An encounter in my distant past with someone famous

In Summer of 1991, on independence day week, I attended the US Space Academy. As with many kids back then, it was my dream to be an astronaut and I wanted to go to space, and attending “SPACE CAMP” was my dream. But little did I know, I had a chance to spend an entire week with some one famous. So let me explain.

So this week, the pandemic lockdown and springtime got me worked up and I started doing some spring cleaning in my office. While cleaning I found the following poster.

This was a poster of all of us that attended the US SPACE ACADEMY in July 1991. During the one week camp, we were separated into teams. The teams were named after Space Shuttle names, like Columbia, Atlantis, etc. And we were the Enterprise.

When I found this poster, it brought back a lot of memories. I remember a few of us that we got along really well during camp. And of course, I remember the cute girls in our team at Space Camp. I remember one particular girl named Lauren. Lauren was friendly and nice, and for some reason, I remember she was from Pennsylvania, in a town called Allentown, which I’ve never heard of it before then. And for a young boy from Auburn, Pennsylvania was light years away from Alabama.

Anyways close to the end of the camp, we all got different awesome NASA related posters and all of our campmates would sign each other’s poster… it was almost like a yearbook for our 1 week Space Camp.

So when I found this poster and I thought, maybe I can find out where they are now. The first name I typed into search was Lauren’s and boy was I surprised.

So according to the internet, Lauren Weisberger is the author of The Devil Wears Prada and many other famous novels.


My first thought was … was that the same Lauren that went to Space Academy with me? Her photos look familiar and according to Wikipedia, She is around the same age as me, but she was from Scranton, PA and not Allentown. But then there was this one line in the Wikipedia entry …

“she and her younger sister… moved to Allentown, Pennsylvania … “

But still maybe there are multiple Lauren Weisberger in Allentown that went to Space Camp… but did the author went to space camp? And then I found this article.

Inspired by Christa McAuliffe (the teacher and astronaut who died in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in January 1986), Weisberger wanted to be an astronaut, even attending “space camp”, but couldn’t do maths and science “to save my life”. 

So, Yep she did attend “Space Camp”. Maybe actually, it’s Space Academy.

Honestly, I don’t know if the Lauren Weisberger that signed my poster was the same Lauren Weisberger that wrote all these fantastic and wonderful books, and even if she was, my life only crossed path with her for 1 week in 1991, and she probably doesn’t even remember me or our team Enterprise. But I would like to think she is the famous author and she does have a good memory of our team from 1991. But either way, what a great story to tell in a virtual happy hour, right?

So next time I go home to Auburn, I will see if I can find some pictures from Space Camp… so this story is to be continues …

Meanwhile, my friend that attended Space Academy with me sends me these pictures from the same summer trip. Take a look at the young Min from 1991. Happy Easter everyone!

I wonder who else is famous now on that poster???