Of course we for whom Jeopardy! has been a part of our lives for years mourn the passing of its affable, capable and intelligent host, Alex Trebek. It is the one game show my husband and I watch religiously, going so far as taping (yes! we still use that outdated technology) while we eat dinner so we can watch later while fast forwarding through the commercials.
I have my own personal Jeopardy! story.
In the winter of 1971, shortly after giving birth to my daughter, I tried out for the show in New York City. At that time, you had to go in person to take a test in a room with other people. It was the first time I left my baby with someone to watch her – my sister, who had a job in the city.
I received a phone call that informed me that I had done well on the test and should come in for an interview, which I did. The next call told me that I was chosen as a contestant, told me where the show was going to be taped, and asked that I bring a change of clothes should I go on to win.
It was May, 1971, when it was taped but it was shown in July, 1971, when my first husband and I, with baby Jordana, were on Fire Island for the summer. Our house did not have a TV so we went to the one and only restaurant/bar in town with my daughter in my arms, ordered some soft drinks at the bar, and asked the bartender if he wouldn’t mind putting Jeopardy on (4 pm). He did, and when Art Fleming interviewed me during that part of the show, I said that I had a 6 month old daughter and was looking forward to going to Fire Island for the summer. The bartender looked at my husband and asked, “I wonder if we know her?”
How much money did I win? In those days, Single Jeopardy started with $10 and went to $50. You won what you earned. I happened to be up against someone who went on to become a 5-time undefeated champion but amassed $250 which I went home with. That, and a set of World Book Encyclopedias!