New in the collection: NC astronaut on pinback

Pinback button featuring a photo of female astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir.

“There were plenty of emotional moments that [Christina] Koch didn’t expect, especially when she looked down at Earth and saw a thin line of land jutting into the Atlantic that she could follow up the mouth of the New River to her hometown and her home state.

” ‘The biggest surprise I had was how amazing it was to look down and see North Carolina,’ Koch says. ‘I thought it would be kind of neat, but it had a deeper impact on me to see all the places that formed my memories, the place that formed me, to see the place where all the people who supported me and my dream to becPinback button featuring a photo of female astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir.ome an astronaut lived.

“ ‘It was a profound, perspective-changing moment that I was unprepared for.’ ”

— From “Space, the Final Frontier” by Tim Peeler at NC State News (Jan. 31, 2023)

NC State alumna Koch (left) and Jessica Meir made history by completing the first ever all-female spacewalk.

Hushpuppy Corporation of America, R.I.P.

“In 1948, an entrepreneur named Walter Thompson from the tiny coastal town of Swansboro, North Carolina, decided to take hushpuppies nationwide. He concocted a ready-mix blend of cornmeal, flour, and seasoning, packaged it in pasteboard tubes, and branded it Thompson’s Fireside Hushpuppy Mix. ‘Just add water,’ the label promised. ‘A delightfully different Southern hot bread.’ It sold for 30 cents a can.

“Thompson ambitiously named his company ‘The Hushpuppy Corporation of America.’ He struck deals with distributors throughout the South, but his big score was landing John R. Marple & Co. of Westfield, N.J., which became the national distributor for Thompson’s Fireside Hushpuppy Mix and promoted it through a series of newspaper and radio ads.

“Thompson got out of the business just a year after launching it, selling the Hushpuppy Corporation of America to several investors, who moved it to the larger town of Jacksonville, North Carolina. They kept Thompson’s Fireside Hushpuppy Mix on the market for at least two more decades. The Hushpuppy Corporation of America was purchased around 1970 by House-Autry Mills of Four Oaks, North Carolina, which still sells two varieties today: Original Hushpuppy Mix and Hushpuppy Mix with Onion.”

— From “The Real History of Hushpuppies” by Robert Moss at Serious Eats (Aug. 10, 2018)

It’s not easy being Gastonia (or Garner, Leicester….)

“Don’t feel bad, Gastonia. Every town has a little sister to pick on.

“In Raleigh they poke fun at….”

— From “Does Gaston County have an image problem?” by Adam Orr in the Gaston Gazette, Jan. 24 (h/t, John L. Robinson)