When Steven Spielberg heads to the National Constitution Center on October 8 to accept his Liberty Medal, he’ll be bringing vivid memories of a childhood spent in the Philadelphia area. From my interview with the filmmaker way back when Schindler’s List was released in December, 1993, Spielberg had this to say about his days as a whippersnapper living in Haddon Township, NJ -- and hanging around the grand hall of Philadelphia’s landmark John Wanamaker department store, in the shadow of the bronze eagle statue:
"My family lived in Haddonfield and we used to go to Philadelphia on weekends to visit relatives. . . . My parents used to put me under the eagle and leave me there for an hour and a half, alone.
"My job was not to wander - no nannies, no baby sitters - and they went shopping, because I was impossible to shop with. So they would go all around Wanamaker’s and I would sit there terrified because there was this eagle over me, there were a million people and there were nuns playing the organ.
"I used to dread more than anything else being stuck under that eagle."