The Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story

The Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story

Lily Koppel

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 145550324X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Read the bestselling book that inspired the ABC television series.

As America's Mercury Seven astronauts were launched on death-defying missions, television cameras focused on the brave smiles of their young wives. Overnight, these women were transformed from military spouses into American royalty. They had tea with Jackie Kennedy, appeared on the cover of Life magazine, and quickly grew into fashion icons.

Annie Glenn, with her picture-perfect marriage, was the envy of the other wives; JFK made it clear that platinum-blonde Rene Carpenter was his favorite; and licensed pilot Trudy Cooper arrived with a secret that needed to stay hidden from NASA. Together with the other wives they formed the Astronaut Wives Club, providing one another with support and friendship, coffee and cocktails.

As their celebrity rose-and as divorce and tragedy began to touch their lives-the wives continued to rally together, forming bonds that would withstand the test of time, and they have stayed friends for over half a century. THE ASTRONAUT WIVES CLUB tells the story of the women who stood beside some of the biggest heroes in American history.

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New York. When Buzz finished his tour in Korea, Joan’s mother had been killed, and Joan, who commuted to New York and lived at home, was left alone to console her father while her own heart was breaking. She didn’t lodge a complaint when Buzz pinned his Air Force “A” onto her sweater. Her father declared her off-limits to all dates while Buzz was out in Nevada working as an Air Force instructor. A couple of months later, Joan convinced her father to go on his two-week vacation in Las Vegas,

Betty made two gin and tonics. Adelin was hilarious, always telling funny stories like the one about the time she had to go to the bathroom in a four-person passenger airplane with no toilet. “Oh God yes.” She had to go so bad that she went in an upchuck bag and made everybody sing so they wouldn’t hear her. They were giggling and happy when Jo Schirra walked in from next door, arriving via the rabbit hole. Her face looked flushed. “There’s been an accident at the Cape,” said Jo. “I think Gus

put it front and center. “Ever since the accident,” said Marilyn Lovell, “I’ve been telling Jim I want him to be a postman. Can you imagine him delivering mail?” She added, “Nobody chases a postman but dogs.” As Barbara Cernan put it, “When I’m reincarnated, I want to marry a nine-to-five man, not an astronaut.” “I think it’s a wonder this hasn’t happened before,” said another. “Do you know how many miles they fly, all the time? And all the other things they do? It’s a wonder.” The Apollo

ice among the wives was admitting that they were a little perplexed by the press saying that their husbands all had genius-level IQs. Well, not quite, they opined, but only to each other. Luckily, Leo had talked “Ike,” President Eisenhower, also his client, out of making the families live in secrecy. Eisenhower had wanted all the astronaut families to live in a secluded village like the Soviet Union’s Star City, so secret that the cosmonauts couldn’t even tell their babushka-covered wives what

to those no longer with them. Annie Glenn, now a senator’s wife, had not been able to make it. Still, all the wives were extremely proud of her. Annie had overcome her stutter. In 1973 an episode of the Today show had featured a clinic that offered a new approach. Annie saw it and signed herself in. It was an intensive treatment, for many hours a day. At the end, when she phoned John, he could hardly believe it was his Annie. “John,” she said, “today we went to a shopping center and went

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