posted 03-16-2005 09:40 AM
I grew up in Huntsville in the 60's listening to the wonderous sounds of the booster tests and surrounded by MSFC and Redstone Arsenal (where my dad was stationed and where we lived until we moved off base in '65). My parents let me fly by myself to stay with "friends-of-friends" so I could watch Apollo 11 take off. I still love it all to this day. My two heros of that time were Dr. von Braun and Bear Bryant. At around 12 years of age (+/-)I sent Dr. von Braun a Hickory Farms package for his birthday. He replied with a hand-written post card! It mentioned that he and his family had just returned from a vacation (I think in the Bahamas). In the few years after that the card was either misplaced or stolen by a "friend" of my mom's. No, 40-some years later I am still heartbroken and sick over it. I always check Ebay in the hopes of finding it. Anyway -- I also send Dr. von Braun a copy of FIRST MEN TO THE MOON with an plea for an autograph. He, of course, returned it. I still have it (it looks like it has a library stamp of some kind as well as the name of a lady written inside the cover (along with pencil evidence my young attempt at signing my name). I don't recall how I got the book -- most likely my dad obtained it -- or "borrowed" it from somewhere. After rambling I've come to my question to any of you out there -- is there a way to determine its value? I ask this knowing the value is what someone is willing to pay. I ask it out of curiousity as well as a more materialistic reason -- if I choose to ever sell it I'd like to know what I'm dealing with. (Also, is there a way to get this authenticated?)
A side note -- I also briefly befriended Dr. von Braun's son Peter. Our connection was our interest in coin collecting. He was a few years younger than me. Once, at a coin store we were both at his dad came to pick him up. It was the first and only time I ever met Dr. von Braun. I was too much in awe and overcome with youth and some other mysterious youthful ailments to manage anything other than "hi". And finally, as a student class project (5th--7th grade???) Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger was gracious enough to allow me to "interview" him in his home. I'm sure I asked the most inane questions but he and his wife treated me as if I was a reporter from the NY Times. I love all this and I'm so glad I discovered this wonderful web community. Thank you for reading this far and for your responses.