Until recently none of my babysitters made much news. I think one turned out to be a minor league baseball player. The others are mostly forgotten.
I want to give a shout out today to Barbara Radding Morgan, a babysitter, brilliant student, school teacher, parent, and astronaut. You may recall that she was the alternate for teacher Christa McAuliffe, who died in the 1986 Challenger disaster.
It would be tempting to say that Barbara always reached for the stars, but it wasn’t like that. My parents told my sister and me that the Stanford grad was a bit of a hippie when she opted to become a school teacher and move to Idaho.
There weren’t a lot of hippies in Fresno, Ca. and we were certain that this wasn’t a great career move.
After Endeavor landed today, Barbara was quoted as saying “The room is still spinning a little bit but that’s ok. It’s actually pretty interesting if you could be in my body.”
Barbara is all about giving back. She’s returning to Idaho next week to meet former students at McCall-Donnelly Elementary School, where she taught English and mathematics before joining NASA’s astronaut corps. It’s hard to imagine how many students or teachers she has inspired.