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Oral History

Edward M. Kennedy Oral History Oral History (12/1/2006), Senator

Copyright 2016 the Miller Center Foundation and the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.

Young

This is an interview at Senator Kennedy’s house on December first, and what we’re going to do is up to you at first, so what you want to talk about….

Kennedy

We talked a little bit about family, just touched on it in the last discussion. I don’t think I had thought we’d use it as a topic, but it might be just generally valuable to talk a little bit about some aspects of the family life, and then maybe some other questions, we can develop some of that as we go along. 

I think the one sort of overarching sense that we all had is we were enormously happy together. Our best friends were our brothers and sisters. We enjoyed doing things together. There may have been times when my father and mother weren’t present, but we really were never conscious of it. One thing that has struck me over the time that I’ve become older and realize the political activities of our whole family. I don’t remember ever, a single political event taking place in our home, either Cape Cod or in Florida. On rare occasions, my father would have people up to lunch when he was down in Florida, more often when we weren’t around, and very rare occasions when we were around. But I don’t ever remember a dinner, never remember a cocktail party, never a fundraiser. Home was always a place where we gathered and it was sort of our space and time. That was just the atmosphere and the climate that we grew up in. My brothers used to joke that my sisters would never get married, because they were having such a good time with my brothers, and I remember them talking about it. And of course, they went on in that period of time, they all got married somewhat older than most of their colleagues. 

Even with the disruptions and the losses that took place in the course of the family, people had a great time together, they enjoyed each other, were very close to each other and close to our parents. And it was a house of activity. As we’ve talked about before, the people who had read books would be talking at the table, the people who had gone on trips, went to interesting places, they would be able to talk and people would ask questions. It was a sort of continuing educational process, and a lively process. And there was always a good deal of sports activity wrapped into all of that, the games we played together, with a few close friends around the community, but there always seemed to be enough of us to make it interesting and fun. So that’s sort of a background. 

And we took trips with our mother at very early ages, to visit historic places in Massachusetts: Plymouth, Walden Pond, the historic sights in Boston, Paul Revere’s home. This sort of fit in to what my grandfather had done with me, I mean this was sort of a continuum.

Young

Oh really?

Kennedy

My grandfather used to take me around Boston when I was at boarding school. We’d always have lunch up at the Belleview Hotel, and then he’d take me for a walk in Boston and show me Milk Street, where the cows used to walk, or Water Street, where there used to be wells for the early settlers, and then over to the Old North Church and the Constitution. So it was a continuing sort of educational seminar on the one hand, and then there was also the religious seminar on another hand, that was never far behind. As I mentioned, my brothers were all altar boys, I was trained in that. That was a big force and factor. So that was sort of the climate and atmosphere everyone grew up in, which was very natural and was very joyous and very fun.

Now, if I transition into the more recent times, the loss of my brothers, we saw that—or at least I did—that they were enormously attentive and devoted fathers. I’m not really sure that a lot has been written about President [John] Kennedy and his children, but he was incredibly attentive and he had a lot of contact with them when he was around. It was a joyous time, the little games that he used to play. He would take John [Kennedy jr.] down to the beach and he had this boat that had been contributed to him, I think by the Italian government or group, and it was a snappy boat, maybe three or four feet long, but it had—you could actually trim the sails and steer the boat. He was a very good sailor, so he could tell exactly what he had to do with it to make the boat go in a certain direction. 

Then he’d set the boat out from the beach, and then he’d walk back up to the house and he’d get himself set to go sailing before lunch. They’d walk down to the pier 45 minutes or an hour later, and then the game was to go out and find the boat that had been sent out. We didn’t have lunch until we found it, and when they found it, he always took a swim. This boat just used to go out to sea, and it used to take a time to get it. They’d try to be figuring out the speed and the direction and all the rest of it. 

He was always thinking up games. He’d have what he called floaties. They’d take scallop shells that he’d just find on the beach when there was an offshore breeze. He’d pick one up and little John and Caroline [Kennedy Schlossberg] picked them up and see whose would float out the furthest. And then after they floated to a certain place, you could take a stone and throw it out, to see if you could sink the other person’s, but it had to get out to a certain place. So it was whose got out there first, and then whose was sunk first. So it was all made up at the time in familiar circumstances, climate and atmosphere. It was a very happy, joyous kind of circumstance. There are pictures of Bobby [Kennedy] and all of his children out at Hickory Hill and sailing and swimming all the kinds of activities—a legion. He was just a very devoted and involved parent.

