I’ve had Katie Couric’s memoir, Going There, on my to-be-read shelf for quite a while. It’s a heavy hardcover book, though now a paperback version is available.
I knew of Katie — her first husband’s premature death and her resulting advocacy on behalf of cancer and early screenings. I knew of her time on the morning show Today, and her historic role as the anchor of the CBS Evening News.
The book goes there.
But it goes much deeper than what I already knew.
It gives readers a chance to see things from another vantage point. What is it like to witness a historic event, 9/11 for instance, and then have to report on it while simultaneously trying to process the horror and make sure your loved ones are safe?
Katie Couric goes there, too.
There are so many moving passages, so many “wow” scenes. But some of the parts that most touched me were somewhat unexpected.
“I called the reporter at the Washington Post who’d edited my father’s obituary. ‘I wanted to let you know my mom died, and I’d love to have an obituary for her,’ I said.
“‘Well what did she do?’ he asked. ‘Tell me about her.’
“The question caught me by surprise.
“‘She did everything,’ I replied. ‘Raised four kids, who all went on to be very successful people. She was the heart and soul of our family. She was ahead of her time, volunteering at Planned Parenthood. She worked at Lord and Taylor in the gift department; she arranged flowers for weddings.’
“I’ll never forget the sound of silence on the other end.
“That’s when it really hit me, how undervalued mothers are in our society, especially the full-time kind. I was incensed that somehow my mom’s accomplishments, her amazing life, were deemed not worth writing about.”
“When all is said and done, though, I am my mother’s daughter, becoming more like her by the minute: when I neatly peel a pear and present the girls with the tidy slices on a china plate, or when I fix them lunch and declare, ‘A sandwich always tastes better when someone else makes it for you.’ Or when one of my children feels slighted or wounded, and I rear up like a Kodiak bear on its hind legs, ready to maul whoever’s crossed her. My mom may be gone, but her essence is very much alive in me.”
“Sometimes I’ll post a video in Instagram of me showing off my garden’s bounty — makeup-free, bedhead, still in my pajamas.
“Once someone commented, ‘Wow, she got old.’
“And all I could think was Aren’t I lucky?”
“Everyone has a story. I encourage all of you to preserve yours so that it can be cherished by those you love for years — even generations— to come.”