Sunday, August 23, 2009

#177 Adult
What are your thoughts on adulthood? What do you want to be when you grow up? Are you scared of being an adult? Have you been forced to be the adult in a relationship? Do you have an adult child who won't grow up? Are you glad to finally be an adult? What do you think?

You knew that Walter Cronkite died? Yeah? No, I didn't find out until 10 days later. I was climbing around the Sangre de Cristo mountains of northern New Mexico at the Philmont Scout ranch and was totally cut off from the outside world; no phone, TV, radio or newspapers. Even though he was 92 years old when he passed, the news of his death stunned me. Thinking about what impact, if any, Walter Cronkite had on my life to cause me to feel sad with his death, I realized that this man was present in my life from an early age through adolescence and into my adulthood. Many dubbed him uncle Walter, and I realized that he was in fact like an uncle to me; just like uncle ED, and uncle Tom. I liked and trusted my uncle Ed and my uncle Tom and I trusted Walter Cronkite, just like most everyone in America did.
In 1964 I thrust myself into adulthood with my volunteering for duty in Vietnam. From then on I began to pay attention to world affairs and as the years flew by my dissatisfaction with the world's state of affairs and my distrust of politicos spiraled to dismal levels. Walter Cronkite was a rock that I knew I could rely on to give me straight scoop. He displayed integrity, calm in the face of disaster, but most importantly he believed in being honest. He told you what was happening and didn't try to entertain you.
Just like my grand children are children of the twitter, facebook, texting generation, and my children were of the Nintendo generation I was of the TV generation. My generation and TV grew into adulthood together. Walter Cronkite was part and parcel of that time period and as such we were exposed to his personal style of adulthood on a daily basis. Over and over, day in and day out we watched Uncle Walter display the qualities that would make us responsible contributing adults within a democratic America and with those values firmly embedded in our brains we too would grow into responsible adults.
In reading the many tributes that were written about Walter after he died I discovered that he had published an autobiography in 1996 "A Reporter's Life." I ordered the book through Amazon and am now 3/4 the way through it.
What was special about Walter Cronkite? He wasn't a Caesar, A great general, a movie star, nor reality show celebrity. He was a man who grew up in the Midwest and had a not unusual childhood. He grew up with dreams, goals and a fair amount of imagination who fell into celebrity literally by being in the right places at the right times and following his dreams. Yes he was a newsman and yes he was a celebrity, and he handled the celebrity with gracious aplomb.
I'm no Walter Cronkite but he set a standard to make anyone who followed his example a credible adult.



Anonymous quin browne said...

yes! walter shaped many of us, i think... to be credible. to be accountable. if walter (or chet or his partner) told us something, we believed it.. knowing it was true.

thanks for this.

i miss walt. more, i miss his morals.

8:33 PM  
Blogger Churlita said...

Nice post. I always thought Walter Cronkite possessed a quiet dignity. You don't see that in people much anymore.

12:51 AM  
Blogger paisley said...

what a nice tribute.. and for all of us that grew up with him he was the first and only voice of then news.. good to see you back on SS rel.. hope you'll be seeing me back again soon as well...

8:13 AM  
Blogger Tammy said...

He is what a newsman ought to be. Wonderful tribute Rel!

9:07 PM  
Blogger Puss-in-Boots said...

I really don't know what I want to be when I grow up...

Walter Kronkite will be forever synomous with a kindly, trusted uncle who used to tell us the news. RIP Uncle Walter.

10:31 PM  
Blogger willow said...

He was at our dinner table every night when I was growing up. He was part of the family. His familiar, comforting voice will always be a part of me.

7:40 AM  
Blogger Dee Martin said...

I can remember falling asleep to the sound of his voice in the living room. Back when the news was the news instead of one long extension of the commercials.

11:09 PM  

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