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  Rocketman: Pete Conrad's Incredible Ride to the Moon and Beyond (Conrad, Klausner) (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   Rocketman: Pete Conrad's Incredible Ride to the Moon and Beyond (Conrad, Klausner)
Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-29-2004 10:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rocketman: Astronaut Pete Conrad's Incredible Ride to the Moon and Beyond
by Nancy Conrad and Howard A. Klausner
For Pete Conrad, it was all about the Ride. Whether he was flat-hatting 50 feet off the deck going Mach 2, test flying every supersonic jet the Navy developed (and some they shouldn't have), orbiting the Earth at almost 20,000 miles per hour, or just redlining his gold Corvette on a country road outside of Houston... this was a man who loved pushing the envelope.

Still, he wasn't exactly the Squeaky Clean Poster Boy NASA Astronaut. He wasn't tall, dark, and movie star handsome. He wasn't afraid to speak his mind - especially to the men in the white coats who tried to turn him into a lab rat, and grounded him as "unsuitable for long-duration flight" when he pushed back.

But they didn't call Pete Conrad the Comeback Kid for nothing. As a boy, he swept up at a local airfield for a couple of bucks a day, and learned to fly. He overcame dyslexia, and landed a Navy scholarship to Princeton, and became one of the country's elite test pilots at Patuxent River. And he learned the hard lesson of washing out of the Mercury Program, to come roaring back - flying two Gemini missions, walking on the Moon as Commander of Apollo 12, commanding the first Skylab, and developing the first re-usable commercial rocket, logging more time in space than all the original astronauts combined.

And, oh yeah, First American in Space / Navy fighter jock Al Shepard called him the best stick-and-rudder man he ever saw. The pilot every guy at NASA wanted to share an after-work drink and a joke with, chase a skirt or two with, and you better believe, would kill to fly with.

Rocketman is a personal story almost too amazing to be true. From his speed-of-sound entrance onto this planet, to Pete Conrad's comet-like exit off-roaring down the highway on his Harley Davidson, this is the surprisingly candid insider's view of the greatest Ride in history: America's glorious race to the stars, as seen through the eyes of the real Space Cowboy.

Nancy Conrad was married to Pete Conrad for the last ten years of his life. A writer, artists' representative, and interior designer, she has left her mark on some of the world's most prestigious publications, galleries, and homes. She co-founded Universal Space Networks with her late husband, is a member of the President's Circle of the National Academies, and serves on the Board of Directors of the California Air and Space Center at NASA Ames. She also co-founded the Community Emergency Healthcare Initiative, a program designed to decrease the number of preventable injuries and deaths occurring in emergency rooms around the world.

Howard Klausner is a screenwriter and Creative Director of an Entertainment Technology Group. A lifelong student and devotee of all things space, his most prominent big-screen credit is Space Cowboys, starring Clint Eastwood and Tommy Lee Jones. He is currently developing a television series about the space program. Mr. Klausner lives on Orcas Island, Washington with his wife and three daughters, where he writes aboard an old wooden sailboat, staring long and often at the Moon and stars.

FFrench
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posted 02-10-2005 02:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nancy Conrad is Gemini, Apollo and Skylab astronaut Pete Conrad's widow, and thus can offer a unique, insider's look at the life of one of America's most accomplished and memorable astronauts. Unlike many astronaut biographies, this book will be more about the person than the missions - and Conrad was one of the most fascinating people who ever passed through the astronaut office. As the book jacket states:
Rocketman is a personal story almost too amazing to be true. From his speed-of-sound entrance onto this planet, to Pete Conrad's comet-like exit off-roaring down the highway on his Harley Davidson, this is the surprisingly candid insider's view of the greatest ride in history: America's glorious race to the stars, as seen through the eyes of the real Space Cowboy.

apollo11lem5
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posted 02-10-2005 07:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for apollo11lem5   Click Here to Email apollo11lem5     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Pete Conrad was a wonderful man as is his wife Nancy. You could never meet two more genuine people! They were both my friends.

I miss PETE terribly and wish his wife much success with this book.

