I've always had a fascination for astronomy and space, and I used to devour comics and stories related to it. I tried when I was 13 years old to make myself a 6-inch reflecting mirror to make myself an astronomical telescope, patiently grinding one disc of glass over another in my garden, walking around it and making a circular motion with my hands as I fed carborundum powder and water into the discs. Alas, it didn't work, but chance helped me out. While I made a bookcase in school woodwork class, my friend made a wooden tube by steaming thin wood and curling it into a tube intended for a telescope. When it was finished he declined to pay what it would take to keep it, so I bought it instead. I fitted a very long focus 4.5-inch refracting lens at the top, and I had two powerful eyepieces I could fit at the bottom. The result was a telescope that had huge magnification, but little light.
I stationed it in my garden with an altazimuth mount, one that could move in either a vertical or horizontal direction. I could really have used an equatorial mount to track the Earth's rotation, but I couldn't afford one. Given the huge magnification and low light gathering ability, the obvious object to study was the moon. Night after night I looked through it at the moon, studying always the terminator, the point where the sun is rising or setting on the moon and the shadows are most pronounced. Over the course of two or three months I made drawings of the craters, mountains and valleys that I saw, and gradually constructed a map of the moon measuring about 30 inches square. I checked in the library so I could write the names of the prominent features, dreaming that one day I might go to visit them. I never did, though I did watch on television as other people did so.