Walter Cronkite and my family

August 3, 2009

 

There has been a litany of great television programs and written words about the late, great Walter Cronkite, and well there should be. He was a hero of mine growing up because he was a journalist’s journalist. But it was later in life that I learned of his generosity when my father died in 2005.

Mr. Cronkite has a summer home on Martha’s Vineyard and my brother-in-law has been the property’s caretaker for years.

 Four years ago, this September, my dad, who had retired to the Island with my mom, passed away after an 11-month battle with cancer. Although Mr. Cronkite had never met my father, when my brother-in-law asked if we could use the home for some out-of-town family members, he said, “Absolutely. Whatever you need, just let me know.” The Friday night before the funeral, a small group of family and friends gathered for a dinner at his house — a lovely, yet casual, easy-to-feel-comfortable-in home. Six relatives stayed there for the weekend.

I never got to meet Mr. Cronkite, nor thank him for his generosity. Sure we could have somehow made due and gathered elsewhere for a dinner, and perhaps broke out a few more cots, but that’s not the point.

His simple act of kindness for a man he had never met speaks volumes. He contributed something special at a time of loss, which is indeed priceless.

Thank you Walter Cronkite — for everything.