Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Neil Armstrong autographs part 4 (post 62)

The story of the most amazing, and last, autograph I obtained from Neil Armstrong begins in 1993. Back in 1969 at the Apollo 11 News Center at the Cape, I snagged two copies of an Apollo 11 lunar orbit map. One of them I had signed for a fee by Buzz Aldrin (see post 58). In 1993 I realized I had nothing to lose by writing Armstrong again; I had not done so in many years. . By this time he had retired to a farm near Lebanon Ohio, a small town near Cincinnati,  and was only sporadically responding to requests. I sent out the lunar orbit map and a few weeks later I received the intact envelope back marked “REFUSED” on the front. Not willing to give up, I remembered that the Astronaut Office could forward mail to former astronauts (this is no longer true). So I sent out another envelope addressed to Neil care of Code CB,  Johnson Space Center. Many weeks went by and I thought it was lost. On July 20, 1994, the 25th Anniversary of the Moonlanding, I go out to my mailbox and see a large envelope with a July 18, 1994 Cincinnati postmark, My hands were shaking as I opened it. Inside was my lunar orbit map inscribed “Best Wishes to Dr. Dave Chudwin – Neil Armstrong” in ballpoint at the bottom of the map. I later learned that he decided to stop signing as of July 20, so my map was one of the last items autographed by him. Of all the space memorabilia I own, this is the most precious to me, not only because I have never seen such a map autographed by Armstrong, but also the eerie circumstance of it arriving on the 25th Anniversary of the landing. This is a keepsake that will always remain in our family.

#Apollo11Eyewitness  Post #62

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