8.08.2005

Rest in peace, Peter

Nearly 20 years ago, as the freshman editor-in-chief of my itty-bitty college newspaper, I got to have dinner with Peter Jennings and his then-wife, Kati Marton, who had attended Wells for a couple of years and was consequently claimed as an alumna for reasons I can't fathom (no, she didn't graduate from the college -- I wonder where she ended up -- maybe Barnard or somewhere with a bigger name). (GWU, as it turns out; interesting. Also interesting is that she's now married to Richard Holbrooke. Power must be an aphrodisiac. But I digress. What else is new?)

Peter had been the anchorman of choice in my house during high school, and I had a bit of a raving crush on him and his crazy Canadian accent. I admired him tremendously, not least because he was a self-made and self-educated man, like my father. At the time, toodling my way through freshman year, I thought I'd like to be a television reporter and eventual anchorwoman, myself. Back home, on local access cable, I'd done the news from our high school, and someone had made the mistake of telling me I have a good voice and excellent diction. Ah, the dreams of youth.

In any event, my position as editor of the newspaper got me an invitation to dinner at the college president's mansion in Aurora, with about 3 other students, all of whom were seniors and English majors with internships in journalism, where they wanted to end up, professionally. I got to sit next to Peter, somehow, and managed to mostly keep my mouth from hanging open in awe, concentrating on listening and asking not-too-unintelligent questions about his career and his experiences. He talked about being a foreign correspondent vs. anchorman, and about writing his own copy, and about regretting not having finished any formal education, and about his wife's books and how much he admired the human rights work she was doing. A truly nice guy, witty, kind, and warm; I was privileged to meet him, and I'm terribly sad that he has died so soon.
"Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet prince,

And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!"

Rest in peace, Peter.

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