COLUMBUS (AP) – When future astronaut John Glenn nestled in his bed, it may not have been sugar plums that danced in his head, but celestial bodies.
A recently discovered child’s pillowcase that belonged to the late U.S. senator and space hero depicts revolving planets, stars and a view to outer space. At the center, a koala bear clings to some sort of spacecraft, labeled “John” in blue embroidered cursive.
Glenn grew up to become the first American to orbit the Earth.
Adam Sackowitz, a graduate student from Queens, New York, purchased the pillowcase March 8 for $2,500 at an estate sale of Glenn’s possessions. An authentication certificate says it belonged to Glenn during his childhood, which was in the 1920s and early 1930s. The Ohio native died in 2016 at age 95.
Sackowitz joined the crowds of people who lined up for the estate sale in Potomac, Maryland, for the chance to buy mementos from Glenn’s life. Karen Jones, of Greater Washington Estate Services, said the event was organized by Glenn’s children. The pillowcase was among a roomful of items they identified as belonging to their father.
Sackowitz said he stretched his budget to buy the pillowcase because the embroidered image seemed to predict Glenn’s future career.
“This pillowcase seemed to foretell John Glenn’s future as an astronaut,” Sackowitz said. “I really wanted to buy it and see it preserved for history.”
He hopes to donate the item for display in Glenn’s birthplace of Cambridge, Ohio, which got its first-ever historic marker commemorating its famous son in November. Glenn’s celestial bedding could also go to the John & Annie Glenn Museum in New Concord, Ohio, Sackowitz said. That’s where Glenn and his widow spent their childhoods.