Sunday, November 02, 2008

Studs Terkel Is Gone

I never paid all that much attention to Terkel, but I've heard him talk now and then. Lately I've listened to him on the Internet even more now that he's died. Well, he had to die some time, didn't he, and he didn't exactly die young. 96 is a pretty good age. I'm sorry he couldn't live to see the end of the Presidential election like he wanted. But, really, there is no good time to die, I'd imagine. He always said that his epitaph would be that "curiosity didn't kill this cat!" As far as I could see, he always had curiosity, though, and it hadn't stopped even in his ninety-sixth year! An amazing and likable man!

He interviewed a lot of "ordinary" people in his years. Some of the people that he interviewed were celebrities, though he said his attraction to them was that they were people he "celebrated" for things he admired about them. Mere "celebrities", he said, were creatures of no particular definition at all. For the same reason, I mention him here as a man to be celebrated more than as a mere celebrity who thus fits into this Category of post! He was pretty much articulate right up to the end. Great men should always live this well, this long!


  1. To this day I am haunted by a vignette from "Hard Times," Turkel's collection of interviews with survivors of the Great Depression.

    There was one from a man who eventually got on with the CCC, and from there became a prosperous government official. But there was a time in his life that he never forgot.

    Before he got on with the CCC, he was on the road somewhere up around South Dakota. He was homeless and hungry, wandering through a small town. He ducked into a mom and pop grocery store and stole whatever he could grab and carry out, like crackers, bread, Vienna sausages. But the storekeeper saw him slip out the door and chased him.

    The man described that, although at the time he was in his late teens, he was so hungry that he was barely strong enough to outrun an old grocer.

  2. My dad worked at the CCC, so I guess your story has a sort of reverberation already going in my brain. I don't think he got that hungry (I hope), but not everyone would tell that particular story to one and all, so I don't really know. Thanks for the reminder.


Abandon hope, all ye who enter here! (At least put on your socks and pants.)