So after the loss of their fathers, I think I tried to figure out how I could play a role in providing some continuity in their lives. You can never, obviously, replace the person. But it seemed to me that at least there were opportunities for keeping the family together and also for the continuity of things that they had done at an earlier time, that would help them in terms of their own kinds of roots and values. So we started off doing these camping trips in western Massachusetts. We went every year, I think for probably 15 years. We’d get a Winnebago—I think one year we even had two—and we would go to western Massachusetts, and usually stop in Springfield, there was a great playground there.

These trips were sort of a third fun, a third educational experience, and a third kind of family gathering. We’d get to Springfield, so they knew where they were going and this was a joyous time in terms of their rides and the rest. Then, we’d go out to the Berkshires and in the Berkshires, there’s just a goldmine of different—the Springfield Amusement Park. There was just a goldmine of different activities there. You had [Herman] Melville’s home, where he did most of his writing, including Moby Dick. You had the home where they actually sculpted the statue of [Abraham] Lincoln for the Lincoln Memorial.

Mrs. Kennedy

Chesterwood.

Kennedy

Chesterwood. Daniel Chester French. Norman Rockwell. They had the Rockwell Museum there. You had Hancock Village, where the Shakers had a home, which is very impressive and has been preserved. The Clark Museum, which is one of the great museums, all the [Maurice] Prendergast pictures. There was a wonderful Indian site there, Umpachene Falls, where we used to camp a good deal, which has a wonderful waterfall, not too strong, a great place where they could swim and camp. It was probably one of the loveliest places in the world. We went to the Crane Paper Company, learned how you make dollar bills. Furniture was made out in the Berkshires, Lee and Lenox, some of the best Massachusetts furniture, and we went to the small museums that showed the primitive ways it was made. There is just a goldmine.

We’d have the outdoor camping and the breakfast, and then the educational aspects of the experience, and then they’d have a break for lunch. It usually ended up being a two day trip. But that went on for years and then we did it in the wintertime, and this ended up being rather helpful to me politically. The children used to joke with me about this. We were on a trip to western Massachusetts. My son Patrick [Kennedy] was a chronic asthmatic. He wanted to come, but he couldn’t sleep outdoors because of his asthma, so we had to stay at a little local motel. We’d come back early to the camp and the newspaper, the Pittsfield newspaper would come on up there to get a photograph. Little Dougie and Max Kennedy, they’d be beckoning me up the hill to get the little wood fire going, to make it look like I was cooking for all the children, so the people at the Pittsfield newspaper would take a picture and think I’d been out with them, camping out. That became a real story. The children would joke with me—“Is this what politics is really about?”

Another kind of trip really replicated something that my brother Jack did with me. On Sundays, one of his favorite pastimes was to visit the Civil War battlefields. He did that as often as he could. He’d invite Bobby and myself to go with him. Occasionally he would drive up to Camp David, although I only stayed up there one weekend when he was President, but he didn’t use it very much. On the weekends he stayed down in the White House and worked most of the time. But on Sundays he’d helicopter out to these battlefields and always took an historian with him.… This was supposed to be a learning experience, continuing education.

So, I started doing the same kind of trips down here in the spring, with a number of my nieces and nephews that were around here. We went to Antietam and Fredericksburg, we went up to Gettysburg.

Mrs. Kennedy

Manassas.

Kennedy

We went to Manassas, the last year, over at Harpers Ferry.

Mrs. Kennedy

And Philadelphia.

Kennedy

We went to Philadelphia. In Virginia, we went to Richmond, and that was all sort of the Civil War. We went up to Philadelphia and Valley Forge. We went to the Brooklyn Bridge and next year, we’re going to go up to Baltimore, for the War of 1812. We have had in the last couple of years an overnight trip to Massachusetts. We’ve taken them all to Plymouth. We went to President Kennedy’s birthplace and the Kennedy Library, and we went to Paul Revere’s home, the Old North Church, Bunker Hill. They spent the night on Thompson Island, which is one of the islands out—we went out to Little Brewster Island, which has got the oldest lighthouse in America, built in 1716, very interesting. It was taken a number of times during the American Revolution.

Young

It was also coming into the harbor, for the boats.

Kennedy

Coming into the harbor.

