For a few hours last week, a visitor to lower Manhattan might have thought it was 1962 all over again. There was the crowd, estimated at 500,000, cheering the returning spaceman. There, waving from the backseat of a convertible, was John Glenn, the first American to orbit the earth. And there by his side was his wife, Annie, who had been with him the last time he was driven up the 16-block stretch of Broadway called the Canyon of Heroes. That was 36 years ago, right after his solo flight on Friendship 7. "He's wanted to go on every flight since then," says Annie. Finally, at 77, Glenn got his chance, spending nine days on the space shuttle Discovery. Now the retiring, four-term U.S. senator and ex-fighter pilot was taking his victory lap and was clearly awed by the thunderous reception. "I don't know how many times you get to do a ticker-tape parade," he said afterward, "but this is beyond anything I ever thought would happen." Adds Annie: "John has just been taken aback by the intense outpouring of love and pride."
After New York's welcome, which included having Glenn unveil the 12-foot-tall star that will sit atop the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, he and Annie headed back to Houston. Doctors there will test Glenn, the oldest man ever to go into space, to gauge the aftereffects of his flight. When that is all done, the Glenns will get into Annie's late-model Caddy—and take to the road, driving to their home in Bethesda, Md. They will not make it in time for Thanksgiving with their children and grandchildren. "John and I will just be together someplace on the road. I'm planning to have turkey," says Annie. "It's about time I can take him back as my own."
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