Memorial Spaceflights

Bruce Cannon Shaw

"On to your next Journey"
1961 - 2019

It was a typical cold day in Worcester, Massachusetts, when I arrived into the world at 3:17 am, son of Douglas and Ellen Shaw. My 5 older siblings: Doug, Jeff, Allison, Katherine and Susan were excited to meet me. I was very cute with a pop of orange, curly hair. I was so glad it darkened while I was still young, but I know my Mom missed the orange! My two younger brothers, Mark and Dan would join the family in 1963 and 65 respectively.

At a very early age, I knew my own mind. I was determined, stubborn and boy did I have a temper! That temper was probably my biggest nemesis for most of my life, it sure got me in trouble many times over the years.

I grew up in Westboro, Massachusetts, until I was 14 years old. When I was little, my mother's mother, "Grammy Rose," used to come down during the school year to help out. She used to have freshly baked homemade cookies every day for us when we got home from school. I remember all 8 kids squeezing into our Volkswagen minivan to go get her from her home in Maine and bring her down to Westboro. The trip was over 5 hours each way and led to many "informative" discussions. The thing I remember most about Grammy was when she was wanting to scold us she would go, "Doug, Jeff, Bruce, Mark, Dan, I am sure I got one of you right" and then proceed to chew us out.

When my parents divorced, we moved to Waterville, Maine, to Grammy Rose's home with my mother. The transition was very difficult for me, I really missed my friends in Westboro. Classes were different, people seemed different and I never felt like I fit in. My mother found a new husband, and we clashed instantly. As soon as I graduated high school, I moved back to Massachusetts and stayed with my sister, Allison, her husband, Don, and their 3 children: Christina, Jill and Dave. Don was probably the greatest mentor for me throughout my life. Don was invested in the Martial Arts, he got me interested in Aikido and it is a passion I pursued for many years, ultimately obtaining my brown belt. The house was crowded, and with Allison and Don both working and raising 3 kids, it got hectic, so I traveled to Florida to stay with my father. I enlisted in the United States Navy and served for 6 years. Leaving the Navy, I enrolled in Rensselaer College in New York. I stayed with Allison during the summer; however I was at a crossroad in my life. I found college challenging, I really was not sure what I wanted to do with my life, and I eventually left college after two years. I traveled back to Florida and got a night job collecting money from pay phones.

I was always a night person. The solace of the night, the sky with the stars, the moon gave me comfort. During this time, I learned to cook. Living alone, you need to cook, and I found I loved it. I also dabbled in making my own beer and wine. I remained in Florida for a few years, but pay phones disappeared, and my job as well. I returned to Massachusetts, and stayed with Allison, Don and family until I found a job and an apartment. By this time, I decided I wanted to work for the United States Post Office so I took the test and was hired to work nights in a distribution center, moved to Methuen, Massachusetts, where I remained until my passing.

I had a lot of passions. As previously mentioned, I loved cooking and Aikido. I was an ardent atheist. People think that if you are an atheist you either worship Satan or are not spiritual, neither are true. I found meditation, partially through my Aikido, and also through my love of Japanese culture. I think my fondness for Japanese tradition started way back when I was 2 years old. My family went to the 1963 New York World's Fair and I got a kimono while I was there. I loved that thing. I wore it until it would no longer fit, and I kept it with me throughout my life. During my struggles as a teenager, my mother started me on needlepoint, and I made a picture of an Apache warrior. I was very proud of that picture, and I also kept it with me throughout my life. I loved to travel. I have been to Japan and China, I took a cruise down the Yangtse River in China and it was amazing. I have also been to Europe, and I absolutely loved Italy.

Video games and movies are also something I truly enjoyed. I loved reading, and my preferred genre was Science Fiction, my favorite author, it I had to choose, was Terry Brooks. I loved Dr. Who, I never missed an episode. As a night person, being up when the stars are out and the moon is shining, it makes you think about the great expanse of the Universe, the millions of other inhabited planets, what they might be like, what the animal and plant life might look like. How close they might be to our own planet. I loved the mystery of the Universe.

I loved being alone. I was never good at being told what to do or compromising. Living alone, I made my own rules and my own choices. I was not lonely, I enjoyed my life. For those who mourn my passing, please don't. Take the memories of our times together, the times we laughed and shared, let those happy times infuse you with positive feelings about me.

I did not plan to die, I did not wish to leave this life so young. I saw myself growing old, but death is a natural part of life, and it comes whether we want it to or not. I do not and did not believe in God; however I have always believed there is a universal life force that is part of the circle of life. Now I am going to go on a satellite and orbit the Earth, what could be more exciting! How many people even imagine doing such a thing?!! As I leave this life, I am part of that universal cycle. I may enter a new journey; I do not know what it is or where it will take me, but I am sure, if it happens, it will be filled with excitement.

We are all stories in the end, just make it a good one
                            ~ Dr. Who

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