The Ex Files

David Halberstam

My father was stationed in El Paso at Biggs Field, which would later become a huge air base. You could see all these planes that were lined up, the bombers that were going to be used. I loved El Paso; it was so different from growing up in New York. I remember one time when I got in trouble not long after we had moved there. I was probably in the third or fourth grade, and I got on a trolley car with one of my pals from school. There was a movie theater right next to the Paso del Norte Hotel downtown, and we went to see Sergeant York. I remember the scene from the movie where Gary Cooper tells you that if you have a line of turkeys—’cause he’s an outdoorsman—you shoot the last one first so the others don’t know that they’ve been shot. But I really got in trouble when I got home. It was late, and here we were in this strange city and I hadn’t told anybody I was going to the movie.

David Halberstam spent part of his childhood in El Paso and Austin while his father was in the military. He won a Pulitzer prize in 1964 for his coverage of the Vietnam War and has written sixteen books. His latest, Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made (Random House), will be in bookstores this month.

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