Teddy and Me

In early 1980, I was a freshman at Drake University.

A history major. A liberal.
A bleeding heart, pinko commie liberal.

One day I was walking through Olmstead Hall (our student union, more or less) and happened upon a campaign poster for Ted Kennedy-  “Meet Joseph Kennedy III” with that days date, at 4pm.
WOW a Kennedy! And Robert Kennedy’s oldest son!

I went and took a seat in the very back of the room. Kennedy ’80 posters were all around the room. I picked up two “Kennedy ’80” buttons. I put one on and one in my backpack.
I waited. The room filled up.

I heard some excited voices out the door behind me. I turned around, as did everyone in the room, and Joe Kennedy walked in, and right up to me.
“Hello” he held out his hand towards me “My name is Joe Kennedy and you are?”
“Susan” I barely mumbled as I shook his hand
“Susan, I hope you will think about caucusing for my Uncle.”
I nodded as he moved on and thought “whatever you want me to do.. I will do..”
I sat back down.. and thought “Oh my god, I just shook the hand of Joe Kennedy. That hand would have once touched Robert Kennedy.. oh.. my.. god”

I don’t remember anything he talked about. I just remember that he talked to me! To me!
I am sure that everything he said it was directly to me.. and me only… I am sure of it!

A couple of days later, in the evening, I headed back to Olmstead Center. Kennedy ’80 button on my shirt.. and I caucused for Ted Kennedy.. after all Joe told me to!
When we had to break up into our groups, I think there were only about 5 of us in the Kennedy Group. I didn’t care. I was 18. It was my first caucus and it would be the first time I voted.  And of course, my friend Joe had told  me too…

And now it is 2009. I sit here at my desk, wearing both of my  Kennedy ’80 buttons.
I know that Joe Kennedy turned out to be an ass.
I know that Teddy was well… Teddy.
I know that whether you liked him or not, that American Icon is dead.

It is 2009. I am a Liberal.
A bleeding heart, pinko commie liberal.


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