life in the NASA communities during the Gemini and Apollo days. More than enough has been written about the science but I don't know of anything about everyday life — the mission watches, splashdown parties, etc. Even the wonderful community activities like the theater that Joan Aldrin was so active in or the community chorus that Clare Schweickart loved so much...and so much more. It was a very special slice of life-in-history that has been pretty much lost, unfortunately.

But a collection of those columns would be another way to look into at least one part of that aspect of history — and a very personal one, too.

There's still a third book in the Rene/Sybil/Navy wives/MIA story!

At least one of those is likely to hit the top of the NY Times best seller list.

If your Mom writes back, I'll tell her so.

KC Stoever
Member

Posts: 1009
From: Denver, CO USA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 07-18-2006 12:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, Ruth. At least one of these book sounds very intriguing to me. Have already sent an email to an editor... thanks for the inspiration!

Ruth Tiedemann
New Member

Posts: 9
From: Overland Park, KS USA
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 07-18-2006 02:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ruth Tiedemann   Click Here to Email Ruth Tiedemann     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well sure, Kris. I'll only charge the usual 10-15% of all royalties in perpetuity.

Seriously, keep my e-mail address. I'll want to buy a copy when the book(s) come(s) out.

paul.i.w
Member

Posts: 64
From: UK
Registered: Feb 2006

posted 07-19-2006 02:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for paul.i.w   Click Here to Email paul.i.w     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The "wives' story" (for want of a better phrase) is obviously a part of all good accounts of the US space effort in the 60s and 70s. Some of it seems to me to be better than others — for instance Andrew Chaikin obviously made an effort to talk to some of these ladies.

But I agree with Ruth, a book devoted to the spouses of the astronauts is long overdue — I can't believe one has never been done (though please correct me if I am wrong!). I am not sure why this is. These days a "story," especially an epic like the US space programme, would seem to have to be covered from every conceivable angle, so the lack of this "angle" (to put it crudely) is very curious.

And I have often thought an account by Rene of her life (not only at this time!) would be fascinating.

nasamad
Member

Posts: 1976
From: Essex, UK
Registered: Jul 2001

posted 07-22-2006 01:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nasamad   Click Here to Email nasamad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I found a short audio file on my hard drive of Mrs Rene Carpenter, talking about being "Happy, Proud, Thrilled." I think it came from a CD I had (but now cannot find!)

I have placed it in the audio section of my autograph site for those who wish to download it.

Ruth Tiedemann
New Member

Posts: 9
From: Overland Park, KS USA
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 07-22-2006 03:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ruth Tiedemann   Click Here to Email Ruth Tiedemann     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's delightful. Thanks so much for posting it, Adam. Brings back memories of the typically vapid, shallow (and too often thoughtless and intrusive) interviews back then. But they (the interviews) haven't changed all that much, have they!

KC Stoever
Member

Posts: 1009
From: Denver, CO USA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 07-25-2006 05:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow. Just now heard the audio. That is Rene's voice indeed, pitched higher and sharper than her usual modulated tones.

She's a satirist by nature, and history gave her an opportunity to observe a number of people and events worthy of satire. Her best weapon, the needle--employed with charm. But definitely deployed with a skill that would surprise her listeners. She looked so sweet, after all.

That's a very nice site, Adam. Thank you for linking it here!

I also listened to the audio from the MA-7 reentry (still fresh in my head from a recent viewing of the Spacecraft Films DVDs on Project Mercury). It's really interesting to me to hear Carpenter's highly trained, exceptionally expressive and vivid voice reporting--yet still hear a real human being, delighted, for example, to see "the main chute is reefed. Reefed is good, and you can hear the satisfaction in the man's voice. Very nice.

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