I am a child of the Space Age

October 12, 2013 – 7:05 PM. The night sky is clear in Seattle as I walk up a hill in the Magnolia part of town. A bright half moon is in the sky. Sunset was 40 minutes earlier and while the sky fell into darkness I could see several airplanes making their way to and from the local airports. Coming out of the Southwest sky I spotted a bright object moving toward the Northeast, bright enough to be Venus but moving like a plane. For many years I have looked for satellites at night as they travel around the earth and this was probably another. Its brightness hinted it might be the International Space Station. Easy to see with the naked eye, sometimes even in daylight, you can see its detail with only a pair of binoculars. Fifteen seconds later my iPhone SkyView app confirmed my hunch and my eyes followed the ISS with 6 people aboard for the remaining minute of visibility.

The Soviet Union launched and successfully put Sputnik into orbit 56 years ago this month, eight months before I was born. For 22 days it broadcast a radio signal until the batteries ran out and continued to orbit Earth until January 4, 1958. What a thrill it must have been to see the first satellite in the night sky as it raced around our planet every 92 minutes.

Since Sputnik about 500 people have been in space. Some went as far as the moon. We are still exploring. Try this one on for size, last Thursday on October 9, 2013 the spacecraft Juno returned to earth two years after its launch in 2011. It had gone to deep space and did not return to earth to come home but to get a gravity assist to continue its journey to Planet Jupiter. It came back to earth because we did not have any rocket engines powerful enough to get Juno to Jupiter directly. What imagination. The Earth gravity assist will increase the speed of Juno by16,330 miles per hour. The mission end in October 2017 after 33 orbits of Jupiter, falling into the planet as planned. It takes a bit of imagination sometimes to accomplish cool things.

As a young person I followed the space program from Mercury to Gemini to Apollo and stayed awake late into the night at a New Hampshire summer camp to see the first television pictures from the moon. 8 months earlier on a clear Christmas Eve night, my family driving from New York City to Toronto, heard the voices of Frank Borman, James Lovell and William Anders read a passage from Genesis while their capsule orbited the moon. All I could do was to look into the black sky and wonder. I was 10.

Nine years after going to the moon two spacecraft were launched, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. They went into space to explore a lot of stuff and they are still tripping out there and Voyager 1 has entered interstellar space (deep space) beyond the influence of our Sun and our Solar System. 36 years later Voyager 1 & 2 still send us data.

We have sent spacecraft to Mars on August 6, 2012 after an 8 month trip Curiosity rover landed on the surface. This 9′ by 9′ (approximately) is roaming around the surface doing a lot of heavy work for us. Oh we’ve been firing stuff at Mars since the 1960’s and while there have been many failures we keep trying and some missions succeed. Satellites have been sent to orbit Mars and make a map for us and learn more about the physical characteristics of the planet. In addition to Curiosity other man made probes have made it to the Martian surface. Pretty cool.

Mercury? Yep, we’ve sent stuff there. Venus? There too. We’ve been a lot of places and perhaps in 40,000 years Voyager 1 will get within 2 Light Years of the star we call Gliese 445.

Ever since the late 1950’s the human race has been sending stuff and people into space. We’ve been very busy. My children are now all in their 20’s. For a large majority of their days since their first breath humans in spacecrafts have been circling the earth and looking down on our little blue planet.

I think about those 6 people now in the International Space Station (Oleg Kotov, Mike Hopkins, Sergey Ryazanskiy, Fyodor, Yurchikhin, Karen Nyberg, Luca Parmitano). As I write this they are below the horizon to the Southwest and will not be visible tonight here in Seattle as they travel through space at 17,000 miles per hour. But I know where they are and I think of them. And I think of Galileo. Could he ever have imagined all that I have seen. What a time to be alive!! Perhaps that’s what made me stop and watch the ICC cross the sky, to think of my life, the places humanity has been in space and to show respect for the explorers above me.

I am a child of the Space Age.

Thank you for reading!


A Story About a Story About a Story About a Story – (Chicago to Philadelphia to Seattle to Portland, a Moose and a Couple of Golf Courses)

A Story

This story starts in Chicago on August 21, 1884. H. Chandler Egan was born on this day. He did not live to see his 52nd birthday. From what I have read he had athletic talent not limited to golf, yet it is because affection for golf that I know about the life of Chandler Egan. You see he designed West Seattle Golf Course, my course, the one I play most often. He won the U.S. Amateur in 1904 and 1905. He won a team Olympic Gold Medal in Golf in 1904 while winning an individual Silver Medal in those games.  By the way…. after all those years golf is back in the Olympics when the Summer Games commence in Brazil.

Chandler Egan had a great Amateur career but 1904 and 1905 was his apex. He went on to design many courses and had a hand in the redesign of Pebble Beach before the 1929 U.S. Amateur. A very impressive resume.

