On November 10, 2012, surrounded by my family and webcasting to the world, I opened the 1946 letter that inspired our documentary film, Letter From Cloudcroft. The letter was written by my father, Private Sandy Hess from the Lodge Resort in Cloudcroft NM during a weekend respite from the Army. Sandy Hess was the first American GI engineer assigned to work with the German Nazi Rocket Scientists in Project Paperclip. We produced a public symposium funded by the New Mexico Humanities Council and the NEH, that brought Space History and Jewish scholars together to discuss the legacy of the V2 rockets, from their origins in the Holocaust to being the foundation of the American Space Program.
Growing up in the Deaf Community, as my Father was deaf, I would never give that visually rich experience up. The fluid movement of ideas and stories was my first journey into the world of ‘other.’ Since then I have understood ‘other’ with empathy and with a deep marginal native’s view. As my own identity transforms I feel comfortable in my ‘skins’ as they adjust and transform forever.
Thank you so much John Dobson (1915-2014) for teaching me and generations of star watchers how to build your DIY telescopes, to experience earth’s moon reflected on our faces and to know we are all made of star dust so treat each other well. Safe travels and enjoy the ride John, we know you will.