Immigrant Bengalis

A Hundred Miles Away
Sketches from “My Life in the Media” #8

Satya Jeet

It was hardly the interview I had imagined it would be. For nearly a decade I had harbored the secret that I would work for Walter Cronkite on the CBSEvening News. On a bright, early spring morning I was ushered into Ron Tarasoff’s office for that all-important CBS television job interview.

Ron had been a cameraman himself. He had been a part of President Nixon’s media entourage on that historic diplomatic mission that opened the gate to China. Ron had a single question for me. “We have seen your ‘Fire’ documentary from New Haven. It flows like a feature film. Are these ‘actors’ enacting a feature film or is this a real documentation?”

I was floored. I had never even considered the possibility of using actors to re-create a documentary.

Ron was mature enough to know I was for real. We chatted about my experience in film school and how I brought the know-how of feature film making into news photography.  He guessed rightly that news photography was only a stepping stone for me into the world of feature films. He was gracious and he was willing to open that door for me.

Then I did what countless Bangali immigrants have done before me when they are offered their first professional job. I asked to make a quick trip to Calcutta before I started work at CBS Television. I was granted that privilege. Helen and I packed our bags and off we went.

I was told by Ron to just float around the CBS building the first week of my employment. I had been hired not for the Evening News with Dan Rather per se. I was the cameraman for the documentary unit that was being brought into place. I would be shooting the CBS Specials and Public Service shows when they are called for.

The CBS building on West 57th Street had been a slaughter-house well into the 1930s. Cattle were brought down the Hudson on barges and were driven along 57th street to this building. To this day, there are flies on the rafters of the soap opera studios. Everybody I met was very polished and polite in this cavernous building. Surprisingly, several people already knew who I was even before I introduced myself. Finally, someone broke the ice.

“So. Who do you know?” she asked with a twinkle in her eyes.

“Excuse me. Know who, ….. where?” I asked, looking around the room.

A little hesitation but the teasing continued, “I mean, here. At CBS.”

My ‘poor Bengali boy, lost in the woods,’ look, must have given the answer away.

“You must be very talented,” Jennifer said with a chuckle.  

I was quite embarrassed by her compliment. ”You see, this place, CBS, is an acronym for Cousins, Brothers and Sisters. You must know someone to get in. When we completely run out of talent or ability, we bring in someone who knows what they are doing. You must be the real McCoy.”

The mystery to my appointment at CBS was revealed to me over the next few days. Governor Kean of New Jersey, as part of his re-election bid, had called William Paley, the iconic owner of CBS. He asked Paley to produce and air a documentary on the State of New Jersey. I suspect there was a tacit understanding between them that the documentary would show the tremendous progress New Jersey had made under Governor Kean’s able leadership. William Paley was happy to oblige as his Broadcast License was up for renewal with the FCC in Washington, DC.

Following their phone conversation, William Paley’s secretary, June, called the documentary division to set up the production post haste. The phones kept on ringing; nobody answered her call. Infuriated at their audacity, June marched off to the documentary division to give them a piece of her mind.

There was nobody at their desks at the documentary division. In fact, a thin layer of dust covered everything in sight. Having been with her boss for many years, June recalled that William Paley had fired the documentary division when they had produced an anti war documentary during the Vietnam era. William Paley had labeled the producers ‘pinkos’ and shown them the door.

We traveled the length and breadth of New Jersey by car and helicopter for several weeks. We interviewed scores of people from all walks of life. I did my best landscape photography I could muster. Even the ‘Cancer Alley’ along the New Jersey Turnpike near Elizabeth looked gorgeous in the late afternoon light. The documentary I shot was called, “What’s So Funny About New Jersey?”  

‘What’s So Funny About New Jersey?’ was a visual feast. It was complemented by a rich symphonic score. CBS saturated the airways with publicity. The film became a much anticipated event in the state. Our Nielsen ratings soared for the evening.

 The high ratings did the trick. I found myself on a first name basis with several, senior CBS corporate types.

In a short while it became apparent to me that CBS was 90% ‘chums’, holding down cushy jobs. Only 10% of the staff did the real work. As I looked around the building closely, it confirmed that my assessment was quite accurate. What impressed me was the fact that out of that 10% that worked, there was a core group of extremely brilliant and well-informed professionals. At the local CBS Channel 2 News, there was a young woman called Susan Sullivan at the ‘assignment’ desk. She spoke into half a dozen telephones simultaneously. I was told that Susan could call the White House and get connected to the Chief of Staff. She never wore make-up and looked quite disheveled most of the time. What you did not see was the fact that Susan was a Harvard graduate and the daughter of the Chief Justice of the State of New York.

