Monday, November 4, 2013
Walter and Betsy Maxwell Cronkite
Today is the birthday of one of America's most honored news broadcasters, Walter Cronkite.
When I was in sixth grade, my teacher brought in the school’s only television set so our class could watch the Gemini XII mission reenter the atmosphere and splash down. It was amazing enough that we were allowed to watch TV, but what amazed me even more was Miss Hughes.
We all called her “Miss Hughes Sixth Grade” to differentiate her from her sister, “Miss Hughes Fifth Grade”. She was an older woman, passionate about Ancient History, but seeming to be beyond other passions to my eleven year old mind.
The news anchor who broadcast the splashdown of Gemini XII that day was, of course, Walter Cronkite. I don’t remember any of the news surrounding the NASA mission, I only remember being completely astonished when Miss Hughes uncharacteristically exclaimed, “Oh, I just love Walter Cronkite!”
love Walter Cronkite, and Walter Cronkite loved and cherished Betsy for nearly
65 years of marriage. Here is their “how we met” story. America
Walter and Betsy met in 1936 in
while both were working at the KCMO radio station. Betsy was an advertising
writer. Walter said in an interview with PBS, "She was one of the most
beautiful people I ever saw in my life. ... I saw her for the first time ...
coming down the hall ... and I fell in love before I even knew her name, or
what she did, or if whether I would ever see her again ... I was paralyzed in
wanting to meet this lady ... She worked there a week before I introduced
myself ... She was so precious that I didn't dare make any mismove." Kansas City, Missouri
No “mismoves” were made and the couple was soon married. Although Betsy is reputed to have been 45 minutes late to the ceremony, Walter remained steadfast as the organist played “I Love You Truly” many times before the bride arrived. Apparently the constant reminder worked.