Friday, November 19, 1999
Throng fawns over Glenn
BY BETTY KIM
The Cincinnati Enquirer
NORWOOD Dressed in his Cub Scout uniform, 7-year-old Jake Hartmann of Westwood slowly slid his copy of John Glenn: A Memoir toward his hero.
He wants to be an astronaut, said his mother, Julie, as Jake proudly shook the astronaut-turned-senator-turned-astronaut's hand.
Well, then. You should go to space camp, he advised the young prospect.
About 1,500 people stood patiently in line Thursday evening at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Norwood, where Mr. Glenn spent nearly four hours signing copies of his autobiography that came out Nov. 2. This is the second week of his cross-country book-signing tour, which will end next week.
It's going great, he said. I haven't had anyone come up to me and say it stinks. Maybe they will later, he said, laughing.
In 1962, Mr. Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth on Friendship 7. He went on to win the U.S. Senate seat from Ohio in 1974, 1980, 1986 and 1992.
Last year, at 77, Mr. Glenn orbited the Earth again, this time on the shuttle Discovery for nine days, making him the oldest space traveler in history.
Can I shake your hand you've been to space, Linda Duan asked Mr. Glenn. He obliged the Batavia womanafter signing her book.
As a boy, Mrs. Duan's husband, Mike, remembered watching Mr. Glenn's historic voyage. From that grew a lifelong passion for anything aviation.
His flight captured my imagination, Mr. Duan said. The pioneering spirit, the adventure. It was inspiring.
When Ursuline Academy senior Molly Donovan reached the front of the line, she gave Mr. Glenn a present: her American history project, a first-person account of his life.
As Mr. Glenn and his wife of 51 years, Annie, looked admiringly at the scrapbook, he asked her if she was sure she wanted to part with it.
Yep, I want you to have it, said the 18-year-old from Anderson Township who hopes to become an aerospace engineer at NASA.
I'm a big space buff. To be one of the first people to go up into space ... that must have taken so much courage. I really admire that.
The line to Mr. Glenn's station on the second floor of the bookstore swept down the staircase and snaked around several shelves. The wait was long, but most didn't mind.
Jim Quinn of Wyoming waited for more than an hour, but said he wanted his two children to meet someone from a time when being dedicated to your country wasn't old-fashioned.
For young Jake Hartmann, barely big enough to hold the hardcover book with one hand, Thursday's meeting may spark his own venture into space.
When asked if he'll read the book, he enthusiastically nodded his head.
Someday, said his mom, Julie. Right now, we'll help him through it.
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