Covering Richard Nixon's triumphant run in 1968 turned out to be my last major assignment as a general correspondent for CBS News. In September of that year, '60 Minutes' made its debut and I began the best, the most fulfilling job a reporter could imagine.
I cannot improve on those spoken for many years by a true legend who preceded me at CBS News. He would say, simply, 'good night, and good luck.'
In making the jump from a local program to the showcase of a coast-to-coast broadcast, Ted Yates and I were determined to maintain the candid, sometimes combative style we'd introduced on 'Night Beat.' But that proved easier said than done.
There's nothing, repeat, nothing to be ashamed of when you're going through a depression. If you get help, the chances of your licking it are really good. But, you have to get yourself onto a safe path.
But I was never, you know, when I see some kids today who are close to their parents, close to their friends... I think it's simply wonderful. I was not a happy kid. Back in those days, I remember the sick, gray days were better. Because when it was sunny I'd feel worse.
If there's anything that's important to a reporter, it is integrity. It is credibility.
As I approach my 88th birthday, it's become apparent to me that my eyes and ears, among other appurtenances, aren't quite what they used to be. The prospect of long flights to wherever in search of whatever are not quite as appealing.
I was so low that I wanted to exit. And I took a bunch of pills, and they were sleeping pills. And at least they would put me to sleep, and maybe I wouldn't wake up, and that was fine.
You're not a nutcase if you want to go see a psychiatrist.
You know, you become crazy. I had done a story for '60 Minutes' on depression previously, but I had no idea that I was now experiencing it. Finally, I collapsed and just went to bed.
Jack Kennedy was one year older than I was, and we attended the same neighborhood school.
I met all these important people and did all these stories, but I always had such excellent producers and assistants. I could show up to interview a world leader or a criminal and they would have things so well prepared anyone could have done it. It wasn't about 'me,' it was about 'us.'
I was copeless. Not just hopeless, but copeless. I tried to keep on working because I was ashamed of acknowledging the fact that I was depressed. You don't use that word.
I went to work when I was a young fellow and I loved what I did. And I just kept working. And when I decided that maybe the time had come for me to quit, I got depressed. What could I do if I didn't work?
My parents came from Russia and suddenly they wound up in Boston, Massachusetts, Brookline, Massachusetts and they felt the sun rose and set on Franklin Delano Roosevelt's backside because he meant so much to them. This was freedom. This was something totally different from the Russia they had left.
All I'm armed with is research.
I did what I felt that I wanted to do. Fairly selfishly. I didn't know my kids as well as I should have.
I don't think I have the face - may have the voice but not the demeanor for an anchor. And I defied it.
I love the urgency of what we do. I like the battles that take place, the jousting.
I never was the story. The story was the story. Period.