As the days went by, it never ceased to amaze me how ‘off the wall’ my peers were, at least the 10% who did the core work. Returning from lunch, I saw a couple of husky workmen rolling a piano down the hall, moving it from one studio to the other. A colleague of mine, Lee Abrahamian, also returning from lunch, saw the piano being rolled down the hall. She lifted its cover and played an exquisite Chopin waltz as she walked along. Nearing the newsroom, without much ado, Lee closed the piano cover and slipped in through the door. I was aghast!

I found out from a mutual acquaintance, Lee had worked for the New York Symphony before she came to CBS. I was in scary company and watched my Ps and Qs.

It is human nature that it does not take much to become spoiled. It seemed to me that just the other day at KLBK TV in Lubbock Texas, I would go in early to work so I could have free donuts and coffee in the morning. Within a few months at CBS, I was used to croissant and espresso from Grace Balducci every morning. Apart from my salary, I was allotted $75 per diem for lunch when I was on the road. Quite unawares, poached salmon and Chardonnay had become a way of life for me. 

Out of the blue, the executives at CBS were confronted by a situation that hit them in the face. Though I was a small fry in a big pond, I found myself getting caught up in their momentous corporate issues.

CBS has spent millions of dollars in making a five-part miniseries called, ‘The Blue and the Grey’, an epic about the American Civil War. Gregory Peck was cast as Lincoln; he was surrounded by an equally well know cast of Hollywood stars. Barely a month before airtime, the marketing division commissioned a poll to study what the title, ‘The Blue and the Grey’ meant to the average American viewer.

The results were startling. More than 50% of the respondents to the poll did not know what the title ‘The Blue and the Grey’ stood for. A significant percentage could not recall what the American Civil War was about. The bottom line for CBS was the possibility that America may not tune in to this very expensive miniseries, as their target audience did not care about the Civil War. 

It fell upon our documentary division to tell America what the title, ‘The Blue and the Grey’ meant and why they should watch the CBS epic.

With a small crew, we spent a week travelling around Gettysburg, shooting pictorials of the Civil War battlefields. The early morning light lent a poignant touch to silent fields that had seen such carnage at a previous time. We moved to the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia to shoot Gregory Peck introducing our documentary.

I had seen Gregory Peck in western movies as a college student in Calcutta. A handsome man to say the least, he was a star to me and my friends. It was only after I came to the US and saw ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ did I understand the enormous symbol that Gregory Peck was.

I got up at dawn on the fateful morning and went over to the Arlington National Cemetery with my crew and set up the lights and reflectors. Punctually at eight, the limousine with Gregory Peck arrived. For more than a minute I stood with my mouth wide open as the great man walked up to his designated spot.

Gregory Pack knew the script well; he had memorized the lines. He barely needed any make up. Without any great effort, he delivered his lines flawlessly.

I rushed over to thank him for his work. He asked most politely, “Are you satisfied with the take?”

I could not believe for a moment that Gregory Peck was asking me for my approval. “Yes sir, yes sir,” I stammered.

He smiled mischievously and said in that rich baritone voice. “Let’s do another take in case there is a technical hitch in the tape. Shall we?”

I was thrilled to oblige. His second take was just as good. Then he got into his limo and drove away. I stared at the departing limousine, numb from an experience beyond my wildest expectations.

Living and working in New York opened another door for me that I had not anticipated. I met the Bangali community from New Jersey. I was introduced to Dr. Hirak Guha and his wife, Suparna, an accomplished singer of Tagore’s music. In fact, Mrs. Guha taught Tagore music to children at a music school she had established in her home. To celebrate the birthday of Tagore, the school would be performing the Tagore Dance Drama, Tasher Desh (House of Cards). As an extension of my life in the television industry, I was asked to video tape their performance. Without knowing it at that time, I was taking my first steps to re-establish my ties to the Bangali community.

While a life in the media can seem a life of charm, it seems so only from the outside and in hindsight. On a daily basis that life can be very challenging. It is a way of life whereby one lives from crisis to crisis. The eighties were just as much a period of crisis as any other time in America. All of a sudden and without any rationale we were visited by the curse of the AIDS epidemic.