I received a gift in the mail from Pete and found out later the same day of his passing. Many tears were shed. I am forever grateful to my friend Bill O'Donnell and his wife Vicki for getting me to be introduced to these wonderful folks and resulting friendship.

It was very evident how much Nancy loved her husband and how happy they were together! I am ordering my copy this very morning and cannot wait to read it!

TrueNorth
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posted 02-10-2005 07:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for TrueNorth   Click Here to Email TrueNorth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great news! I have been waiting for this book for a long time. And what a VERY COOL cover!

KC Stoever
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posted 02-10-2005 10:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The New American Library folks are top notch. Great cover! Great flap copy.

DavidH
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posted 02-10-2005 11:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
OK, I hate to be the lone dissenting voice, but, while the cover is very cool, somehow it seems like Pete should be smiling. Maybe it's just me.

John K. Rochester
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posted 02-10-2005 01:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John K. Rochester   Click Here to Email John K. Rochester     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Isn't the cover a copy of his advertisement for Foster Grants, I believe? It was a very cool ad.

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posted 02-10-2005 04:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ed Krutulis   Click Here to Email Ed Krutulis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The cover says it all about Pete and his fellow astronauts!

spacecraft films
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posted 02-10-2005 06:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spacecraft films   Click Here to Email spacecraft films     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wonderful cover. Very nice. There is also a wonderful biography of Robert Goddard that was released recently, entitled "Rocket Man."

Murph
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posted 02-10-2005 10:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Murph   Click Here to Email Murph     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That cover is so cool... it gives me chills.

mdmyer
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posted 02-11-2005 07:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdmyer   Click Here to Email mdmyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You can find that same photo on the back of the comic book "Moon Shot: The Flight of Apollo XII". It is on the back cover and it shows Pete seated and he is holding a space suit helmet. It is almost a full body photo with just the lower half of his legs not in the photo. He is in a full space suit including the gloves. In that photo the reflection on the sunglasses is bright red. There is no image of Pete on the Moon reflected in the sunglasses.

The photo is in black and white.

tncmaxq
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posted 02-11-2005 08:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tncmaxq   Click Here to Email tncmaxq     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am so glad I had the privilege of meeting Pete at the Apollo 11 twentieth anniversary celebration in DC. He was very friendly and gladly signed and item and posed for a picture with me. I was so saddened when he died.

Wehaveliftoff
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posted 02-12-2005 01:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Wehaveliftoff   Click Here to Email Wehaveliftoff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The coolest astronaut biography cover...

But Pete's second wife was only with him for the last 10 years, long after Pete was on the moon. The ISS and Mars exploration contributions to this book would be substantive for his last wife, in that regards. I don't know how much of a ghost writer or contributor she was to this new book, nor do I know her. Space Cowboys was an okay movie, not much criticism from me there.

KC Stoever
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posted 02-12-2005 12:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Alas, Pete's original wife, Jane, died of cancer some years ago, after their divorce. So we have lost her invaluable voice. Also gone, original wives Marje Slayton and Trudy Cooper.

E2M Lem Man
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posted 02-12-2005 12:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for E2M Lem Man     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I had the pleasure of doing a display to honor Pete's Apollo 12 anniversary for the city of Torrence a few months before he died. He was one of the greatest story tellers I ever met. He made everyone laugh and feel at ease.

During our filming of "From the Earth to the Moon" we had to replace our Pete Conrad with another actor in mid-filming. The new actor, being rushed, received permission to call Pete to get into the character more.

When he introduced himself to Conrad, Pete replied "Oh, then you must be a short, handsome, balding S.O.B. with a gap between your teeth!" That was Pete Conrad. I have a feeling that Nancy's book will capture that.

John K. Rochester
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posted 02-12-2005 10:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John K. Rochester   Click Here to Email John K. Rochester     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for making the switch from Peter Scolari to Paul McCrane.. I thought McCrane captured Pete superbly!!

TrueNorth
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posted 02-13-2005 08:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for TrueNorth   Click Here to Email TrueNorth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Agree. He did a fantastic job. Just wondering what the reason was for the switch?

