Saturday, January 22, 2011

Remembering R. Sargent Shriver: A personal story

I am sad to see the passing of this great man. We all know he was the spear and head of the Peace Corps. We know about him from his connection to the Kennedy family having married Eunice Kennedy.We also remember him as the Vice Presidential running mate of George McGovern, whom I voted for back then. But I am going to tell you something personal about "Sarge" in how he just was a great guy and a person who just wanted to be any help to others.

Back in the 1970's and early 80's I lived in Vermont and one day I decided that I would go drive down to Hyannis Port, MA and try and find the Kennedy Compound. You see when I was a young boy, I always loved the Kennedy family and when I needed some money I would shovel snow off people sidewalks for a few dollars. One house I shoveled was that of Rose Kennedy who lived in Dorchester. That was my first and only direct connection to the Kennedy name. That was it. Not much to discuss about it. But getting back to wanting to drive down to Massachusetts to find the Kennedy Compound, I set off on my 4 hour plus drive from the Burlington VT area to find it.

When I arrived in Hyannis Port i looked all around and couldn't see where to go and so was stopped my car and was looking from side to side, a man drove up on a motor scooter and asked me if he could help me. I said yes he could if he would be so kind to tell me where was the Kennedy Compound as I wanted to see it and I quickly told him the story of my love for the Kennedy Family, especially Jack and Bobbie, and just had to see it. He said sure, I can help you. Just follow right behind me.

Well I felt so lucky that this apparent local resident would show me the way there. I followed him down the street and he headed into an apparent driveway with about 6 ft high stone barriers on either side of the driveway and dense with brush and trees so you couldn't see a thing but the path in. So I followed him in, not knowing if I should have or not, but excited anyway. Then the path opened up and I found myself on a circular driveway and the houses around it. The view of the ocean was spectacular that day, and it was a bright sunshiny day. I stopped my car and as I got out, a number of security personnel with those hearing devices in their ears came out from behind bushes from everywhere and started to engage this man who led me in. They told him he shouldn't be doing this and this man said he knew that but this was special. That man turned out to be R. Sargent Shriver. :))

I have only told one other person about this event in writing and that was his daughter Maria Shriver, former Gov. Schwarzenegger's wife.

Thanks so much, Sarge. May you rest in peace with God.

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Blogger Minneloushe said...

Lovely story, really lovely; thank you for sharing.

1:44 PM  

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