This entry was posted on Mar 30 2011 by

You Never Know Who Might Be Reading

It was a little over one year ago that I wrote a blog post about the impending cancelation of NASA’s space shuttle program. Having grown up in South Florida and lived a short distance from Cape Canaveral for a few years, the space program and the shuttle orbiter have always been near and dear to me. As part of the post, I included images of my grandfather’s membership card for Pan American World Airways’ “First Moon Flights” Club, an ambitious and, hindsight being what it is, overly optimistic initiative that reserved seats on the airline’s would-be commercial space flights.

Pan Am went bankrupt decades ago, so nothing ever came of Grandpa’s reserved status as member #1463. Nothing, that is, until this past January, when I was contacted by the Director of Photography for Condé Nast Traveller (I didn’t misspell that—it’s the UK edition of the magazine, spelled with two Ls). The magazine was planning an article on the recent advancements in commercial space flight being pioneered by Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. As part of the article, they wanted to include a brief history of previous commercial space flight endeavors. I assume it was a little googling that led them to my blog post, and now Grandpa’s card, his name clearly visible, appears on page 145 of the April issue (currently on the stands in the US and the UK).

Maybe Grandpa never made it into space, but I know he’s looking down—if there was ever somebody who deserved to go up and not down, it’s him—at the open magazine on my desk and smiling. Not only is his name in print, not only has his membership card been added to the body of research on the subject, but Condé Nast Publications also paid my family ₤100 for the rights to print the images. At the current exchange rate, that translates to a 2671% return on his 6-cent investment for the first class stamp he used to mail Pan Am his request letter in 1969.

Always savvy with his money, I’m betting Grandpa appreciates that last bit the most.

One Response to “You Never Know Who Might Be Reading”

  1. duane ballenger
    6:48 pm on April 16th, 2011

    Love this story Rob!

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