FFrench
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posted 04-26-2005 09:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nancy Conrad has developed a way to make her book signings even more special to those who hold her late husband Pete in such high esteem. To make Pete part of the book signings, she has created a special embossing stamp that features Pete's self-portrait and his signature. The embossing seal will only be used for in-person book signings.

Kevmac
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posted 04-27-2005 09:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevmac   Click Here to Email Kevmac     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So, if I'm reading this correctly, those that order through the mail from her signings, since we can't attend in person, are not able to get the special embossing stamp on our books? Why are folks being penalized for not traveling? Not criticizing -- just asking...

FFrench
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posted 04-27-2005 10:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I can understand why you phrase it that way, but I think a more positive way to think of it is: Everyone who orders a signed book gets a signed book, just as they expected.

Nancy, in an effort to bring some of Pete's spirit to her in-person signings, has chosen to personally emboss each book she signs in person with this stamp, if the person wishes it. She has chosen at this time to do this only for in-person signings, and that is of course her right.

So rather than penalizing them, Nancy is trying to do something extra special for people who come to her events. At least, this is my understanding. I think it is a very nice gesture and a way of having Pete "sign" the book she wishes he had been around to write with her.

mdmyer
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posted 04-28-2005 06:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdmyer   Click Here to Email mdmyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was also wondering about that. I am personally disappointed with her decision. I would love to have the stamp placed in my book but there is no way that I can drive or fly for just that. Put me down as someone that wishes she would change her mind and place the stamp in the books done for everyone. That way we all can feel the "extra special gesture and a way of having Pete sign the book she wishes he had been around to write with her".

To be honest, now instead of looking forward to owning the book I think I will always think of this book as having something missing.

Jurg Bolli
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posted 04-28-2005 09:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jurg Bolli   Click Here to Email Jurg Bolli     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am with Mike on this.

TrueNorth
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posted 04-28-2005 01:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for TrueNorth   Click Here to Email TrueNorth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Francis I understand the reasoning and all, but being nowhere near any of the signings I will also be one of the disappointed. The seal idea is so Pete though.

FFrench
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posted 04-28-2005 03:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I can understand and empathize with the disappointment being shared here. I can only say:

If Nancy had chosen not to personally design, create (at her own expense) and use this embossing design for these in-person events, this would never have been an issue. Everyone would have been 100% satisfied with their signed book.

As it is, she has chosen to personally do something extra for the people who come to in-person signings. While I understand your viewpoints, I think it is a wonderful gesture. It's always a bonus to go to an event in person - you get to meet the author, in this case also hear them give a talk - and I guess this is part of that bonus. Instead of disappointment, it would be nice if people could be happy for those who do get to attend in person, and that Nancy is going above and beyond to make them happy.

mdmyer
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posted 04-28-2005 05:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdmyer   Click Here to Email mdmyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sorry but I am disappointed and while I am happy for those that live in those areas I do feel that something could be done for the others that can't make the trip.

Yes, Nancy is going above and beyond to make them happy. Makes me feel like I am not deserving simply because I live so far away.

mdmyer
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posted 04-28-2005 07:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdmyer   Click Here to Email mdmyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think I know what is bothering me the most. Signed books make up the largest part of my collection. I do have some signed prints, some medallions, and some patches, but books are what I collect and if I can get the author to sign it that is great. Of course quality is what most of us look for. When I purchased a copy of "Two Sides of the Moon" it had been signed by David Scott. I felt I would never have the chance to have Leonov sign it but that was okay, I knew that when I ordered it.

All of a sudden it was announced that Leonov was going to attend the UACC show in Burbank and that gave me the chance to have it signed by Leonov. I hooked up with a great guy that agreed to handle the book for me. It worked out well. Which do you think a collector of signed books would rather have, a copy of "Two Sides" signed by Scott or one signed by both Scott and Leonov?

Now enter "Rocketman". I ordered it knowing that Nancy would sign the book and that was okay. Now there is the chance of having Pete's "portrait and signature" added. Yes I know it is a stamp and it is not like Pete really signed the book but to me it is something that I would like to have.

