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Thread: The Astronaut Wives Club (Starting in June on ABC)

  1. #16
    Elite Member Bluebonnet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sluce View Post
    I am looking forward to this tomorrow night.
    Thanks for reminding me!
    Before you can judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. After that, who cares? He's a mile away and you've got his shoes. - Billy Connolly

  2. #17
    Gold Member Jazzy's Avatar
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    I will have to find this online it looks good. Did anyone watch Pan Am? I got so caught up watching that and then it disappeared.

  3. #18
    Elite Member JazzyGirl's Avatar
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    I'm watching!!

  4. #19
    Elite Member Bluebonnet's Avatar
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    I loved it!! What do ya'll think? I started googling the actual book that this show is based on and ran across this article from 2013 after the book was released. Also, I just ordered the book on Amazon.

    The Mercury Seven mission astronauts left their wives depressed and isolated

    THEY formed the most exclusive women’s club in the world.

    By Peter Sheridan
    PUBLISHED: 00:01, Wed, Jun 5, 2013 |








    The astronauts who flew into space and became global heroes
    While their husbands raced for the moon, the members of the Astronauts’ Wives’ Club were the most envied, idolised and scrutinised women in America.

    Coiffed and buffed they were the NASA space agency’s female ambassadors, picture-perfect wives waiting for their heroic husbands to return.

    But they secretly struggled to cope with isolation, divorce and depression, reveals a new book The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel, published in Britain tomorrow.

    “NASA wanted perfect wives, perfect children, perfect homes – there was certainly some pressure there,” said Apollo 8 wife Susan Borman, who struggled with alcoholism in the Sixties.

    The daring exploits of their men have been told and retold – fearless astronauts risking their lives to go where no man had gone before.

    But the women who watched and waited as their men blasted into space, sometimes never to return, were forced to maintain a flawless facade despite their loneliness and fears.

    They were wined, dined and feted as domestic heroines, yet were hounded by a remorseless media frenzy, happily fed by NASA.

    TV crews and reporters crowded their lawns at every Apollo mission launch in the Sixties and Seventies, broadcasting the astronauts’ families’ reactions as they struggled to maintain their composure.

    “Some of them actually moved into the home so they could photograph us watching the launches on television,” says Borman.

    “We used to call it the death watch.”

    Their husbands were mostly workaholics, often absent as they trained intensely, leaving the wives to cope as de facto single mothers.

    They gathered regularly for coffee and sat nervously with the wife of whoever was on a launch.

    “We kind of filled in for each other when the men were away,” said Gracia Lousma, wife of Apollo astronaut Jack Lousma.

    But for many couples America’s space race was a bitter travesty tearing them apart.

    “I became suicidal,” says Dotty Duke, wife of Apollo 16 moonwalker Charlie Duke, who was plagued by loneliness.

    “Charlie was a workaholic. The space programme was all he thought about. I knew he would never be able to show me the love I needed or make me a priority.”

    Only the Astronauts’ Wives’ Club kept her from taking her own life.

    The club was launched when America’s first astronauts, the Mercury Seven, were selected in 1959 for death-defying missions.

    John Glenn, Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, Scott Carpenter, Wally Schirra, Gordon Cooper and Deke Slayton became instant superstars in the Cold War space race.

    Overnight their wives became American royalty.

    They had tea with First Lady Jackie Kennedy at the White House, appeared on the cover of Life magazine – sharing in a $500,000 publicity contract – and became fashion icons with their mini-dresses and beehive coiffures.

    The wives all envied Annie Glenn’s perfect marriage, while Rene Carpenter was reportedly President Kennedy’s favourite.

    Koppel’s book follows the lives and wives of the astronauts from the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions who “drank together, popped pills together, consoled each other,” says the author.

    “It was The Right Stuff meets Mad Men, with a little bit of Desperate Housewives thrown in.”

    But the astronauts’ celebrity carried a steep price for their wives.

    NASA’s elite were treated like rock stars, luring astro-groupies known as “Cape Cookies” in the no-wiveszone of Cape Canaveral, Florida, that several found hard to resist.

    Infidelity was rampant yet NASA demanded that families presented an image of blissful domesticity.

    “You weren’t going to get a space flight if your marriage wasn’t intact,” says Koppel.

    “And it had to be an exemplary marriage. Divorce wasn’t allowed.”

    The women felt increasingly isolated.

    “I used to go outside and just look at the moon,” said Faye Stafford, ex-wife of Apollo 10 astronaut Thomas Stafford.
    Founders of the Astronauts' Wives
    "Charlie was a workaholic. The space programme was all he thought about. I knew he would never be able to show me the love I needed or make me a priority " - Dotty, wife of Apollo 16 moonwalker Charlie Duke
    “It was hard for us wives to understand what the men were experiencing. And they were treated like royalty. It was hard for them to come home. What could ever compete with that? I was lucky if I could come second.”

    Yet their husbands often returned to Earth feeling the high-point of their lives was behind them. Some, like moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, fell into depression and alcoholism.

    But as the domestic pressure mounted, NASA thrust the wives into an often terrifying public arena, expected to attend social galas, charity events and fashion shows as the space agency’s dutiful role models for the American Dream.

