Buzz Aldrin in Westwood June 25, 2009

Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, visited Westwood for the signing of his new book, Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon.

Bill longed to be an astronaut when he was a kid, so he was particularly in awe to see Buzz Aldrin in person again. And me… I’m an Air Force brat, my father is Retired Colonel Ronald Duane Little, navigator and former personnel director at Edwards Air Force Base during the test flights of the Space Shuttle Enterprise. Needless to say, the Air Force had a huge impact on my life, and meeting this American hero, who reminds me so much of my Dad, was deeply moving.

It was standing room only! People from all walks of life crowded in, including this four legged attendee “Flanders”. Buzz arrived wearing a big smile and a WAY cool jacket. His step daughter Lisa Cannon, president of his fan club Star Buzz Enterprises, assisted with the Q&A. On Valentine’s Day 1988, Buzz married the stunning Lois Driggs Cannon, the love of his life, and between them they have 6 adult children. Her other daughter Bryn Cannon was running around the room enthusiastically snapping photos and chatting with Buzz fans. It’s easy to see they are a close family and having a great time promoting Buzz’s books as well as his hip hop song “Rocket Experience“. Yep, you read right… Buzz Aldrin teamed up with Snoop Dogg to reach for the stars… Now this is where my Dad and Buzz part company. You have no idea.

Buzz of course talked about what the fans wanted to hear – what was it like to be in space, to walk on the moon, etc. But Buzz opened his heart, sharing how after all the excitement, that being removed from the structured military life was extremely difficult, how he struggled with depression and alcoholism before getting his life back on track. So, his latest book is about that long journey back from the moon, and it’s good to know even the greatest icons of our society are human after all.

During the talk, Buzz waved a big hello to AC Lyles from Paramount Pictures who was in the audience, introducing him to the fans. After the signing began, people crowded around him to get signatures and take pictures, including Buzz’s step daughters Lisa and Byrn!

The 40th anniversary of the moon landing is fast approaching (July 20, 2009), so what perfect timing for the release of Buzz’s new book. BTW, a couple fun factoids about Buzz… he got his nickname from his baby sister… when she tried to say brother it came out “buzzer“. Is that cute or what. Buzz’s mom is Marion Moon. How cool is that!!

We finally had our brief moment with Buzz. Bill got his books signed, quickly telling Buzz about his father-in-law Ron Little. Buzz told Bill he worked at Edwards before my Dad was stationed there (in the early 70’s, my Dad was mid-late 70’s), but even though they didn’t work together he was excited to hear the story. The line was still quite long when we slipped out into the cool June evening. For us, that was truly a trip to the stars!

Until our next space adventure…

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