Why cancel my order? Because that seems to be the only way of getting the book signed with the stamp in it. I am going to have to purchase a copy from eBay or wherever they may show up and I will probably have to pay extra for it. I even asked if Nancy could personalize the book to me by adding "To Mike. I hope this book brings Pete to life for you. Nancy Conrad". I thought that was a great inscription but I can't take credit for it. David Levy wrote the biography of Gene Shoemaker, and when he signed the book for me he added "I hope this book brings Gene to life for you".

The people that show up for the signings will get something special. They get to listen to the lecture.

Okay, I know I am whining. I am going to go get some cheese.

John K. Rochester
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posted 04-28-2005 09:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John K. Rochester   Click Here to Email John K. Rochester     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Possibly someone who is going to a signing could get Mike his book for him, with the stamp and send it off to him. That is a possible option...

BuddyBoy
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posted 04-29-2005 01:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for BuddyBoy   Click Here to Email BuddyBoy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hmm, I just noticed that the original cover as pictured above says "Introduction by Buzz Aldrin", yet when I view the image on Seattle Museum of Flight it says "Introduction by Neil Armstrong".

What gives? Last minute substitution? Buzz wouldn't do it, or Neil suddenly agreed to, so Buzz became chopped liver?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-29-2005 05:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Actually, you have it reversed: the original cover art read Armstrong but the forward was actually written by Aldrin (the art on this site was updated).

KC Stoever
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posted 04-29-2005 03:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mdmyer:
Why cancel my order? Because that seems to be the only way of getting the book signed with the stamp in it. I am going to have to purchase a copy from eBay or wherever they may show up and I will probably have to pay extra for it.
I bet if you asked ~very~ sweetly, a cSPACEr might take your book to a signing you are unable to attend and have it embossed for you.

Or better yet, see if you could drum up widespread support for a book signing held near you. Like the Cosmosphere! I'd bet they'd be thrilled to host a book signing. Call New American Library and complain about the selection of book tour cities! Cite regional interest and enclose figures predicting likely attendance in your area.

And by all means, consider how your remarks here might affect Pete's widow.

I haven't read "Rocketman". I have no commercial stake in the sales. I hope nevertheless it's a great story, for Pete's sake, embossed or not, signed or not.

But I am not much of a collector and so perhaps do not entirely understand your feelings. I ended up with a collection only by chance.

mdmyer
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posted 04-29-2005 06:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdmyer   Click Here to Email mdmyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have done just that in the past but I also worry about asking too many times.

I think what I need to do is just keep my order in place so that I can get the inscription that I asked for then hope to have the book embossed later. A signing at the Cosmosphere sounds great. Thanks for the idea, I had not thought about that.

quote:
Originally posted by KC Stoever:
And by all means, consider how your remarks here might affect Pete's widow"
I don't think any of my posts would have upset her but if they did that was not my intention. If I have upset Nancy then I would like to offer my sincere apology. I think the stamp is great and as a collector of signed books I would like to have the embossment in my book. Hopefully my desire to get that did not lead me to say something that would have hurt anyone.

I am looking forward to reading Rocketman. I love reading the astronaut biographies and I am looking forward to learning more about Pete.

ejectr
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posted 05-01-2005 06:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
How would it be if Nancy put every book under an autopen and had Pete's signature and caricature printed out? Would anyone want that? Of course not.

Well to me the embossing is the same. Pete's gone, unfortunately, and so is his autograph.

Nancy is signing the book as the author with a personal inscription... good enough for me.

Thanks Nancy for publishing a book we can all sit back with and read about one of the best pilots and nicest guys anyone ever saw.

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posted 05-04-2005 04:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kucharek   Click Here to Email kucharek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Last Saturday, the one million Euro question of the German "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" was:
"Who was in 1969 the third man after Armstrong and Aldrin to walk on the moon?"

A: John Swigert B: Charles Conrad C: James Lovell D: Fred Haise

The candidate quit, keeping half a million...

mdmyer
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posted 05-09-2005 06:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdmyer   Click Here to Email mdmyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KC Stoever:
I bet if you asked ~very~ sweetly, a cSPACEr might take your book to a signing you are unable to attend and have it embossed for you.
As it turns out that is exactly what has happened. Last week I received an e-mail from a cS member, I will refer to him as AcS, offering to pick up a signed and embossed copy of Rocketman for me. AcS was going to attend a signing because he also wanted to have an embossed book. He was going to get a copy for himself and another friend so he wanted to know if I would be interested. I gladly accepted. I talked to AcS after the signing and he had a nice story about the signing and we decided to post it here on collectSPACE.

