By Stacey Axler, intern
Pickersgill Retirement Community resident Joseph Guion enjoys the quiet environment his apartment creates to write his book about space exploration.
Guion, who moved into the Towson, Md., community six months ago, has dedicated much of his time here to the many writing projects he now has the chance to develop.
Monkeys in Space
For his book about space exploration, Guion is writing about monkeys sent to outer space to test the possibility of space travel. As a commander in the Navy in 1959, Guion and his crew recovered the first monkeys sent to space, named Abel and Baker, after they were returned to Earth and landed in the ocean. He intends for the book to provide a unique insight into an oft-forgotten aspect of American history.
“It is really hard to find things in the ocean. Recovering the monkeys successfully was a great moment,” Guion said.
Guion is using notes he wrote during naval mission in 1959 to write his book.
He explained that the mission to find the monkeys was a difficult one. Due to the classified nature of the recovery job, Guion could not tell the other men on the ship until several hours prior to mission.
When Guion and the crew arrived at the landing site, they waited in the ocean until they saw the parts of the shuttle re-entering the atmosphere.
“You could read a newspaper on the bridge, that’s how bright [re-entry] was,” Guion said.
Besides writing about his experience, Guion often speaks about the mission and showcases related photographs and film at Pickersgill.
Other Writing Projects
Guion is working on several writing projects at this time.
“I’ve got a lot of irons in the fire,” Guion said.
Alongside his book on the space monkey recovery mission, he is also writing a memoir on his and his family’s life.
The first book Guion wrote and published was a collection of poetry titled ‘Love Songs on the Journey.” Now, he enjoys passing out copies of this book to his friends at Pickersgill to enjoy.
“I decided that it was time to move to a place like Pickersgill,” Guion said. “My family and I visited around four or five places when we came to Pickersgill. We visited around lunchtime, and everyone we passed said ‘hello.’ They were just so friendly.”
He especially enjoys the support for his writing projects from “the gang:” Guion’s nickname for his friends from Pickersgill who he spends a lot of time with in the parlor areas of the community.
“There’s a very interesting group of people here,” Guion said.
Pickersgill Retirement Community is a nonprofit retirement community nestled among dogwoods on a beautiful campus in Towson, Md. Pickersgill has a tradition of excellence, and a rich history. Founded, and named after former board member Mary Pickersgill—the seamstress who inspired “The Star Spangled Banner” with her flag that waved over Fort McHenry—Pickersgill is the rare community that can claim it has dutifully served generations of seniors in the Baltimore area for more than 200 years. To find out more about our community, check out our website, find us on Facebook, or give us a call at 410-825-7423.