Young

So that was where—

Kennedy

Where all of the ships, all the immigrant ships, came in and passed to the docks. The docks are still there, where my great grandparents came in, in 1848. Eight of them came in, and the steps are still there, where they walked on [to American soil]. They’re called the golden steps, because it was the golden steps into opportunity, into the United States.

Young

Yes.

Kennedy

The Constitution, the USS Constitution of course. Grandpa Fitzgerald had saved the Constitution in 1896. He went up to Portsmouth, New Hampshire before he got elected to Congress and saw that it was sinking up there. His first appropriations effort was to get enough money to bring it to Boston and get it repaired. It was saved again in the 30s by pennies. We’ve been very much involved in the development of the museum and a training program about the Constitution now.

But in any event, those kinds of continuing involvements in family activities have been very central and important. We always thought it was the location that they were interested in, but we find out now that it’s the trip they like the best. Going up to Philadelphia, we went up with 40 people, and that’s what fits in a train car. You can rent these cars from Amtrak that have 42 seats, and for the price of 42 tickets you can get the whole car and they’ll drop you in Philadelphia. You can leave your things in it and tell them you’ll be coming back at 5:30 or 6:00, and they’d have your car hooked on the train and you’d come on back. There was a person that could get you sandwiches and Coca-Cola, and they thought that was the hottest thing that they’d ever been on, except for the little train we took in Massachusetts, the old train that goes across to the Cape. Of course, it was about 100 degrees that day and they’re throwing water on each other and things like that. It isn’t all studious.

Mrs. Kennedy

This is the next generation.

Kennedy

This is the next generation.

Mrs. Kennedy

This is the next generation, their parents.

Young

I see.

Mrs. Kennedy

So great nieces and nephews.

Kennedy

This is the great nieces and nephews that have gone on these trips, because the next generation wanted to continue that and they asked us to organize it, and we have. It’s a great joy in my life and in a rather special way, it’s a way of keeping in touch with my brothers as well.

Young

Sure.

Kennedy

In a very important way to me.

Young

And so it started out with the next generation.

Kennedy

Yes. And now it’s going on even—

Young

Bobby’s children.

Kennedy

Bobby’s children and Caroline. Caroline is the most—you tell her when the camping trip is, and she is there and brings her children. They like this.

Young

So as time goes on….

Kennedy

As time goes on, they all go, and Kathleen and Kathleen’s children. Bobby’s children have grown up now. In my campaign this year, I had Joe Kennedy’s two sons as my campaign managers, and they’re both just absolutely outstanding in every way. One, Joe, had just come back from the Peace Corps and Matt has been working with a poverty group in New York and is at Harvard Business School. They went around the state and activated a whole new sort of generation, of younger people. They just added immeasurably, and their presence helped people know that I take the election seriously. Kennedy is in Washington, but he does obviously care about our Greek celebration of our church, because one of his nephews is here. It made an enormous difference in my campaign and previously, my nephew Joe had run my campaign.

Young

That was sort of continuing really, wasn’t it, the family was involved—

Kennedy

My family was very much involved.

Young

—in your early campaign.

Kennedy

I did my brother Jack’s 1958 campaign, learned a lot, traveled all over Massachusetts.

Young

Was that educational?

Kennedy

Enormously educational and very interesting and you learn so much. I traveled around at that time, with Larry O’Brien. It was very important that he do well, because that was sort of the launch of the ’60 [Presidential bid]. It was both interesting and a learning experience. You learned not only the state, but also that politics is about people and you get a real feel for also, about whether this is something you wanted to do, or at least I certainly did from that kind of life experience.

After the ’76 campaign that my nephew Joe ran, I went to Europe with him and Barbara Souliotis, who has been my—really my prime aide for 45 years now, and Angelique Voutselas, the four of us. It was rather a funny group to go to Greece and Italy together. Barbara and Angelique were Greek and had terrific friends in Greece. We were just there for two days. We went out to Crete and had one of the most stirring days of my life politically at this village, where Charlie [Costas] Maliotis was born. He was an orphan who came to this country and worked up in Lowell. He had a very good mind mechanically, and he started the first electronic businesses in Massachusetts, just at the start of the war, and did very well. Not one of these super rich, but just did well financially. Charlie Maliotis contributed half the money to build the Greek Orthodox theological school in Brookline, Massachusetts, the leading one in the country, and one of the best in the world. He was going back to visit his village and asked if we would go up there with him. And so Joe and I and Angelique and Barbara went up in this little car, went up the mountainside, and they kept putting flowers [out along the road].

