Walter Cronkite, Spa, Wellness and a Good Life
By Susie Ellis
Being “of the moment,” I can’t help but weigh-in on today’s headlines which are all about Walter Cronkite’s life and death. Although I never actually met the man who became the most trusted voice of TV news, I feel somewhat connected to him through two people close to me who did get to know him.
The first is my twin sister, Katrine. She met Mr. Cronkite when he was on board the QE2 as a lecturer and she was on the cruise ship managing the Golden Door Spa at Sea. That was in 1986. When I called Katrine this morning to see if she still had the photo I remember seeing of the two of them (memorable because they were both on exercise bikes with their arms on each other’s shoulders), she was able to email it to me in a few quick minutes.
I asked her what she remembered about Cronkite to which she immediately replied, “that he was so kind.” Apparently Mr. Cronkite would work out regularly in the gym on the QE2 while he and his wife were passengers and was always gracious with everyone and more than happy to pose for photos – even with the fitness instructor who was wearing “double legwarmers” at the time – what were we thinking back then?
The other connection with Mr. Cronkite is through my housekeeper. The great gal who cleans my apartment here in New York two mornings a week was also one of Mr. Cronkite’s caregivers these past few years. Although she never betrayed any confidences, it was about 3 weeks ago when she said to me,”he’s not looking good; it may be any day now.”
I remember gasping in horror saying, no! no! bad timing! You see Michael Jackson had just died and that news had swiftly trumped Farrah Fawcett’s death earlier that very same day… and the Hollywood circus was just starting up. Had Walther Cronkite died at about the same time, I am afraid that it might have precluded the fitting tributes his distinguished life deserved.
Fortunately, the timing of Mr. Cronkite’s death turned out to be much like his life – at the right place, at the right time.
Walther Cronkite died yesterday, Friday, July 17th, and all the headlines in the papers and on TV are filled appropriately with rememberances. Barring any other catastrophe, we will at least have a weekend of memories which will allow us to think back to a time when a man’s life could be summed up with such words as trusted, respected, authoritative, competitive, authentic…and yes, kind.
The news doesn’t talk as much about his personal life although I understand he had a very good and lengthy marriage, three children and four grandchildren. He lived to be 92 and although suffering from dementia in the past couple of years, it appears as if the way he led his life – including working out regularly – served him well.
Well, I guess it is fitting to end with the tag line he made famous, “And that’s the way it is.”
However, sadly, it feels more accurate these days to say, “And that’s the way it was.”
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