A Passionate Life
By Anne Lenehan
Story Musgrave has a passion for life. Throughout his career, even as a young boy in Stockbridge,
Massachusetts, that’s the way he has always been. Story is extremely energetic, outspoken
on issues he believes in and, after spending 30 years with NASA, he’s still intimately
involved in the promotion of space and humanity's quest for the unknown. In the last decade,
Story has ventured into some artistic areas to express his ideas.
The essence of Story's life is of living in the moment. In achieving his goals, he has never
lost sight of his personal journey. Whether it was an anatomy class at Columbia University or
working on the Hubble Space Telescope thirty years later, Story would always look around him,
to the humanity of the situation or to the stars and earth's horizon.
Story is an intensely sensitive individual and a consummate, rational perfectionist. That is
very much the way he has always been. As a child in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, he embraced
the farm animals, the machinery, the forest and the skies: they were his family. At the same
time, his human family was embroiled in alcohol, violence and an eventual break-up. Story's
younger brother Tom, with whom he sympathised, was caught between both parents while his older
brother Percy remained with the father. Story, Tom and their mother fled the family home, with
Tom eventually returning to the father.
"Nature was my home. It was the home in which I found myself instead of interacting in
social situations. As is well known in the child development world, most children define themselves,
find themselves and develop a personality, in social interaction. I had no social interaction.
While his mother continued to battle alcoholism, Story endured the unloving environment at his
new boarding school, with few teachers who were able to reach out to him or inspire him. He
hated school and all that was associated with it. He was constantly in trouble with the school
authorities and was subjected to almost continual disciplinary action. At 17, just months after
a major automobile accident which almost cost him his life and left him with serious injuries,
Story failed to receive his High School Diploma and decided to join the US Marine Corps.