Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I Met JFK, Bobby, Teddy

I met all three Kennedy brothers.
I met Jack in 1960 at a Democrat Party dinner in Camden, New Jersey. The event was held at the old Camden Convention Hall (since demolished) on Haddon Avenue.
Then, in 1968 I met Bobby at a campaign rally, again in Camden, again at Convention Hall.

In 1972 I met Teddy at a Democrat Party event in Cherry Hill at the old Latin Casino.

My impressions? Jack was the most charismatic; Bobby
the most intense and Teddy the most gregarious and outgoing.
Teddy was an old-fashioned politician, a backslapper who loved the crowds and the personalities.
He was very much in the image of his grandfather, "Honey Fitz," (John F. Fitzgerald) who served as Mayor of Boston. Ted was jovial and engaging and I suppose that's why he was able to reach out to Republicans and accomplish so much in the Senate.

My favorite of the three? Probably JFK. He certainly left the greatest impression on me.

What made Jack so intriguing was that he was unfinished. And I suspect he would have remained unfinished even if he had lived. By that I mean that he always held a part of himself back. And that, after all is the true nature of charisma.

Bobby was the scrapper -- not as big as his brothers but nonetheless determined. He was the fighter and the poet who was able to spar with the best of them and then dazzle us with great flashes of understanding and compassion.
They each had their triumphs and their flaws.
They remain vivid figures on the American landscape.
BTW: The photo that you see here is one that I took of JFK in 1960.

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