Young

But Maliotis was with you?

Kennedy

With us. He had flown over independently.

Young

Did you get to know him politically?

Kennedy

Politically, from—I met him politically from the campaigns. He sort of ran the Greek community. He didn’t really. There’d be a lot of Greeks that would be upset if you said he ran it, but he was an irrepressible, authentic figure, because he had been an immigrant, and he gave half his money to the church, which gives you a lot of credibility, and he loved President Kennedy and now he liked me. He was just a terrific person, a wonderful, wonderful individual, I mean he just cared so much about the country. So we went back to his little village. 

We got up to sort of the top—or not to the top, but about two thirds of the way up the cliffs, and there, carved out in this little plateau, was this schoolhouse and gathering center and a few homes. He had built the church and built the schoolhouse and the center. They had a lunch in the public area, probably 350 people could fit in it, and they had the mayors from all over the community. They had the white paper cloths on the table and these tremendous tomatoes, wine, I mean the oil and the vinegar, and bread is everyplace. He got up to speak and he said, “I can’t speak but my friend Ted will speak for me.” People were trying to get in and these big men would be punching people in the face, keeping them out, because they couldn’t take any more people in. They’d squeezed every place, you couldn’t squeeze through to a table because everything was full, but they all came to see Costas, they called him Costas, Maliotis. It was a wonderful time, and Joe was there. It was a great, marvelous kind of experience. 

We went from there to see the Pope, and this was Pope—

Mrs. Kennedy

Paul, I think.

Kennedy

Paul. We have to get this down at some time in the interview, because he had—I’ve got the notes I can give you. Really, what the theme was, he said that he remembered Bobby Kennedy coming up and seeing him, after my brother Bobby’s trip to South Africa, and telling him at that time that the church was on the wrong side on apartheid. And Bobby gave him the names and the people and the things that they had very specifically on it. The Pope told us that this made such a powerful impression and really altered his mind on it. It was really very powerful to hear that, for Joe to hear it.

Young

Oh, yes.

Kennedy

Yes, from the Pope. It was just extraordinary, what he said about apartheid, and my brother Bob’s enormous interest in it. Those notes are someplace. That was basically the theme, that he had remembered that trip that Bob had taken. After he went to South Africa, Bob wanted to come up and tell the Pope, because he had seen what the Catholic bishops were failing to do in South Africa. But it’s illustrative of the kind of…. And then we sailed a lot with Joe and won the local championship down there with him sailing. That is sort of the past, but as recently as last night, we went over to this—

Mrs. Kennedy

Mark Bailey.

Kennedy

Mark Bailey, who is married to Rory Kennedy, had a little book, a fun book that he has done and he has finished and he has published, and they had a little book party for him, and so we went by there just to greet him. Ethel [Skakel Kennedy] was over there, just around 9:00 last night. But earlier, we had called Kym Smith, it was her birthday, and little Rory Townsend—

Mrs. Kennedy

Kerry.

Kennedy

—Kerry Townsend, who has just turned 15 and is just cute as a button, and Jeanie, Jeanie Shriver, whose birthday was yesterday. It’s almost every day, the families are intersecting.

Mrs. Kennedy

But you call everybody. He calls every niece, obviously children and grandchildren, but every niece, nephew, grand niece, you know grand nephew.

Kennedy

On their birthdays. And we’ve spoken to—you know, we’re available to some of my nephews who are making some career decisions and that sort of thing. Mark Shriver has done a terrific job, Save the Children, and is thinking about next steps. We’ve done a fair amount of graduation speeches for a good many of them over a period of time. We’ve done things for our little grandchildren, Grace and Max, at the Westbrook School, been over there for grandparents day, and at book events here for their school. For Kylie and Teddy at the Foote School up in Connecticut, we’ve done some things. We still make first communions and graduations.

Young

I don’t see, given the number involved, I don’t see how you can do it. I mean, it’s amazing.

Kennedy

Well, I think this has always been something that’s been very important to me. I mean, it’s because I always have a sense of what you can do for brothers that were lost. There are things you can’t change in life, but there are things that you can do, and that’s sort of one of the lessons of life, doing what you can do, the other things you can’t change. And this has been a real joy. It isn’t that there haven’t been bumps on the road along the way, but more often than not, it’s been a real joy. [Splash barking] Come on, stop.

Mrs. Kennedy

Splash.

Kennedy

Splash, Splash. One thing that’s sort of a continuum— [Splash barking] Stop it, stop it, Splash.

