Sunday, December 11, 2016

"A hero is somebody who voluntarily walks into the unknown." Tom Hanks

America mourns the passing of a true hero this week. Former astronaut and four-time Senator from Ohio, John Glenn took his final breath at the age of 95 on December 8, 2016, the day after the 75th anniversary of the bombing at Pearl Harbor. Not only was John Glenn the first man to orbit the earth in February of 1962, he was also the oldest man to venture into space in 1998, when he was 77 years old. Every American can learn from his adventurous spirit, and this great quote: "You should run your life not by the calendar but how you feel, and what your interests are, and ambitions." 

I was just 10 years old when John Glenn went into space. I can remember worrying about him, because he was going someplace where man had never been.  A big fan of King Kong and Sci-fi movies on rainy Saturday afternoons, I was worried that he would be captured by Martians or other aliens. My older brother George and I whispered to each other about this possibility, and after much discussion, we decided that he was was very brave, but that he must also be very scared.  We even had a discourse on the topic of John Glenn going into space with our parents at the dinner table - on more than one occasion - and I can remember my mom and dad clucking about the world moving too fast and about space being the final frontier. At age 10,  I was not sure of exactly what the term "moving too fast" really meant, but if they were still alive in today's world, my parents would be run over by the pace of progress and life! 

I remember that as much as George and I liked the celluloid cowboy heroes of black and white films in those days of our childhood, that John Glenn was an entirely new kind of hero. He was a real person, not a movie actor, and he was going into SPACE, not knowing what he would encounter, or even whether he would return safely. Suddenly, the silver screen film star heroes became only tintypes compared to this real man, with real courage, going into the real outer space!  Our family watched the grainy black and white television coverage of John Glenn's orbit in 1962, glued to the set as we worried about his safety. What a joyous occasion when he returned to earth, seemingly unscathed.   

John Glenn was a true hero, not anything like the rock-star singers and rappers and stars that kids idolize today.  He stepped up to the plate, traveling to the unknown, in order to benefit his country and all of the world.  Besides my father, John Glenn was one of my childhood heroes, and just like my dad, Astronaut /Senator Glenn will always be a hero in my eyes.

Godspeed, John Glenn.  And thank you for teaching this 10 year old girl and her 12 year old brother the true meaning of the word HERO. 

For more information on John Glenn's passing, please follow this link.

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. Rittman Publishing, LLC ®

GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 from The Authors' Zone. For more information about The Authors' Zone, please visit  

Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics. 

I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books.  Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self.  However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired! 

Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom.  Check them out! 

Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book.  I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading.  Please email me at  The website now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!

Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. 

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