Veteran journalist Marilyn Berger is not by nature an impulsive person. Her friends describe her as "measured," "very thoughtful," "an intellectual." Yet Berger, now 74, has fallen deeply, passionately -- and instantly -- in love twice in her life, with two strong-willed males who could not be more different from each other.
The first time around the magic moment happened when Berger, then a globe-trotting diplomatic correspondent for NBC, found herself fixed up with Don Hewitt, the brash creator and executive producer of CBS's 60 Minutes. They hit it off from the moment he called to make a first date -- to the point where Hewitt inquired, "If it works out on Thursday, can we have dinner on Friday and Saturday, too?" By the end of that 1976 weekend Berger had found her life's companion. "He was a really good-looking guy, full of vitality -- he laughed a lot," Berger recalls. "We went out for Chinese food and my fortune cookie read: 'You are doomed to be happy in marriage.'"
And indeed she was. Berger, who had been based in Washington, quit her job to be with him. She moved back to New York City, her hometown, and found a new career anchoring public affairs programs. She was 43 when the couple wed (Hewitt was 56), in 1979, a period before the advent of today's fertility technology. "I wanted to be a mother but never connected with the right guy," she says. "By the time I connected it was too late."
I ran across this interesting story from the Ladies Home Journal archives today, though I'm not sure when it was originally published. The piece raises a number of questions: the woman profiled in the story, journalist Marilyn Berger, was too old to adopt under Ethiopian law, and yet became the permanent caregiver for an 8-year-old boy through arrangements not fully explained in the story; Dr. Rick Hodes, who runs a medical clinic in Ethiopia, is apparently the child's legal guardian. Berger is the author of the book THIS IS THE SOUL, which chronicles Dr. Hodes' work in Ethiopia.
The child, Danny, had apparently run away from his Ethiopian mother and stepfather due to abuse, and was suffering from tuberculosis of the spine when Berger met him on the street and took him to the Hodes' clinic for care. So much in this story goes against the conventional wisdom regarding how international adoptions should be arranged, and yet, both Berger and Danny seem to be thriving as a family.