We were able to get access to our Country Club for the interview and the crew loaded in at about 7:30 the next morning and by 10AM they were about ready to shoot and we were asked to show up for sound checks and all. Pretty heady stuff for folks like us. Then as we were talking to Justin, this pretty dapper fellow walked up behind us, shoved out his right hand and said: “Hi. I’m Brokaw.” Gosh, I must say that it was almost surreal that Tom; our Walter Cronkite was here in Crystal Lake to talk to a couple of kids who just wanted to give a guy a job and help restore his self respect and probably some of our own.
His first question was: “Where’s Charles” and it was obvious that they had some history together by looking at how Tom scanned the room for the guest of honor who hadn’t arrived yet from the hotel. He sat across from Sue and me and we just talked about the club and how our business works and he told us about having an old Ford on the market that he never drove anymore. All the while, we were hearing the cameramen and sound techs talking in the background and as the pitch increased, I knew we were close to the interview beginning.
Then as if on cue, the kibitzing stopped and Tom started asking questions without a note card or teleprompter. He was so prepared that I was frankly caught off guard. He was the consummate professional that we all know him to be and before you knew it, it was over. After we were done, Tom was showing us pictures in his Blackberry of Majorca, Spain where he’d just flown in from and he was thumbing through photos from where he had been biking just the day before. We talked about the Daley’s, Chicago politics and then almost if on cue, Tom’s face lit up as Charles entered the room. It was obvious that Charles and Tom had an affection for each other and as Charles was interviewed, Tom seemed happy that Charles was a changed man from the last time they saw each other.
With the interview finished, Tom signed several pictures for Charles, three books for Sue and I and he was off to go bone fishing on an island in the Bahamas. The man who chronicled “The Greatest Generation” was gone.