Friday, November 20, 2009

Remembering Walter

                 Obama delivers eulogy at Lincoln Center in Sept.

    Walter Cronkite died this past summer, and with that, so did a major piece of my history. I had known him for many years, both as a subject of whom I had photographed for various article through the years, but also as a personal friend. Back in my hippie days, he and his wife showed up at one of our "pot luck" cookouts up in Gay Head. To my left were my hippie friends passing weed, and to my right was Walter carrying on some weighty conversation with the likes of John Updike. He always seemed to fit right in! He even hung out with Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead (who played at his memorial).
     Years later he fell passionately in love with my sister Joanna, shortly after his wife had passed. Joanna actually had sold them their apartment in NYC, in her role as real estate broker, in the early 90's. Joanna and he were inseperable for the last four years of his life, and we became part of  his extended family. Long into the summer nights on the Vineyard we'd chat about world events and be regaled by his great war stories. Not only were his remarks wise and learned, but his casual one - liners were real knee slappers - totally unexpected witty exclamations when least expected.

Special evening with Walter at our home in 2007

    I was invited to his incredible Memorial Service in NYC at Lincoln Center last September, and was moved to tears upon several occasions. Walter gave me many memorable gifts through the years, but his parting shot put me over the top. I finally got a chance to photograph our President, after having failed so miserably weeks before while he vacationed here. The photo I wound up with, having smuggled my camera in to the carefully secured event, shows the unique perspective I have about Walter. Here our current President is fairly miniscule in the shot, and Walter, all knowingly, beams pleasantly on a much larger scale. And that's just the way it was meant to be!

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