Mrs. Kennedy

It’s the UPS truck.

Kennedy

Did you hear me say stop it? Did you hear me? One of the other aspects have been on these trips. When I traveled to China in ’78, I took one member from each family, so we had a group of about 15. I said we could take one person. Caroline came, I think Michael Kennedy came on that, and my three children. When I did the hunger hearings in Ethiopia, I took my children with me on that trip. On the trip to Russia [USSR], I took—this was Teddy just after he had his operation and was just beginning to feel better. So that they’d get exposed as well, to this other aspect of elective office. I mean, there are some things, there are a lot of downsides to it in terms of pressures on families, but there’s also some opportunities to expose children to political life, give them an interest and an opportunity that other young people don’t have. We never asked them to go to a cocktail party or things like that, but they’ve gone on trips with us when it’s appropriate—there’s obviously some that aren’t—and where they can be included.

One of the funny little gatherings that we had was some years ago at President [William J.] Clinton’s inauguration, the first inauguration. We had seats on the parade route, and I think we had about 40, and they all came to dinner the night before at our house. I think they came to breakfast or whatever.

Mrs. Kennedy

Yes, they did.

Kennedy

We’re starting to come through the barricades and on down to get our seats on the parade route on time, and we heard from some of the Schwarzeneggers, who are family, west. We heard, “Who are the Kennedys anyway?” They were yelling at the guard and I said, “Senator Kennedy and this is my family,” and in the back of the row, “Who are the Kennedys anyway?” And then they were asking Vicki, whose mother are you anyway? And Vicki said, “I’m the mother that fed you this morning and last night.” Oh. That’s good enough, that was good enough for them. And then Vicki’s little daughter Caroline at the time said, after we had been down there and watched the parade for a period of time, “What is an inauguration anyway, mommy?” You know, we’d gone through this whole day and the President went on by.

I’d also include—you know, my sisters have been, were very helpful. Jean [Kennedy Smith] and Pat [Kennedy Lawford] used to come on our trips, and those included Christmastime. In the 60s, before we lost Bobby, he was there too, we’d travel out west together in sort of a large group and after that, we’d take a big chunk of their families and my sisters would come. We had a fun time speaking up at Jack’s class—Caroline’s son—Jack’s class, for the—what grade was it?

Mrs. Kennedy

Second or third.

Kennedy

Second or third grade yes, up in New York. We went to Kinko’s and got these designs of the House and Senate and Supreme Court. We spent a couple of hours in Kinko’s, getting that stuff set up. We had also read a book about the presidents and their pets, but we thought that was not something they’d be interested in, that we really ought to get to the heart of the subject, which was representative government, for these second graders. So we got in there, distributed our materials. We know all about that. We know there’s 435 House members and 100 Senate members, and we know you introduce a bill in the House and the Senate has to pass it. We know the Supreme Court makes a judgment decision, we know all about that. And that was my whole spiel, and so I was running out of steam pretty quickly. Then we mentioned the animals, the pets of the presidents, and suddenly, all these eight, nine year-olds turned into children again. They wanted to hear about Teddy Roosevelt’s bear that he had stashed in the White House.

Mrs. Kennedy

The one who had the pet goat, with the grandchild, that ran down Pennsylvania Avenue.

Kennedy

With the President after them.

Mrs. Kennedy

They couldn’t believe that one, they were so—they were just like little children again.

Kennedy

“Oh, oh, this happened, oh, oh, oh.” So that was good. So it’s full of surprises.

Young

You love being with children, don’t you?

Kennedy

Yes.

Young

You really love them.

Kennedy

I was at the birth of Rory, who was born after Bobby was lost.

Mrs. Kennedy

It was actually Rory, who wanted you to restart the camping trips when they were older. Do you remember that letter she wrote you?

Kennedy

Yes. She’s still after me to go out to the west and Eunice [Kennedy Shriver] is after us from time to time, there’s some things that we can do. The funny part of this trip to Thompson Island, is here you had Maria Shriver walking down and Caroline Kennedy walking down to a sleeping bag, with planes coming in and taking off, boats going by, and mosquitoes coming up, and Maria saying, “What in the world am I doing here in the middle of the woods? Caroline, what are you doing out here?” But they’re great pals, Maria and Caroline, and Sydney [Lawford] are best friends. You know, always the value and the hope is that they’ll all have this wonderful sense of joy of their family that we had, and this is something that is part of their real heritage, as well as sort of an interest and a commitment and involvement in doing something for other people. They’ll have this sense of joy and happiness, which I think is something that our parents were instrumental in encouraging and is something that you sort of obviously appreciate more as time goes on, and that adds valuably to your life.

