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Christa Mcauliffe's Shadow | Yankee Classic

Christa Mcauliffe’s Shadow | Yankee Classic
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They ate together, shared their thoughts, talked about their children. “I’m as cynical as the next reporter, and I don’t start gushing over my subjects,” Hohler said. “But I felt some sort of affinity with her. It was never something we talked about, but we were friends. She would call me even when she didn’t have to call me.”

When I last talked to her 11 days ago, Christa was in quarantine in Houston and [her son] Scott was watching a Celtics game in their family room at home. She had called to say goodnight to the children and asked to say hello to me before she hung up. She was proud she had won a beer from Mission Commander Scobee when she bet on the Patriots against the Los Angeles Raiders a week earlier. And she was excited about her space flight.

“Have fun,” I told her.

“I will, ” she said.

As Hohler grew closer to Christa, his respect for her grew, too. “I knew what NASA’S motives were,” he said. “I knew they were selling the space program, and this was a great way to do it. I don’t think they could have found a better person to capture the spirit and win people over. But I never looked on her as a pawn. She went into this willingly and knew all along what she was doing. She knew the risks. She knew that she could die up there. She knew that from the beginning.”

The full moon spattered silver on the choppy waters of the Atlantic when Christa and the crew were awakened at 6:20 A.M. yesterday. The idle orbiter glittered like a space-age steeple on the skyline. A half hour later, the day dawned a pearly white. “Christa, hey, Christa!” photographers cried as she left for the launch pad at 7:50.

“We’re going to go off today, “she said, smiling, showing no trace of the frustration she displayed the day before when she climbed out of the shuttle after waiting six hours for a flight that never flew.

When she reached the sterile room that leads to the shuttle, a technician gave her a shiny Red Delicious apple. She joked with astronaut Judy Resnik for a while, shook hands with the ground crew, and crawled on board.

“Good morning, Christa,” said a controller, testing her headset at 8:35 A.M. “Have a good day.”

“Good morning,” she said. “You too.”

Tim Clark


Tim Clark


Tim Clark has been writing for Yankee Magazine and The Old Farmer's Almanac since 1975. Subjects of his many Yankee profiles have included filmmaker Ken Burns, historian Barbara Tuchman, pediatrician and political activist Dr. Benjamin Spock, and World War II General James Gavin. Tim left his job as Managing Editor in 1999 to teach English at ConVal High School in Peterborough, N.H. for 13 years, but since retiring from that demanding and rewarding profession in 2012, he has continued to contribute articles and book reviews. Tim lives in Dublin, N.H., two miles from the offices of Yankee Publishing, and serves as Town Moderator, a post previously occupied by Rob Sagendorph, the founder of Yankee Magazine.

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One Response to Christa Mcauliffe’s Shadow | Yankee Classic

  1. BRIanyonezaki February 20, 2014 at 10:14 pm #

    Aloha my name is brian Yonezaki
    i live in Honolulu
    hawaii. My favorite AMERICAN HERois
    SCHOOl Teacher CHEISTA MCAUliffe.
    And Iread Books the borred from the Library.
    and the bokks stores. iam a Japanese American.
    From hawaii. I am 63 years. old.
    i have a Learn Disbilty.
    my hobies putting together plastic models off
    the pt 109 and the Battleship arizona
    and watching old movies ondvd. my favorite movies the Jofn wayne and jennifer oNEill Movies

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