Thursday, January 17, 2013

Mom Was a Lockheed Pioneer

I discovered her riveting past
by Daniel W.

My mother was always, to me, just my mom. She is now 83, suffering the dire effects of a severe stroke. I cherish every opportunity to visit with her, although it is usually bittersweet. This story relates an exceptional conversation we had.
During our last visit, she asked me how my job was going. I told her that I changed companies and now work for Lockheed Martin. Her eyes sparkled for a moment and she smiled broadly, saying, "I used to work for Lockheed! I worked on rockets, mostly. I worked out of Sunnyvale and sometimes Norton Air Force, no Vandy, Vandyland, um, Vandenberg."
I never knew my mother worked with any sort of technology, let alone missile and space systems! She worked for Lockheed in the 1950s and 1960s, before I was born. She described crawling into rocket fuselages, riveting and installing wires and various electromechanical components. She spoke of things I recognized, Titan and Atlas. She also mentioned something I had never heard of, the Agena. For about 30 minutes I had Mom back, enthusiastically telling me something about herself that I never knew. The memories were obviously dear to her and they forever changed how I perceive my mother.
She left me two final statements before going to sleep. First, she told me never to tell anyone what she said, "Because it's all very secret." The second was, "You'll like working for Lockheed, I sure did. It's a good company."