The news this morning, with the many clips of Ted Kennedy speeches, unearthed a long forgotten memory of meeting him.
I mean long forgotten, too, because it was probably in 1960 when then Sen. John F. Kennedy was running for President. My father, a reporter for the New York Times based in Detroit, spent some time on the campaign trail that year.
On one occasion -- I can't tell you where except I think it was Ohio -- I got to tag along or maybe my mother brought my brother and me to the event to pick up my father. I would have been 10.
What I remember is being in an elevator with JFK and Teddy. Ted Kennedy was the friendly one. He offered me a stick of gum.
Television brings so many public figures into our living rooms that a personal encounter isn't as memorable or meaningful as it once was. Back in that very political year -- during the Kennedy/Nixon battle for the White House -- I could boast on the playground that I'd shaken hands with both presidential candidates, thanks to my father. I brushed Nixon's hand through an airport chain-link fence some time after the up-close-and-personal moment with the Kennedys.
I'm sure I saw Ted Kennedy again in 1974 when I spent the fall in Washington D.C. wandering through the Capitol in search of stories during the final semester of my University of Missouri master's program in journalism. Strangely, the memory that stuck, however, is the one involving a piece of gum.
-- Nancy Remsen
Labels: politics Ted Kennedy