Westchester attorney Lisa Fantino remembers Uncle Walt

As a reporter, I had always aspired to work at CBS, the so-called Tiffany network.  I had worked at the top radio stations in New York City, something that would’ve made most journalists happy.  I had been an anchor at NBC but that still wasn’t enough…..no, it wasn’t until I was hired by WCBS-AM that I felt that I had made it because it was on that first day that I met Walter Cronkite.  I was nervous and excited as I entered Black Rock, CBS’ corporate headquarters on Sixth Avenue, that first day in 1993.  I entered the building feeling like I had finally made it as a broadcast journalist.  I signed into the lobby and entered the elevator and there, right there in front of me was Uncle Walt, the man I had idolized for so long.  I was tongue-tied and all this writer could say was “Good Morning Mr. Cronkite.”  He looked at me with that perpetual twinkle in his eye and asked what I was doing there and I explained that it was my first day, “Well then, welcome to the farm.  Good to have you aboard and go knock ’em dead.”  I’ll never forget that day.  CBS was like a family and Walter Cronkite was like the great grandfather whom we all honored.  They kept him locked away in a suite up on a top floor.  No one would see him except by chance.

Then Uncle Walt wrote his memoirs and by this time I felt like we were old friends.  So I approached his trusted assistant Marlene and requested an autograph.  She invited me into the inner sanctum and asked me to add it to the stack.  I just laughed.  There were piles of books all around his desk, piles of them, floor to ceiling, ……and Uncle Walt signed every one of them, even mine.  If you haven’t read “A Reporter’s Life”  yet, then run and do so for it will not only give you insight into the remarkable life of an incredible man but it will also give you a lesson in history and resilience, as well as explain the lessons learned in war and life, and of a nation in crisis, not too far from where this nation is today.  We will miss you Uncle Walt, all around the farm, all around the universe.  Rest in Peace.

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