David G. Murray
© Copyright 2023 by David G. Murray
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.
Annie O’Malley was born deaf to hearing parents who loved her, and both learned to sign. At ten years old with curly brown hair and blue eyes, she was a bright adventurous active child who loved doing things like any other child though her balance wasn’t the greatest, still she learned to ride a bike, roller skate and even ice-skate after a long while.
She was also gifted in scholastic studies in mathematics and later in high school physics and even earned honors and rewards for her work. At sixteen years she was deeply saddened when she learned about the space shuttle disaster, it was there she discovered her life goal was to become an astronaut a Deaf one!
So, she got right to work writing to NASA for the requirements on becoming an astronaut, eating, exercising, what to expect in space and about living and working in outer space. She even saved enough money for an airplane ride to experience weightlessness which was an awesome experience for her. Which made her even more determined to succeed.
However, Annie kept receiving rejection letters to become an astronaut and she concluded that she was contacting the wrong office at NASA. Annie was now in college and attended a lecture given by a real astronaut named Sarah. She met Sarah after the lecture to talk about becoming an astronaut. (Annie could voice when she had to). Sarah listened intently to Annie and gave her a big hug and said, “I will help you.” With a smile. A month later Sarah and Annie met with the very head executive of NASA. This man gray haired and rough face sat there not talking while Sarah did all the talking. After a while, he sat there rubbing his chin with one eye squinting and the other eye wide open staring at Annie with a raised eyebrow giving her reasons to allow her to travel into space, finally said, “Annie, in life there’s always a first. Welcome to the NASA family.” Reading his lips say that she and Sarah both at the same time leaped into the air with arms above them in total jubilation!
For the next two years Annie trained for the space flight that would study her and the affects on her for being in space for future Deaf people. She even taught her team a lot of signs for the trip. Then the day finally arrived for the launch to the ISS Space Station for a month stay. She couldn’t help but think of her childhood hero Ms. Nellie Willhite who was the first female Deaf pilot from South Dakota.
So, whoever reads this, have goals and never give up and have hope and faith as well, good luck.