When AcS met Nancy Conrad AcS asked if Nancy would be willing to sign, personalize, and emboss 3 copies for 3 different people. Nancy said she would be please to do that. Then when AcS requested that Nancy use the inscription of "I hope this book brings Pete to life for you." she remembered reading about that inscription from these forums.

Nancy said she remembered someone from Kansas wanting an embossed and signed book with that inscription in it. She said she wished there was a way that I could have received an signed and embossed copy. At that time AcS told Nancy that one of the books was indeed for me.

AcS said that Nancy was very happy to know that I would be receiving my signed and embossed copy. She said that she was also touched that people would want their books signed with that inscription in them.

AcS said that Nancy is a very nice lady and he was touched by her willingness to sign these three books. AcS said he was glad to meet her in person. I only wish I could have been there. If it turns out that Nancy does a signing in Kansas I will try to attend and thank her in person.

I want to say "Thanks" to AcS for handling the book for me and to Nancy for signing and embossing the book. Signed books make up the largest part of my collection mostly because I find them so rewarding.

I look forward to reading the book and learning more about Pete Conrad: Rocketman.

ejectr
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posted 05-09-2005 10:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very cool...

spaceheaded
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posted 05-09-2005 05:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceheaded     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nice story, Mike. Mrs. Conrad was at the National Air and Space Museum this past Saturday and impressed me as being a very gracious lady.

I arrived a couple of hours early for the 1:00 p.m. signing, and was directed to gallery 211. Turns out there was an unadvertised event there.... Nancy was giving a talk, along with her co-author, to about five people and 40 empty chairs. C-SPAN was taping it, and the guard wouldn't let me in, saying it was "staff only." But then there was a changing of the guard, and the second guard invited me in, saying it was a public event. But by that time, it was ending. I later learned it had been hastily planned at the last minute, so I forgave the mix-up.

The signing itself was at the gift shop, and the posters announcing it didn't come out until 1:00, so there was no line at all.

The embossing on my book didn't turn out too well, as she accidentally had two pages stuck together, so it's very faint, some of it not there at all. Oh, well, I can still make out Pete's face... and I'll never forget Nancy putting all her might into squeezing that embossing tool!

FFrench
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posted 05-09-2005 07:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mike, I am very pleased to hear that you were able to obtain the book with both the inscription and the embossing, as you were hoping for. I know it will make a great addition to your collection.

PC JR
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posted 05-16-2005 02:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for PC JR   Click Here to Email PC JR     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am new to this site. I find it very interesting and informative. I just wanted to make one correction. Pete Conrad's first wife Jane is alive and well. She lost her youngest child Christopher to cancer about 15 years ago. Jane has remarried and lives in San Antonio, Texas. She just hosted the First Wives Annual Reunion last month in San Antonio.

KC Stoever
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posted 05-16-2005 05:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
God, I am SO sorry! That misinformation must be directly traceable to me! I had a chance to re-introduce myself to Conrad several years ago in Denver, at a screening for Apollo 13. Carpenter was there too, along with about six other astronauts.

I asked after the boys and Jane. There were scores of people around us wielding pens and drinks and photos to be autographed. Not a great environment for careful conversation.

What I heard I'm sure was information I muddled here badly -- about divorce and deaths -- at the time, I quickly offered my apologies to Conrad and that was that. It was wonderful to see him again, after decades, and I am so sorry he is gone.

Here, I am thrilled to learn here that the reports of Jane's death have been, as Mark Twain said, "greatly exaggerated."

My apologies herewith, for terrible reporting skills, offered most abjectly.

spacegrl13
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posted 05-22-2005 07:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spacegrl13   Click Here to Email spacegrl13     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just finished Rocketman. What a fablulous book, I couldn't put it down. I learned so much about Pete and I'm sure he would approve of the wonderful book. Thanks so much to Nancy for writing it.


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