It Started with Dad’s Six-Cent Stamp

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Dale Mason

illustration by Viktor Miller-Gausa

Dale Mason
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It was 1968, and my dad’s insurance office was attached to our home. That was convenient for me as a seven-year-old because Dad had a ready supply of envelopes and six-cent stamps—the cost of a first-class letter.

That year, there was tremendous excitement about the space race. How I dreamed of walking on the moon! At school The Weekly Reader kept me informed about it. At home I often joined Dad in the living room to watch the evening news. Dad was deeply concerned about the soldiers in Vietnam, and I was mesmerized by the Apollo missions.

On one of those evenings, I took a piece of notebook paper and sat in Dad’s big office chair. I wrote out a simple letter and addressed an envelope to “The Place Where They Launch the Rockets.” That’s it, no city, state, or zip.

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The amazing multipaneled foldout cover with animals arriving at the ark makes a great conversation starter. Kudos to graphic designer Chris Neville!

After I licked one of dad’s six-cent stamps and stuck it on the front, I walked my little letter to the big corner mailbox. Somehow, I soon received a huge yellow envelope from NASA with a photo of three astronauts and information about their coming mission. I had some explaining to do to Dad and Mom, but they smiled and gave me permission to keep using those six-cent stamps. Over the next couple years, I received scores of yellow envelopes, each one stuffed with excitement. One day I even received a personal letter from the first American in space, Alan Shepard, signed by the legend himself.

After the moon landings ended, I eventually became more interested in girls and cars. So when Mom was setting out items for a yard sale, I considered my box of “space stuff” and ultimately placed it on a table.

A librarian from a nearby school was delighted by the $5 deal, but I’ve regretted selling it many times over.

Now with children and grandchildren of my own, I understand more about the things that matter most. My “priceless” records of America’s moon missions were likely turned to ashes years ago. But as I read astronaut Barry Wilmore’s article (on page 44), commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, I was reminded of all this and filled with thanks that God’s written record is not fleeting. Though it’s amazing what a boy can dream up and what humans can do, the Bible reveals the plans and works of God—who created the moon!

Answers Magazine

July–August 2019

When we consider fossils and extinct creatures, the ark surely contained many animals we would not normally consider. What animals were—and weren’t—on the ark?

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