A week later, a telegram arrives.

Called four times unsuccessfully, please call me at 326 1212. After five o’clock call 677 5024.

Robert Anderson Time Inc.

I’m ecstatic and jump up and down several times before calling back. On  Friday the 9th of August, I am on TWA flight to Chicago. Wouldn’t you know?  The traffic controllers are on strike. They have adopted the disruptive GO SLOW tactic. The plane takes off on time. But we circle the Chicago skies above lake Michigan waiting for the permission to land. It takes an hour and a half before we get ours and then we sit on the ground for another hour to get the gate to disembark. Until then we sit inside the plane having come standstill on the runway, sweltering in the summer heat. Robert Anderson is to interview me at the airport over a lunch. He has been waiting there since 11:30. It is after two when I finally get to put my feet on solid ground.

‘First of all, let’s go get something to eat and drink.’

I concur. We walk over to the Seven Continents and order drinks. For an airport restaurant, it has a certain flair with its panoramic view of the airfield with planes landing, taxing and taking off. It’s expansive and very tastefully put together with the raised gallery and a long bar – the dining room a couple of steps lower and the tables placed by or in clear view of the huge floor to ceiling glass walls. I’m impressed.

When looking back, that was the toughest interview I’ve ever had. Bob Anderson is impeccably dressed in his navy blue Mohair suit and a crisp white shirt with red tie. He wears very short crew cut and has a set of intensely inquisitive eyes, he looks very conservative. He also gives an impression of a cultivated executive who likes to play it big, but could be very considerate and sympathetic at the human level. The most striking feature about him is  the way he rotates his head from the left to right when he talks, as if mounted on a revolving pivot. His eyes follow the motion and even the words come rolling out of his mouth instead of in a straight line.

He doesn’t ask any technical questions, neither does he talk about what the nature of my work would be, if hired. He asks me a stream of questions that don’t have anything to do with the job, but those answers bring out my attitude towards life, towards the day-to-day things and my opinion of what I thought of the way of living in Europe and in America and why. He asks my opinion on different magazines and their print quality, especially that of Life when compared with Look and the European magazines of the same genre. It isn’t difficult for me to answer his questions. The books and magazines have always been my biggest passion. I don’t only buy and look at them, I closely study them as I page through and I have an opinion on almost all of them. This of course impresses him very much, even though my opinion of Life’s print quality isn’t that great. He would ask me short questions needing elaborate answers. In the meanwhile he has finished his T-bone steak, and my chicken breast is getting cold. By now, I am absolutely famished and on the verge of feeling even a bit weak.

‘Do you mind Mr. Anderson if I finished eating before I answer your next question?’ It just rolls out of my mouth. I don’t think about it. I am just being myself.

‘Oh, I am so sorry! Of course.’ He is even a bit embarrassed.

I finish my meal. I am feeling better now. Bob orders an after dinner drink, I order another Heineken. The interview resumes.

‘I think you have fantastic qualifications and I find you very pleasant.’ He says at the conclusion of the interview.

‘Well, maybe this doesn’t sound business like, but what I want to know frankly is what are the chances of me being hired?’ I ask boldly.

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