A musician, an artist, a doctor, a pilot? This is a question we all, as children, have been asked. Even though now we are legally and biologically adults, this is a question many of us are still seeking the answer to, probably because we need to define grow up first.

Is there really a specific age one needs to be to be deemed a grown up? Is it eighteen, twenty-one, thirty? Is one grown up when s/he has found a suitable job or chosen a profession? Or is it a state of maturity? Now there’s a concept! That could take forever. OR – is the road we travel to becoming grown up simply a life-long quest that only ends when we die?

When I was five, I wanted to be a cowboy.

photo (11)

Not a cowgirl, but a cowboy. I wanted to ride Midnight, my jet-black stallion (with a white star on his forehead) up and down Dongan Avenue and right all the wrongs in our neighborhood. What those ill doings could have been, I have no idea, but that is what I wanted to be. It all went well too, until I tied Vinny Meehan to a telephone pole and went home for dinner. His father was not pleased, to say the least, when his own meal went cold while he frantically combed the neighborhood for his, hopefully, disobedient son.

Soon afterwards, I gave up my trusty steed, rope, and rifle for a rusty, red wagon with white wheels and a long black handle.

Remember these?

Remember these?

Going door-to-door and asking neighbors if they had anything they wanted to get rid of seemed like the next best thing to do. Two pair of paint spattered overalls, a worn cast iron frying pan, and one men’s black leather shoe later, I had been scolded for bothering old Mrs. Ciccarello again and roaming around the corner onto the next block alone without telling anyone where I was going. Today, they film escapades like this and call it Antiques Roadshow. In the early sixties, it was junk collecting.

Since living in the age of chivalry with its courageous knights in shining armor wielding even shinier magical swords and combing the Seven Seas as a swashbuckling pirate in a stolen donated Spanish galleon


was no longer an option, I decided when I was eight that I wanted to be an astronaut. John Glenn, after having orbited the earth only the year before, was my inspiration. To prove my resolve, my sister and I named our dog Sputnik after the first dog that had been launched into outer space on my second birthday. I saw it as a sign.

Throughout the late sixties, while the Americans and Russians raced one another to the moon, weekly doses of James T. Kirk’s and Will Robinson’s adventures in space solidified my vision of becoming an astronaut. But since kids were not allowed into the space program in 1968, I did the next best thing, which was to build my own

Apollo Lunar Modulelunar2 amazonThen, I could stand on the moon when I wanted to, without jet-lag. Hmmm – or would it be space-lag?Lunar Mod W-Moon

I still often wonder why I never became that first woman in space – had someone told me only men could become astronauts? Was it the F in calculus that discouraged me? Or had I simply not grown up enough?

I don’t really know – but now, I’m working toward being a writer when I grow up.

What about you? What do you want to be?

About Donna Gwinnell Lambo-Weidner

I am an adventure seeking ponderer of the mysteries of the universe, writer of children's books (represented by Stephen Fraser of the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency), and lover of anything involving armor, archery, or swashbuckling.
This entry was posted in ADVENTURES, CHILDHOOD, HUMOR and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Sue k says:

    I’m still looking, Donna, glad you found your calling.


  2. Austin says:

    A kid again.. 🙂


  3. Leah Chapman says:

    Super fun Donna Weidner!!! Keep it coming 😉


  4. Vic says:

    Love, love, love this one! I laughed out loud!!! You reminded me of things from my childhood although I was not the adventurer that you were. Come to think of it, I’m still not the adventurer you are. When did you go to the moon? Another thing you didn’t tell me!
    By the way, you may not be grown up yet, but you’re a writer – a very good one! Great job!


  5. Wow, Donna, in one seemingly simple post, you have covered a LOT of ground! Fabulous! My goal is to mature while never becoming a grown-up, always approaching life with “child’s mind”. I remind myself of that even as I impatiently make my way through rush hour traffic, screaming, “Get the #%&*$ out of my way! I need to get to meditation class!” (I’m still learning, you know.) 😉 Love your moon shot! xo


  6. mother says:

    ha ha, about the cowgirl..one night in donnas evening prayer she asked god to bless tonto and the lone ranger. i could not laugh too hard because she was very serious. love mom1


  7. Pingback: WHILE WE’RE ON THE SUBJECT OF ASTRONAUTS… | Donna Gwinnell Weidner

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