Charles Osgood's Childhood

The year is 1942, and while America is reeling from the first blows of World War II, 9-year-old Charlie Osgood spends his days planting victory gardens and collecting scrap metal for the war effort, as well as delivering newspapers, going to Orioles baseball games, and goofing around with his younger sister.

Osgood, a staple on CBS Radio and CBS News Sunday Morning, tells the story of his childhood in a new book, "Defending Baltimore Against Enemy Attack."

On The Early Show, Osgood tells co-anchor Harry Smith those were ideal times for the author.

"Stealing a line from Dickens, 'It was the best of times and worst of times,'" Osgood says, "For me, I don't recall ever having a moment's fear in the war, though we had air raid drills and blackouts and we had a victory garden, scrap drives, so we knew what was going on in the world. I was a newspaper boy - used to deliver The Baltimore Sun, throw it up on people's porches."

Back then, Osgood tracked the course of the war on two maps his father had given him: one of the Pacific area and one of Europe.

Osgood notes, "When I went to school, back in my day, we actually were taught geography. It was a subject in school. It isn't anymore. Now it comes under the general heading of social studies. You learn about it while you're learning history."

He also notes his love for baseball. "The Orioles were in the international league at the time, triple A," Osgood recalls, "On a summer night, you could walk down Edgewood Road, the street that I lived on. Nobody had air conditioning, and you could listen to the voice of Bill Dyer coming out of open windows, coming down the street; you could follow the game. The team was a good team. They were spotty, but a pretty good team."

And tells Smith, "I think the reason I'm in the business you and I are both in right now, is that I thought that this must be the absolutely greatest job in the world."

Being a kid back then meant not to come home until suppertime, Osgood says, "And we managed to amuse ourselves. I don't remember even once myself, my sister, or any of our friends complaining that we were bored. Boredom came in the 1960s or something."

Among the differences today, he says, "We had a lot more independence in those days. And by the way, it seems to me that now, with all the coverage we have of the news and all of that, I think, what if we covered World War II the way that the Iraqi business is being covered now, where there is a constant drumbeat, 24 hours a day?' I think it was better then. Get it in the Post in the morning, read it, (then) hear Lowell Thomas and Ed Murrow talking about it at night."

Read an excerpt.

Osgood writes about the many joys of his boyhood including, his love of baseball, his antics with sister Mary Ann, his secret crush on Sue Einstein, and the trials attending Catholic school. But most of all, the book explains to readers why Osgood fell in love with the radio and how he knew it was his destiny to one day work in the medium.

Charlie Osgood's Book Tour Schedule

Saturday, June 12
BOOKENDS
232 East Ridgewood Avenue
Ridgewood, N.J. 07450
2:00 p.m.
For more information: call 201-445-0726

Tuesday, June 15
BORDERS BOOKS & MUSIC
10 Columbus Circle
New York, N.Y. 10019-4925
1:00 p.m.
For more information: call 212-823-9775

Thursday, June 17
JUST BOOKS BREAKFAST
Stamford Marriott
Stamford, Conn.
8:30 a.m.
For more information: call 203-569-5023

Friday, June 18
HIGHLAND PARK METHODIST CHURCH
with Barnes & Noble
3300 Mockingbird Lane
Dallas, Texas 75205
7:00 p.m.
For more information: call 214-363-6609

Tuesday, June 22
RJ JULIA BOOKSELLERS
Polson Middle School
302 Green Hill Road
Madison, Conn. 06443
7:00 p.m.
For more information: call 203-245-3959

Friday, June 25
NORTHSHIRE BOOKSTORE
First Congregational Church
Manchester Center, VT
7:00 p.m.
For more information: call 802-362-3565 X165

Thursday, July 15
DAVID COUNTY LIBRARY
with Barnes & Noble
South Branch Library
Bountiful, Utah 84025
7:00 p.m
For more information: call 801-451-2322
  • Tatiana Morales

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