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The Day I Met Ethel Kennedy At The Kennedy Compound

File:Kennedy bros.jpg

( Update 8/26/09—Here are links to help recall the life of Ted Kennedy and to help look forward to the battles still to be won.)  

I once met Ethel Kennedy and her son former Congressman Joe Kennedy. This was in 1992 and took place at the Kennedy Compound  (Click the Kennedy Compound link for some info about the place from the National Park Service) in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.

Mrs. Kennedy is the widow of the late Senator Robert Kennedy who was assassinated in 1968.

I got into the Kennedy compound by paying $250. The event was a fundraiser for Joe Kennedy.

Congressman Kennedy won 83% of the vote in 1992 and did not need my $250. I had a friend who was a fan of the Kennedys who wanted to go and it seemed that it would be interesting to go to the Kennedy Compound.

And so it was.

We flew from Cincinnati , where I lived at the time, to Boston and then rented a car for the drive to Cape Cod.

We were brought into the compound on a yellow school bus.

Once inside, the first thing I saw were some people who looked like regulars in the Kennedy Compound. They appeared to be laughing at the people in the bus.

We were driven past some houses that were identified as the homes of Ted Kennedy, Robert and Ethel, and President Kennedy.

I saw the private beach space where some of those grainy color images of the Kennedys’ playing touch football must have been filmed.

The theme of the fundraiser was the 500th Anniversary of Columbus. It’s a bit hazy now, but some people, including the Congressman, were dressed up as Ferdinand and Isabella and other figures of the time.

That did not seem overly friendly to the Native American populations of New England.

(Please click here for a previous post on Ferdinand and Isabella in Texas Liberal.)

We were fed hot dogs, beans, soda and beer. I guess lobster ran more than a $250 donation.

We were asked to look up to a window in one of the houses and wave to Rose Kennedy. We did as we were told.

An announcement was made that a car was blocking the driveway of Mrs. Onassis. Was she home? I’ll never know.

As for Ethel Kennedy, her glance at my name tag , while perceptible, was practiced and slight. She smiled and said—And I’ll never forget this—“Hello Neil. Thanks for coming.”   

 I said–“Yes ma’am.”

Mrs. Kennedy and I shook hands while we spoke.

When the fundraiser was over we were bused out and the gates were locked behind us.

It was worth my $250 to see the Kennedy home. Though the $6 fee to take the National Park Service bus tour of the LBJ ranch is the more accessible and affordable deal.

December 18, 2007 Posted by | Political History, Politics, Things I've Done, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments