Miss Baker, Space Monkey

The gravestone outside the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, frequently has bananas placed on it.

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The stone is a memorial to a squirrel monkey who in 1959 was one of the first two animals that were launched into space by the United States and safely returned. The monkey purchased at a pet shop in Miami, Florida, was named Miss Baker due to its docile manner during testing and monitoring to ensure its suitability to the environment of space.

Miss Baker wore a helmet lined with rubber and chamois leather plus a jacket for the launch. A respiration meter was affixed to her nose with model cement, and she was fitted into a snug capsule of shoebox size insulated with rubber and fiberglass. Life support was an oxygen bottle with a pressure valve, and lithium hydroxide to absorb exhaled carbon dioxide and moisture. One cannot imagine the terror that animal endured.

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On May 28, 1959, Miss Baker and her companion Miss Able rocketed to an altitude of 300 miles for a 16-minute flight which also included 9 minutes of weightlessness. The capsule was recovered near Puerto Rico.

Thereafter Miss Baker lived at the Naval Aerospace Medical Center in Pensacola, Florida until 1971 when she was moved to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville where she entertained museum visitors.

Miss Baker died of kidney failure in 1984 at a clinic at Auburn University after attaining the record for oldest living squirrel monkey.

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Old Pentland Kirkyard

Just back from Scotland where I discovered this ancient graveyard on the outskirts of Edinburgh: Old Pentland Cemetery, Damhead, Midlothian.
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This cemetery was once home to a 13th century church which served the parish. A small watch house (a guard house to prevent grave robbing) inside the gates contains two stones known as the Arnold stones discovered in 1856 by Thomas Arnold. Chiselled into the stones are a Fleury cross, a calvary cross base and a sword. The cemetery is owned by the Gibsone Trust.
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Within the only mausoleum on the grounds is a plaque with two angels flanking the Gibsone family crest and a dedication inscribed: Sacred to the memory of the late Sir John Gibsone of Pentland Bart who died March 1781 aged 48? Years. He was endowed with every virtue which became the Christian, the Gentleman, and the Scholar and died universally respected and lamented.
He married May 1774, Henrietta, eldest daughter of James Watson of Saughton and Lady Helen Hope who died 8th of March 1803 aged 63 years. This is erected by their only child Mrs. Helen Gibsone of Pentland.
Also in memory of Mrs. Helen Gibsone of Pentland only daughter and heiress of the above Sir John Gibsone who died 24th October 1843 In her 69th year.
And in loving remembrance of Jack Gibsone, Laird of Pentland, who died 30th December 1992, aged 84 years, a true gentle man.

Many of the inscriptions on the headstones have been eroded due to the weather or completely obliterated.

Erected to the memory of Andrew Finlayson late Mason at Loudon Burn who died the 8th October 1811, aged 55 years.
Also lies here Anne Finlayson his mother who died the 16th March 1755, aged 61 years and Andrew Finlayson his father who died 12 of November 1787 , aged 50 years.
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Here lies Robert Umpherston tenant in Pentland who died March 2nd 1624 aged 31.
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Here lies the dust of McJohn McNeil preacher of the gospel at Loanhead who died Dec 1702? in the 66 year of his age. A ? adherent to the covenanted testimony of the Church of Scotland in principle in practice and ? witness against ………..
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The corps of Charles Brown who departed this …1661…..
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Here lies Archibald Grieve preacher of the gospel licensed by the Reformed Presbytery at Peebles , June the 7th and who died at Pentland much lamented Oct 3rd 1760, aged 26 years.
How soon this rising star did disappear He fell the church did mourn and friends did dear.
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Apparently women did not outlive their husbands in the 17th and 18th centuries as evidenced by the following markers.

Here lies James Pennycook shepherd and tenant in Leaps who died in Pentland Oct 14, 1761, aged 83 years.
Also his first spouse Janet Baillie who died Oct 1710. And Marion Hodge his next spouse who died April 13th, 1732, aged 46 years.
Also two of his children Isobel and Elisabeth who died in their infancy.
Likewise his grandchild James Grinton who died March 1755 in the 8th year of his age.
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1793 Here lies interred the body of John Waterston who died June 16, 1792, aged 79 years. He was first married to Katharine Lumsdain by whom he had two children James & Janet Waterston, and afterwards to Jean Graham who died without issue. This stone was erected by James Waterston his son.
8 feet square of ground belongs to this stone
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This stone was erected by James Barrowman Smith Reid Combs to the memory of Isabell Fowler his spouse who died Dec 15, 1788, aged 43 years.
Also Margaret Carens his second spouse who died March 18, 1806 aged 47 years.
Also four of his children who died young.
Also two of his grandchildren Isabell Simpson who died March 5 1810, aged 7 years and Jean Barrowman who died August 17, 18??…
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In memory of Isabella Thomson wife of Charles Robertson, Bilston Inn died 6th February 188? Aged 43 years and of the above Charles Robertson died at Silverburn 7th April 1906 aged 69 years.
Also his son Hugh Lamond died 12th April 1919 aged 34 years and his granddaughter Alison died 7th October 1897 aged 10 months.
Mary Meldrum his 2nd wife died 5th February 1921 aged 77
Also Colour Sergeant Alexander Robertson 98th Regiment and Catherine Robertson his sister who lie buried in St. Cuthberts Churchyard.
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