I ran into Jennifer in the cafeteria over lunch and she looked tense. She was the producer for the medical reporter, Earl Ubel.

“You know, we have an AIDS epidemic raging throughout the world. We are giving out as much information as we can but we can’t get a single interview with a patient.”

“And why is that I asked?” without much of a forethought.

She shook her head wistfully and said, “Cameramen are afraid to get close to AIDS patients to shoot an interview.”

“I’m not afraid,” I replied naively and walked away.

The truth is, I was afraid. There was not enough solid information out there about AIDS. All I knew was that it was only possible to contract AIDS through intimate contact or by sharing needles. I checked with my union and I was told I could refuse the assignment to shoot AIDS sufferers on ‘safety’ ground. The strongest man can fight AIDS but buckles under the striking blue eyes of an Irish beauty.

Monday morning, we went over to the Roosevelt hospital.  As advised, I wore yellow rubber gloves, an apron and a mask. In a quarantined section of the hospital, I shot the first AIDS interview America was to see on television.

The eighties was not only a time for AIDS but we were awash with a new plague that was speeding down Main Street, especially in the inner cities. It was cheap and accessible, and was spreading like wildfire. It was called ‘crack’. We geared up to take on this battle.

Late on Friday evening we drove down to lower Manhattan. We positioned ourselves on top of an office building so we could look down on the street and video tape drug dealers in action. The producer for the show, Jane, a reporter on the CBS News, was very helpful and guided me where to look for the shots of the dealers.  Sure enough, I caught all the action on camera. It is only in hindsight that I realize that Jane was so well informed of the whereabouts of the dealers because she was a customer and a drug user herself. The upper echelon of Manhattan high life was not into crack; they did cocaine. It was the ‘in’ thing in café society.

We shot several interviews with reformed addicts of white collar background. Most of the interviewees claimed they had been highly successful businessmen before cocaine got to them. As a result, they lost their businesses, homes and families as their drug of choice took over their lives.

I found their claims a little hard to believe. I was convinced they were painting illusions of past grandeur to make their stories sound interesting. We followed up on their claims with critical investigations as professional journalists are expected to do.

The result of our investigation startled me. Their stories were literally true. Some of our interviewees had been highly successful and well-known people in both the financial and garment business in Manhattan. It was a sad rags-to-riches-to-rags story.

For the last day of shooting the drug documentary we had secured a subject who was willing to let us videotape him snorting ‘coke’, provided we did not reveal his identity. By this time I was more curious than a cat about this ‘divine elixir’. Following the completion of our shoot, I asked the subject if I could try some of the white powder. The subject of our demonstration was more than happy to offer a pinch of cocaine to me. Still wary of the possible effect, I called Helen and asked her to join me.

Helen and I both snorted a little cocaine and waited around to feel the results. Nothing happened. We were disappointed. We thanked our host, called a taxi and left for dinner.

In the middle of dinner in Chinatown, almost simultaneously, Helen and I looked at each other across the table and broke out in smiles. We both felt euphoric. The cocaine finally was having its effect. It was not a sudden bolt or surge. We both felt a kind of bliss, almost a spiritual sense of calm.

Monday morning I was eager to share the story of our ‘cocaine’ experience with my colleagues. The first person I ran into in the documentary division was Lynn Statts, the Girl Friday on the floor. Lynn was aware of the ongoing documentary production about street drugs. ‘I bet I am going to freak her out,’ was my attitude.

As I recounted with great flourish my experience from the previous Friday evening, Lynn kept sliding down her chair. I became somewhat concerned. Then she started to cry softly. Have I said something hurtful, I wondered?

Lynn slowly got up, came around her table and hugged me tightly. She whispered softly into my ear, “Satya, please don’t do it. Just don’t.”

It took her some time to control the tears and get back to her desk. Weak from her emotional outburst, she whispered, “Satya, we are all coke heads on this floor. We get paid Friday evenings. We party all weekend and by the time Monday morning rolls around, we are broke.”

I was aghast. Lynn continued, “You and Bill are the only straight people here. You guys shoot beautifully and the rest of us depend on you to make our living, in post production. Don’t screw it up for us. If you go down, you will be taking a whole lot of people down with you. Please stop.”

Her pain and panic was still showing in her eyes. “It will get to you like it got us if you let it.”

