In The Beginning

Before they were moonwalkers they were newly minted astronauts. These vintage glossy photos show the astronauts at a simpler time in their careers. The inscriptions are all to Joe Garino, NASA's Physical Condition Specialist. Many of the astronauts simply signed their first name - a sign perhaps of how close they were to Garino. Of the inscriptions, I am particularly intrigued by the one from John Young calling Garino "the world's greatest cumshaw artist." A "cumshaw" is apparently a present or gratuity, often a piece of needed equipment that appears when needed (while at the same time a similar item disappears from another unit). A "cumshaw artist" is generally prized within a unit for his ability to provide such items - and few questions are asked.

Included along with the glossies was this "Leave Authorization" request signed by none other than Alan Shepard. I like to imagine that Garino was requesting time off to work on yet another scheme. We'll never know.