Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Dear Dave,

I am not sure you will remember me from 1976, (and sorry I am not attaching a picture here) but could you pass along a message to the retirees at the lunch tomorrow, if you think they might be interested, that this is a hello to anyone at the luncheon who might remember me (Nancy Roberts as I was then) - I was a secretary to Fred Schutz and Leo Kuranuki from 1976-8. When I came to CBS I had a choice I seem to recall, of a job with 60 Minutes and one with Fred and Leo, and I must have thought the 60 Minutes producers would eat me alive - I was quite an innocent child from what you might call upstate New York (Buffalo). This may have changed the course of my life - not working for 60 Minutes, but also changed it in another way as I had a fabulous experience working with staff in the Technical Maintenance Department.Some of you will remember Patti Williamson who worked for Ed Benford and Leo Kuranuki just before I came in. Patti and I were sharing an apartment on the upper West Side and when she moved to her last non-tech job working for a producer, she gave me a nod to try to get her old job. (She later became a technician herself.) I was not exactly an expert typist and when the typing test was administered to me by a very nice lady in Personnel, she looked at my score and said 'why don't you try again honey' (she thought I was just nervous but actually I did not type much at the time!). I certainly improved my typing speed with the many requisitions for parts to keep the maintenance work going. When I arrived at the office in August 1976 the '76 convention coverage was winding down and Fred Schutz returned to his post from election duties. Fred and Leo were wonderful people to work for, and Leo used to give me a lift uptown on his way home many a time. I don't need to repeat the qualities that made Fred such a memorable person. I did stay in touch with Fred for a few years, while I still lived in New York. I wonder if Agnes is still living as I notice the photos on the Fred Schutz Collection are 'courtesy of Agnes Schutz'. I've read quite a lot of your pages and stories about the technicians at the Broadcast Center and remember so many of the names and faces. It's great you have so much history documented on your webpages and that you share it with each other. There is one story Freddie used to tell about a mummy case with a technician inside that was accidentally revealed on live television. I know Fred and Leo liked to pass along the funny parts about the earlier days. The various groups and their teams and team leaders...the shop, Video maintenance, Audio maintenance, Control, ... I hope I am not forgetting anyone! I remember the many interesting devices located in 'Telecine' and that times were changing fast in the late 1970's - Digital Equipment sent what must have been a prototype video editing machine and I recall Freddie reporting on the testing that the guys were doing with that. There was the new Chyron digital type machine and it's dreamy inventor named Rosen? I remember Dan Rather walking along the hallway with what must have been a kind of tap in the toe of his shoe as you could always hear him coming, but he was so polite and always said 'hello' unlike many news presenters. I recall so many of your group, and especially Al Consiglio, Paul Buda, Neil Curtis, Ernie Lowe, Bob Mueller, Ted Perzetsky, of course Dave Minott (yourself as this email is addressed to you). I remember that in the blackout of '77 Al Consiglio was extremely pleased that he got the power back on in 58 seconds (or was it 56?) and it was a long way down the hallway and then the long flight of stairs to the switch for the backup generator too! I had a wonderful time working at the Broadcast Center and have enjoyed looking at the photo albums on your site. I only regret not writing in earlier before Freddie passed away. What happened to me ? Since leaving CBS as a 22 year old in l978 (whoops) I re-entered university and got a degree in Philosophy at Columbia School of General Studies. While studying in New York I worked at Blackrock for the CBS Television Reading Program director Jack Blessington, who I believe later became a VP for Religious Programming. In 1983 I moved to Cambridge Massachusetts and worked for MIT Press in publishing for awhile, and there got married and had two children. In 1993 we moved to Oxford UK, where I still live with my four children (twins arrived in 1994, and husband departed in 1997!). My eldest is a son of 18 and just finishing high school, the next is a daughter of 16, and then the twins are a boy and girl just turning 14 next week. I work for the University of Oxford as an administrator and live in a village called Old Marston, which is incorporated into the city of Oxford so it has a great combination of country and city. I still miss New York after all these years. I really really miss the men behind the New York deli's who know how to make a sandwich - believe me they are very stingy with the fillings over here!! My son Joseph who is the younger one is very interested in aviation and spends a lot of time showing me various airplanes on the internet - he has done some flying himself with the Air Training Corps here which is like a very junior version of the RAF. Because of this I was very interested to see the list posted on one of the retirees pages about the members of CBS technical staff who had served in the US Army, Navy and Air Force along with their assignments, and something I just read last night on Tony Cucurrulo having been a Navy Seal at Iwo Jima. I was very impressed as I remembered many of the gentlemen on the list had been on staff even in '76 when I was there. I would like to send my best regards to all of you and hope you are all enjoying retirement. Those of you who do the organizing for the CBS retirees deserve a huge thank you for your efforts. One day I hope to re-visit the Broadcast Centre although I can't imagine how I might get in at this point! Yours, Nancy Roberts Higginbotham Old Marston, Oxford, UK

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