I took a few steps back from her, did an abrupt turnaround and headed down the hall to get a cup of coffee.

I had not seen this conversation coming. Nothing in my Bangali experience had prepared me for this exchange. My colleagues at the documentary unit were the best America had to offer. They had graduated from the finest colleges, spoke French, knew Latin, played the oboe or flute, did intramural lacrosse and had spent their junior years in college at an archeological excavation in Ethiopia or gallery in Florence. Lynn said, my colleagues were so broke by Sunday evening that they whored themselves the rest of the week, just for dinner. Their life, which had seemed like a shining star a few short years earlier, was a caricature of the dream of writing the great American novel.  

Within the hallowed grounds of CBS Television, the terra firma beneath the camera I held with such pride seemed shaky. Had I not studied and worked diligently to join the flagship American network? How could my colleagues throw away their lives on an impulse, I asked myself repeatedly. Who were these people and what was their real need, I wondered?

There was a remarkable change at home and that was the saving grace. Helen had established a small non-profit called City Harvest. It struck the right chord for its time. Several kind and well meaning New Yorkers joined forces with her. City Harvest trucks picked up extra foods from restaurants and grocery stores to supply the food kitchens that fed the homeless of New York. Helen became a much sought after person; she was a local celebrity. We became known as a ‘power couple’.

For all the good City Harvest did, I never quite fit in with the new group of friends we now entertained. These were mostly the children of the rich, the old money, the trust fund kids. They had attended Choate Rosemary and Harvard on the strength of their family names. They held fund-raisers for City Harvest in their plush apartments on Park Avenue that they rarely lived in. They were sincere when they asked us to visit them at their country homes up the Hudson Valley or winter with them on their private islands in the Mediterranean. For reasons unknown to me, I held people with privilege suspect.

Ron’s decision to hire me paid off for him too. After a year of very strenuous work, two of the documentaries I had shot for CBS were awarded Emmys, our industry’s award for excellence. While this award was a cause to celebrate, it sent me from the pot to the fire. Producers from other departments at CBS asked me to shoot for them. I was being overloaded. In an effort to get some order into my schedule, I asked Lynn if I could have some help.

She looked around the floor and could not find anybody to volunteer. They were busy with their own productions, she said.

I recalled a young woman at the end of the hall, who sat in her cubicle and seemed hardly to do very much.

“Can I have that pleasantly overweight, young woman on my team? She looks quite intelligent to me.”

Lynn’s face lit up, her eyes grew round like saucers. Then she started to smile. “You are so silly, Satya” she said. “You can’t have her. She is Rockefeller’s girl.”

The woman could have been one of the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall but she hardly fit the type. “What is Rockefeller’s girl?” I was curious to know.

Lynn leaned over close to me and lowered her voice conspiratorially, “She was with Governor Rockefeller when he had the heart attack and passed away.”

“You mean, good ole Rock was doing her when he got bounced?”

Lynn nodded knowingly and burst out laughing. “Now you are catching on, India Boy,” she said and winked.

I just could not imagine how that pleasantly fat little Megan down the hall had been the mistress of the Vice President of the United States! Our Megan M was an earlier version of Monica L and her job at CBS was given to her as ‘hush’, when ole Rock died in her loving embrace.

Manhattan had a life of its own that I could not have guessed before I got there. Working in the media was the passport that vaulted me into the choicest of places. When my nieces wanted to see the Michael Jackson concert at the Meadowlands, the tickets were only a phone call away. Ithzak Perlman played a benefit concert for City Harvest at Carnegie Hall. Studio 54, still a night-life Mecca, sent limousines on Friday evenings to CBS. Out of the blue I found myself at the same table with Brooke Shields and David Bowie. The eighties were a time when airplane stewardesses were still in awe of network cameramen as we traveled around the US.

“Did you see last night what the Japs did? They are savages, I’m telling you.” Tom Scalzo said at lunch on Tuesday.

I did not know what he was talking about. Tom was known for frequent outbursts. What came in from one ear I let go through the other.

“Man, those butchers would not stop at anything. The Japs were out to mow down our women and children along with the men.”

Tom went on talking about the CBS miniseries ‘Midway’ that had aired the previous night. I did not want it known that I did not come close to a television set once I got out of the CBS building.

“Man, those Japs were monsters, I tell you,” Tom remarked over lunch on Wednesday.

