Chrysler was one of the many bidders for the technical support contract
which was to supply engineering and public relations writers, editors and
artists to NASA. Chrysler won the contract and hired people to staff the
department. We were not going to work at the Chrysler building but were
physically assigned to the administration building at the cape. Although
Chrysler would be signing our paychecks we would be under the direct
supervision of a NASA civil servant. Any NASA department could request art
work, technical publications, etc., from our group."
When it came time for John's flight he told someone in the astronaut
office that he didn't want the name put on by stencil and he didn't want
it in block letters... he wanted it in script. The astro office called
over to our art dept and talked with the boss who made a fast trip over to
talk with John Glenn. Then boss came back to the art department and said
that John wanted the name done in script. Boss said that a man would have
poor handwriting so he wanted me to do the job because as a woman I might
have better handwriting. Big compliment."
So, I made about 3 designs. Boss took them over to John Glenn's office.
John selected the one he wanted and said he wanted the artist to apply the
design to the capsule. Boss said that a stencil could be cut and one of
the guys could apply the name that way. Wrong thing to say. I found out
about the conversation later from John and it went something like this:
John: "I want the artist who designed that to put it on by hand."
Boss: "Well, that's a woman."
Boss: "She'd have to go out to the launch pad and up to the top of the
John: "Is she handicapped in some way?"
Boss: "Well, she's a woman." (To boss being a woman was a handicap.)
John: "Is she afraid of heights?"
Boss: "I don't know...but she's a woman."
John: "Why don't you find out from her whether she has some objection to
going up to the top of the gantry to paint this for me. Let me know what
So, boss came back to art dept and threw designs on my drawing board and
said that John Glenn was requesting that I personally go out to the pad to
hand paint the design he had chosen. I couldn't figure out why his face
was so red...because I had no idea that boss hadn't got his way. John told
me all about the conversation later."
In addition to the name on the hull of the capsule,
John Glenn also took with him
twelve gold medallions bearing the engraved "Friendship 7" logo.
John Glenn did have the idea that he would like to have some kind of
to give to his wife and children as well as to his secretary, also to the
nurse, Dee O'Hara. So, we came up with the idea of doing gold charms
(medallions) with Friendship 7 engraved on them. I had a jeweler friend of
make up a dozen of these charms and John carried them on his flight. I did
same for Wally Schirra and Scott Carpenter... they each ordered a dozen of
the charms and carried them with them on their flights. So, there are really
charms for each of the flights. I think these might have been the
precursors of the
patches. People knew about the charms and wanted some memento of their
own. Some enterprising salesman probably approached someone at NASA and
the patch idea was born."