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Many readers have asked for photos to better illustrate my memoir, Don't Blow Yourself Up: The Further Adventures and Travails of the Rocket Boy of October Sky. Included in the stories are some beloved cats. Here they are.
TIKI and TECH - Siamese cat brothers who belonged to my parents and lived in Coalwood, WV during the time described in the memoir.
|Only known photo of one of the Siamese, either Tiki or Tech, displaying typical Siamese behavior of climbing up on things|
GATO - Homer got Gato along with his sister in Salt Lake City the summer of 1967 as a gift for a friend. She named him Nephi and the sister Amelia. Homer ended up with Nephi who was renamed Gato. Gato was a beloved friend who went everywhere with Homer. He died in Germany in 1981.
|Young Gato at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah 1967|
|Young Gato outside on Dugway Proving Ground, Utah 1967|
|14 year old Gato, Germany, 1981|
BC - Technically not a cat, BC was known as a banana cat in Vietnam. BC lived with Homer at the Oasis, a firebase on the Cambodian border, in 1968, even through a battle during the Tet Offensive. Homer had to give BC away to a medic who was glad to have him.
|BC on a sandbag|
|Homer and BC at the Oasis, 1968|
PACO - Paco was Homer's cat from 1986 well into the 2000's. He was a special cat who shared his life with Homer and his wife Linda during most of Homer's NASA career.
|Paco after SL-J, the Japanese space mission for which Homer was the training manager. Gato is wearing a Ninja helmet given to him by the Japanese space agency after Paco saved the mission.|
|Paco on his favorite rock beside his house in Huntsville. He often waited there for Homer to come home from work|
|Paco with Homer's novel Back to the Moon - He was a character in the novel|