    “None of us was prepared for the exposure,” said Faye Stafford. “I’m shy. I didn’t like the attention of those ‘casts of thousands dinners’. But you wanted to support your husband so you did it.”

    NASA offered little help.

    “Sometimes a protocol offi cer would summon us to give us advice such as, ‘Give your husband a good breakfast every day and make sure you keep him away from stress at home’,” said Apollo 8 wife Valerie Anders.

    Adding to the stress, after the Gemini mission wives cashed in on the initial publicity, subsequent NASA wives were expected to shine in high society on military or government salaries, as astronauts were not exorbitantly paid.

    “They were sending us into Houston society,” said Stafford.

    “It was all hats and gloves. I don’t think they took into account that we were on government salaries and we really couldn’t afford it all.”

    Many of the women were military wives who had followed their husbands from one US Air Force base to another and arrived at Mission Control in Houston, Texas, without careers to occupy them.

    “Most of us were still homemakers,” said Stafford.

    “I would have liked to have had a career. Especially once the children left home. It was isolating.”

    Their husbands worked hard then partied harder.

    Pete Conrad, Dick Gordon and Alan Shepard were dubbed the “Go-Go Crew,” driving matching gold Corvettes, wearing gold aviators and powder blue fl ying suits.

    Shepard attended “swinging” parties.

    Depressed wives furtively turned to tranquillisers. Jane Conrad explained: “If you wanted an antidepressant you would not go to a NASA doctor; you would secretly go to a doctor in town.”

    The first astronaut divorce finally cracked the facade when Harriet Eisele left Apollo 7 astronaut Donn.

    “There had been a woman for years,” she confessed.

    “There had been lots.”

    With the floodgates now open, many more fled their husbands and the remorseless pressure .

    “It was like dominoes,” says Eisele of the NASA divorces.

    “There were so many, it was as if they were waiting.”

    The astronauts’ wives formed enduring bonds, many remaining friends to this day, long after their husbands had drifted apart.

    “It’s interesting to me that the women have remained closer than the men,” said Stafford.

    “There was just so much intense competition between the men; I think it’s still difficult for them to handle that.”

    The Mercury Seven mission astronauts left their wives depressed and isolated | World | News | Daily Express
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    Before you can judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. After that, who cares? He's a mile away and you've got his shoes. - Billy Connolly

  5. #20
    Elite Member darksithbunny's Avatar
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    I just finished the book and I am watching this! Those ladies were/are fantastic and I think I just found my new idols.
    Bluebonnet likes this.

  6. #21
    Elite Member BelledeJour's Avatar
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    The first episode was promising. Now I am thinking of buying the book.
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  7. #22
    Elite Member louiswinthorpe111's Avatar
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    I am more interested in the book than the show.

  8. #23
    Gold Member I'mNotBitter's Avatar
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    I have just become interested in this after a recent trip to NASA with my daughter's group of friends. Couldn't even stomach the first episode. I am watching From the Earth to the Moon instead. Thanks for posting the article, though, Bluebonnet; it was good.
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  9. #24
    Elite Member panic's Avatar
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    Interesting how the wives are still friends today and the men have long since detached from each other. So far I like the show.
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    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    i really really liked it. Set up the DVR to record it all since i never remember what night things are on.
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  11. #26
    Elite Member Bluebonnet's Avatar
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    I finally got the book from Amazon and am reading it now. It's fabulous!!
    Before you can judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. After that, who cares? He's a mile away and you've got his shoes. - Billy Connolly

  12. #27
    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzy View Post
    I will have to find this online it looks good. Did anyone watch Pan Am? I got so caught up watching that and then it disappeared.
    its WAY WAY better than Pan Am. Pan Am was awful
    Basic rule of Gossip Rocks: Don't be a dick.Tati
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  13. #28
    Elite Member Bluebonnet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msdeb View Post
    its WAY WAY better than Pan Am. Pan Am was awful
    ^^ This. Totally better.
    Before you can judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. After that, who cares? He's a mile away and you've got his shoes. - Billy Connolly

  14. #29
    Elite Member Neptunia's Avatar
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    Bluebonnet, did you finish the book? Did you like it? I'm thinking about buying the book myself as the show is really interesting and pretty entertaining for a summer show. I love the clothing and especially the crazy food they bring each other for the countdown parties. I loved that meatloaf cupcake thing with mashed potatoes for frosting, awful but inventive!
    I'm not so sure I like the storyline with the reporter and Louise Shepherd since I'm not sure if any of that happened in real life. It seems a bit sleazy to say they had an affair if they never did (not that it's reached that point but it seems to be going there) but I'll keep watching to see what happens.

    This is funny but I was on previouslytv forums discussing the show and someone mentioned how much they liked the Grissom's and knowing how it ends it's particularly sad. That person was yelled at by the moderator for spoilers! Can you believe that?! A 40 year old spoiler of a historical event. Can you mention the moon landing or is that a spoiler too!

  15. #30
    Elite Member JazzyGirl's Avatar
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    I'm enjoying the series, it's really good. And yeah, 40 year old spoilers...people are nuts.
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