About a Story

Eight years after Egan died in Everett, Washington my friend Marc was born. Marc was born in Philadelphia and did not learn of Chandler Egan until 68 years later in 2013. I met Marc for the first time on the 12th tee of West Seattle Golf Course early in the summer of 2013. It was a chance meeting but Marc is hard to miss and as is typical on a nice day, the groups get a bit backed up waiting to tee off on 12. Marc and I struck up a conversation, I found out he recently divested himself from most of his earthly possessions and drove his BMW from Philadelphia to Seattle. Individuals who go to these extremes are usually fleeing someone or chasing someone. In Marc’s case it was both. Both were women this was not mob related. As far as I can determine Marc now owns a BMW, golf clubs, his clothes, a flat screen TV and over 100 Taylor Made golf balls he purchased for a great price a Costco. This reminded me of my favorite car bumper sticker – “It takes a lot of balls to play golf the way I do.” But I digress.

After my round I found Marc on the patio holding court with another member of his foursome and I sat down to join him for a beverage at the 19th hole. Phone numbers were exchanged and plans established to meet again and play 18 in the next few days. Marc described his drive across the continent. The highlight (or lowlight depending on your point of view) was when he hit a mammal while driving, turning his Ultimate Driving Machine into a Weapon of Deer Destruction. So truth be told, the title of this story is a little misleading because it was not a Moose. But the way Marc told it, the story was “Moose Worthy.”

About a Story

Four weeks later I played golf with a friend Gary in Portland, Oregon at his course, Waverley Golf Club. We played the “Egan” tees and as you might have guessed Chandler Egan designed Waverley too. Gary invited Matt (The Kid), a junior member at Waverley to join us and round out the group. A few holes into the back nine Matt and I got to talking about Waverley and the Egan connection to West Seattle. Matt told me that two weeks before he was up in Seattle to see friends and they played West Seattle. Small world, what were the chances. As we continued our conversation I started to mention some of the interesting people I’ve played with at West Seattle and after a time I started to talk about Marc. Marc reminds me of Larry David the actor, comedian, writer and television producer. So this is how I described him as I told the story of how we met…… at some point Matt paused and said…. “I think I played with this guy Marc. Did he hit a Moose (Deer) on his drive out from Philly?”


It’s all about STORY!!!!!! Think about it, if Marc had not had such a unique story Matt (The Kid) and I might have believed (but not with 100% certainty) Marc was the same person we both knew from playing at West Seattle. BUT – The story of Car vs. Moose (Deer) gave us total certainty we were both talking about the same Marc. The kid did not remember Marc’s name but he did remember the story.

1 – The story of Chandler Egan connected us with our two golf courses, Waverley and West Seattle.

2 – The story about meeting people at West Seattle led me to talk about Marc.

3 – The story about the Moose tied it all together.

People remember STORIES!!!! Don’t ever forget that. We will be remembered because of our stories.

You can go to Waverley and West Seattle and there you will find tributes to H. Chandler Egan. He never saw the full completion of his West Seattle design and he died while in the middle of constructing Legion Golf Course in Everett, Washington not far away. But he had a story…..And it is still being told.

Thank you for reading.

Doug Marshall

Oh Boy – Philadelphia Eagles Fans in Seattle

Sunday October 6, 2013 I find myself sitting in Buckley’s in Belltown, just North of downtown Seattle. It is 9:15 AM and the bar is starting to get crowded. The first wave of NFL games start at 10 and people want to get their preferred seats before they are gone.

One section is reserved for the Seattle Philadelphia Eagles Meet Up Group. By the time the game starts there will be 40+ Eagles fans eating breakfast, drinking beer and other adult beverages. The reason this group chose Buckley’s is because of the reserved section. It appears there is a section on the other side of the bar for Packers fans and most of the rest of the bar caters to the home team Seahawks.

I found this group interesting on two levels:

1 – The behavior of the group that I witnessed during the game was worth a story in itself.

2 – How did they manage to get together and the bigger question, how did I end up in this group at this time?

I’m sure the fans were extra charged up because the Eagles were playing the New York Giants. This is a big rivalry in sports and they were playing in the Giant’s home stadium. I saw adults walking around the bar flapping their arms pretending to be Eagles and singing the Eagles’ fight song like they were members of The Village People. It was a good show at the bar and a better showing by the Eagles who stomped The Giants. Soon there were revived hopes for making the playoffs, all left happy.

But how did I get to be there at this time. A few months ago I met Marc on the 12th hole of West Seattle Golf Course. He recently moved out to Seattle from Philly. Now Marc’s story is worth several blog posts on his own merit and I’ll get to him later. All I will say about him right now is that he is 67, not very shy, an avid golfer and he hit a deer on his drive from Philly to Seattle. Marc found the Eagles Meet Up Group online doing a Google search. I came to Buckley’s to experience something. I wanted to experience the impact of social media and the internet. I wanted to be a part of being there because my 67 year old friend has embraced technology. Now don’t get me wrong about Marc, he is young at heart and everyone who meets him thinks he just turned 50 (he never would forgive me if I left that point out). But the point is we are going to see technology transform the way everyone relates to the world. Marc and I started our business careers before the PC, cell phones and even fax machines. But we are embracing technology.

That is the real story here…. More on Marc later…. But in the meantime…. GO EAGLES!

Thank you for reading!

Doug Marshall