And we see a lot of that going on now. We see it up at the Cape. Chris Kennedy is just wonderful and every day, in the afternoon, I know he has all the children that are in any of the houses up there, over playing sports. In my brother’s time, the house at the Cape, at 2:30 or 3:00 in the afternoon, there was always a softball game, and wherever the kids were, they could come on over and play. Even when he was President, people came out and they played in the afternoon. Not a long game but you know, it didn’t take a long game for little people at that time. My nephew Bobby Kennedy is of course a pied piper. He goes out there with his seining nets, just in front of the house, and he’ll take two big buckets, five gallon buckets of water and go down and seine, and bring up the most extraordinary combination of life, sea life, that you ever see in your—and he explains where each of them come from—this comes from the Caribbean and that comes from…. You have absolutely no idea that this is in the water, I mean it’s just breathtaking and it’s absolutely fascinating, and these kids just follow him around all day long. They go out and they fish and they come back in exhausted at nighttime.

Mrs. Kennedy

He taught the kids how to fish with string, off the end of the pier at the Cape, and one of his sons wins the fishing tournament doing that, every year. It’s just with string, he baits a string, or whatever he puts on. There’s no fishing pole, it’s just a hand, and they’re bringing in little whatevers.

Young

Hand line.

Mrs. Kennedy

Hand line.

Young

We used to call it a hand line.

Kennedy

Yes.

Mrs. Kennedy

You’ve got little hand lines at the end of the pier. He’d take the kids at night or early morning.

Kennedy

Those are just some thoughts from that period. There’s some great pictures and that sort of thing, people on those trips.

Young

Well, I have no questions to ask you, given all these….

Kennedy

Why don’t we stop for a second and then just see what we’ve got here.

Young

Yes, let me turn it off.

Kennedy

I remembered one of the interesting aspects in China, was when were in Beijing, the air just being so bad in the very early morning and late in the afternoon, when everyone was lighting up their fires, and then it would sort of clear up at lunchtime. But if you, in the early morning, went out to try and jog or exercise, it was just awfully—you end up coming back coughing and frequently sort of covered with soot. 

An interesting cultural phenomenon in China is that when they call you for a certain time, you arrive at exactly that time, and dinner is served within minutes after. So you’re called at 7:15, there’s no drinking, no cocktails, none of that. They serve beer with the food, lunch or dinner I guess, and they have a toast maybe afterwards. But the dinner is at 7:30 and it’s over by ten minutes of nine, you’re back in the hotel at nine. By comparison, in the Middle East you arrive at a place for dinner at 9:30, and if it’s sort of a modern kind of Saudi, they’ll have another tent next to the dinner place, where they’ll have liquor or something, where you can go, but they won’t serve it in the place where people are gathering for dinner. And then the dinner starts at 10:30 or 11:00 and you go back to your hotel at one and you’re exhausted. 

But when we arrived for dinner with Deng Xiaoping in Beijing, who was the Prime Minister at the time, they divided the family into the different tables and at the same table I was with the Prime Minister, as was Patrick. They had eight courses and there were eight people at the table. The tradition is that each person serves the other person each course as it goes around, so everybody feels included in the conversation…. They talk to the different generations like they talk to a contemporary. I mean in terms of the cultural aspect it’s very interesting and completely different from Europe or the Middle East. Deng would talk to Patrick even though he was a young person. I mean, if you made the cut and got invited to the dinner, then you’d be included in the conversation around the table. It wasn’t the kind of situation where someone’s sort of turning in their seat and “Who are you?”

Young

“Who are the Kennedys anyway?”

Kennedy:

“Who do you belong to?”

Young

When was that?

Kennedy

Seventy-eight. And then they came to South Africa, which was a very moving, you know a very moving trip, in the face of apartheid. I think I talked a little bit about that one time, about the singing, when I was over there.

Young

Yes.

Kennedy

I don’t know, Vicki, is there anything else?

Mrs. Kennedy

It’s up to you.

Young

OK, let me push it up.

This is one of the many interviews that comprise the Edward M. Kennedy Oral History. For more information about the Edward M. Kennedy Oral History, including links to all interviews, please click here.

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