Going places alone is nothing new, and I always meet people during solo adventures. I purchased a bus ticket to get closer to Artemis I and approached the line; a couple was already there, and I thought I was early.
As we began to chat, I learned that they had missed the opportunity for them to go together, but was hopeful this bus had room for both. Walter and Julie are from New York and were equally or more excited than I was to get photos of Artemis I on the pad. We boarded the bus, and the bus driver took a headcount. Sure enough, there was room for one more, so Julie could board the bus.
We made it to the site where the bus pulled over, we all got off and were excited to soak in the site of Artemis I. I thought we had all taken a photo together, but unfortunately, I cannot find it. I absolutely loved how excited they were to be there.
Before going our separate ways, we exchanged contact information, and to this day, we stay in touch. I received a Christmas card from them with lovely photos in it, so since they can't go to the places I can locate at the CCSFS, I would take them to the sites in a different way.
Their first stop with me was the entrance to LC-14 at the Mercury 7 Memorial. Buried in 1964 at this site, it is a time capsule to be opened in 2464. As you can imagine, they were pretty excited to stop here. (if you can't enjoy my humor, do not continue to read)
We got back in the car, and I surprised them as we headed to the actual LC-14 site, where they got their photos taken at the astronauts' "parking spaces" near the blockhouse. I wanted to do this for them for a good laugh but also to let them know that I think about them and our friendship, all jokes aside.
In November 2022, I decided to create a piece of art with pyrography of the Artemis I launch from a photo I took. Julie secretly purchased it for Walter for part of his Christmas that year.