Somebody from the next table shouted back, “You can’t trust those pricks with slit eyes. Kill them all, I say.”

Maybe there was something going on I needed to know.  I made a note to remind myself to watch TV that evening.

I completely forget about TV by the time I reached home. Thursday, at lunch, the entire cafeteria seemed on edge.  “No wonder we nuked them. They deserved it!” was the consensus.

I came late to work on Friday. Mid-morning, there was a crowd around the water fountain. There were smiles all around. “We got them and we got them good,” was the common feeling.

“The way I see it, the guy-in-the-street kind of Jap was happy we got them. Look what we did for them. After the war, we Yanks helped them build a civilized country.”

“They are doing OK now,” threw in Murray, “but we have to make sure they don’t turn on us again.”

Across the newsroom floor, in a small alcove, the bell went off on the AP wire machine, indicating the arrival of an important piece of news. Nobody at the water fountain showed an initiative to walk over and check.

I had no interest to participate in the office gossip; I trudged on over. There was a single line of news in the teleprinter. “The House has passed the largest defense budget in the history of the United States. The Senate is expected to follow.”

I looked at ‘the gang that could not shoot straight’ continue to gab by the water fountain. They were still gloating over a victory at sea that took place forty years ago. I had an inner voice tell me there had to be a connection with the newsprint in my hand and their sense of pride. I ran down the hall and up the stairs to Peter Temple’s office. He was the V.P. of Programming at CBS and William Paley’s ’blue-eyed boy’.

I did not let Peter’s secretary stop me at the door and barged into his plush, wood paneled office. I held up the AP wire copy. Peter looked up at me calmly and said, “Shhhhhh….”

Ronald Reagan had approached William Paley almost two years earlier and asked him to make a mini-series on the Battle of Midway, an epic battle on the Pacific front.  He told Paley that as the President of the United States, he would need his help to get his defense budget through the house. Paley had obliged.

Huddled under their covers every night, the entire nation watched a much hyped-up account of a war in the Pacific and believed the drama as their own history.  There was no immediate threat to the United States but a patriotic fervor gripped the nation.  America was ready to take up arms. Reagan’s defense budget sailed through both houses of Congress without a hitch.

I had never been a keen political person but the airing of the mini-series Midway triggered a myriad of mixed emotions in me. I knew I had been had. Without meaning to be so, I had become a part of a much larger con game. This life in media was not what I wanted for myself.  I had to get away.

Getting away was easier said than done. I had a job at CBS that was creative at a certain level and paid very well. I held a position that most people would give up anything to have. Where could I go, I asked myself?

I still had the Bangali habit of throwing myself into books when nothing else works. I read Bibhuti Bhusan and Tara Shankar’s poignant accounts from rural Bengal. I am going to visit these places, I decided.

The visit to Lavpur put me in touch with feelings that had been dormant in me for decades. Back in New York, on quiet evenings, I worked on a screenplay called ‘Sometimes Near, Sometimes Far’. The screenplay was neither nostalgic nor sentimental. (In fact, the narrative foreshadowed the Nirbhaya tragedy that followed a generation later.) A couple of major Hollywood studios expressed an interest in my work.

My responsibilities at CBS hardly held my interest. It was not fair to hold down the job when my heart was not in it any longer. As a way of saying good-bye to my friends I went to the Christmas party.

Jennifer asked me what I had been up to and I told her the truth.

“Let’s get away from this party. I want to hear more about your film.”

I had not anticipated that I would end up in her richly appointed apartment to share my vision. This was old money. She threw open the heavy curtains and was bathed in the light from the billboard on Columbus Circle.

“I know your country is very beautiful. In this concrete jungle, we just have to pretend, this is moonlight over Manhattan.”

And we did.

The first thing my audio man, Dwight Brugo said when I ran into him on Monday morning was, “So….. You got Uncle Bill’s girl.”

It was too late to play stupid. He was at the Christmas party and saw me leave with Jennifer. I stood my ground. I felt I had to take responsibility.

“And who is this uncle of yours, Dwight?” I wanted to know.

Dwight grinned ear to ear. “You know…….  Uncle Bill. William Paley.”

A bomb went off in the back of my head. The enormity of my intrusion hit me like a ton of bricks. William Paley was one of the most powerful men in America. He could have me killed and my body dumped in the Hudson in a coffin full of concrete and nobody would know. I must have turned pallid in the blink of an eye.

