The kids are heading back to school and this time of year always brings back the memory of my favorite Grade School teacher Mrs. Postman. She was my 4th grade teacher. Tall and slender with silver wavy hair cut short, she was always dressed in a mid-length a-line skirt, a white or cream blouse and a short jacket. She represented the kind of women I could only hope to become. TV's were not part of the classroom then, but when the moon mission Apollo 13 went wrong, she brought in a portable TV and we watched with desperation as NASA tried to bring the astronauts home safely.
The television was on during our other lessons and if there was an update she would take a break and we would watch with her. On the last day of the mission broadcast, we all witnessed what could have been disastrous. The re-entry and splash landing of the space module. It could go wrong and we could have seen something catastrophic. Either way, it was a science lesson unfolding before us and Mrs. Postman knew the value of a lesson happening in real time.
The Command Module "Odyssey" with Commander, James A. Lovell Jr., Command Module pilot, John L. Swigert Jr. and Lunar Module pilot Fred W. Haise Jr. splashed down at 12:07:44 p.m. (CST), Apr. 17, 1970. The crew men were transported by helicopter from the immediate recovery area to the U.S.S. Iwo Jima. The classroom erupted in celebration. Mrs. Postman clapped along with us and we all rejoiced in the safe return of the astronauts. Smiles on our faces, safe in our classroom, ready for an afternoon of learning.