Sally Ride, the first woman from the west to go into space, died yesterday. And she came out in the obituary on her own website:
Sally Ride died peacefully on July 23rd, 2012 after a courageous 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Sally lived her life to the fullest, with boundless energy, curiosity, intelligence, passion, joy, and love. Her integrity was absolute; her spirit was immeasurable; her approach to life was fearless.So when I read this morning's Wall Street Journal I expected to at least see mention of Ms O'Shaughnessy--but the WSJ didn't play. Why?
In addition to Tam O’Shaughnessy, her partner of 27 years, Sally is survived by her mother, Joyce; her sister, Bear; her niece, Caitlin, and nephew, Whitney; her staff of 40 at Sally Ride Science; and many friends and colleagues around the country.
The New York Times did, just. Other major outlets--such as CNN--also mentioned O'Shaughnessy.
But I would like to have seen a major newspaper tell us about how Sally Ride first met her partner of 27 years, Tam O'Shaughnessy, when they were twelve [note, this website plays commercials with sound--use your mute button]. I would like to have read about why she felt she had to marry a man for a few years. Did she love him? Was it a marriage of convenience? Would she have been accepted as an astronaut if she hadn't married him and looked 'normal' for the media? Would she have married O'Shaughnessy if she could? I don't know the answer to any of those questions. I would like to.
I hope someone writes a book. I hope Ms O'Shaunessy is willing to talk to a biographer and tell some home truths. We need these stories--if only to understand just how much the world (or at least this part of it) has changed in the last decade.