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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Eunice Kennedy Shriver


The Kennedys still push the old Boston-Irish-sentimental button with me. I'll probably have a good cry when Ted dies. What can I say? I remember JFK, I was six when he was assassinated but I still remember all the hoopla surrounding his Presidency. I remember being in the car with my parents, box cameras the the ready, sitting in stopped traffic 100 feet form the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port. The state police allowed you to get but so close, and no closer. Snap, snap, snap. The flag was flying on the lawn because the President was there visiting his parents. We actually got close enough to see the front porch. That would never happen today.

Eunice for me was a mouthy, toothy lady with a raspy voice who looked her age. Until I became involved the world of special kids. Then I looked again. I saw someone who banished the word 'retard'. More importantly, she banished the entire idea of wasted, useless under utilized lives. If you have two legs and two feet, use them. If you have one leg, use it. Find a way. Get up and do. And Eunice Kennedy Shriver seemed to say, as she lived her life, If you can't really get up and do on your own, don't worry about it. We'll get someone to help you until you can manage on your own. And you will manage on your own. Period.

RIP. The lady has earned her place in heaven.

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