“Don’t worry, Satya. She was last year’s flavor. He met her in Japan and brought her back. Since then, he has made other trips. I think he went to Brazil last summer.”

The negotiations for the film went on and on. I made several trip to California. It dawned on me that the executives in California and I did not speak the same language. There was a wide chasm between people like me who came from an art background and the bean counters in cushy Hollywood offices. The project kept getting delayed. Deep down in my heart I had to admit, I was not leaving CBS and New York because I was afraid to leave Jennifer.

She was not a pushover either.  Jennifer was fluent in Japanese and a scholar of the Far East. She had met William Paley in Tokyo. He had brought her back to New York with the promise of a ‘correspondent’ position on the CBS News. The promise had not borne fruit. Jennifer was from Perrysburg, Ohio, the heiress of the Perry fortune. Her great grandfather had made a bundle selling supplies to Union troops during the American Civil War. Jennifer wore designer clothes and had custom perfumes sent to her from Paris.

Time and again, in the richly appointed nest, I had to ask myself in the middle of the night what I was doing there. I was supposed to be a happily married man.  Deep within my soul, something stirred uneasily. There was a lack of balance in my life and I could not figure a way out for myself. I had read many scholarly books but did not know how to address the vagaries of the human heart. I was addicted to her.

I looked at my colleagues on the documentary floor with greater tolerance now. Their addiction was no different from mine. We were each trying to cover up for a void in our lives.

Jennifer was perhaps a touch more optimistic about my abilities than I was.

“Would you like me to ask Uncle Joe to cover the budget for your film?” she asked quite casually.

I was thrown aback. What is she talking about, I wondered?

“You know, …… Uncle Joe, you have met him. He is our family lawyer. He can cover the budget and you will be able finish your film and get back to New York by next spring.”

I felt my temper rising. Her frivolous remarks seemed outrageous.

“I know you will pay him back. Hey, we may be rolling in dough for all I know,” she added with her high pitch chuckle.

A loud alarm bell went off in my head. She is trying to buy me off with her trust fund!

“No, I don’t want your uncle Joe to cover the budget,” I screamed and thumped the wicker table hard with my fist. The china rattled and almost fell to the floor.

She gasped aloud and raised her hands to her neck in a protective gesture. Her eyes grew moist. She slumped back in her chair.

The deed was done and I could not take it back. My fierce Bangali sense of propriety had deemed that I was not for sale. It did not occur to me, Jennifer was offering all she had, because without me, she too felt a void in her life.

By the time I boarded the Air India plane at Kennedy Airport I knew I had said good-bye to my life in the media. I had been a soldier in someone else’s war and wounded the wrong person in the battle. It is known that girls who love soldiers learn early to look fashionable in black. Soldiers cannot help but make the girls cry but God still counts their tears. I downed a couple of gin and tonics but they were not enough to calm my nerves. Other passengers ate their biriyani and slipped blissfully into their sleep. I tossed and turned in my seat.

I opened my carry-on bag and saw a book I had meant to read. The cabin was dark. I wondered if I should turn on the reading light but decided against it. It would not be fair to disturb the happy dreams of my fellow passengers on their journey to India and their loved ones.

The book was a collection of poetry by Robert Frost. As I thumbed through the pages, a poem jumped out at me. It was called The Wind and the Window Flower.

In the faint light I made out the words on the page.

"Lovers, forget your love
    And list to the love of these, 

She a window flower

And he the winter breeze."

I felt a faint shiver and reached up to shut the air-conditioning vent. It was closed already. I pulled the blanket tighter around my shoulder.

"He was the winter wind
    Concerned with ice and snow,

Dead weeds and unmated birds

And little of love could know."

The plane started its initial descent into Heathrow and the sound of the engines tapered down. I turned on the reading light.

"Perchance he half prevailed
    To win her for the flight,

From the fire-lit looking-glass 
    And warm stove-window light."

The stewardess walked down the aisle to prepare us for landing. A few people were starting to stir in their seats. I could not stop reading.

"But the flower leaned aside 
    And thought of naught to say,

And morning found the wind
    A hundred miles away."

I drew up the shade in the window and looked out. A pale light was bringing in the dawn over the Irish Sea and the waters below us looked cold indeed.


The End

(This is the final installment of the series "My Life in the Media")


(Posted June 1, 2015)

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