In case you you haven’t heard, it will soon be the 50th year anniversary of that terrible day in Dallas. People my age, remember, in detail, what they were doing and where they were when they found out about Kennedy’s assassination.
Years later, I should say many years later, I was fortunate to become friends with two people who knew him intimately.
For those that have read some of my blogs you may recall that I founded a cable television company in the 80’s. We were based in Plymouth, Massachusetts and eventually served most of the south shore and two towns on Cape Cod.
Competition for cable franchises was fierce and if victorious, financially rewarding. On many occasions I competed against a company that employed a seasoned operations manager Bob Harrison. He soon became a close friend. He lived on Cape Cod and was John Kennedy’s roommate in Newport, Rhode Island when they both were in Navy training for a PT boat command.
Cable franchising required legal representation. My dear friend Attorney John Wyman was with me for the entire ride and as we won more licenses it necessitated adding a prominent Boston Law firm for more specialized legal work. We brought in a firm called Herrick and Smith and the former Lt. Governor of Massachusetts Attorney Eddie McLaughlin.
Eddie lived on Cape Cod, and he too became a close friend. Eddie met Kennedy in the Pacific when he was a PT boat commander and as he tells the story, Kennedy was on the “shitter” next to him and they both recognized their respective Boston accents. Eddie maintained his friendship with Kennedy until his brother Bobby boxed him out of becoming the Democratic nominee for Governor by convincing the Massachusetts convention that there were too many Irish Catholics running for office and that they should support Chub Peabody for Governor rather than the sitting Lt. Governor McLaughlin.
…and as Eddie tells it, he did not show up when the President came to Boston. Kennedy asked why Eddie wasn’t at the after party. He was told what Bobby had done and soon after called Eddie for a private meeting. He said he would make it up to him with a position in the administration and when he returned from Dallas he would get into the details.
Eddie and Bob lived in the same Cape town, went to the same church, were close friends of JFK’s, both PT boat commanders and had never met each other. The only common denominator was Kennedy and me.
Bob and I were going to lunch in Hyannis and Eddie called me that same morning asking me to join him for lunch as well. I told him I was going with Bob and Eddie, who knew of him through me, asked if he could join us. I called Bob and at lunch I introduced them.
We stayed for over three hours. I could count the words I contributed to the conversation…I just sat there listening to Kennedy stories that were never written about or told publicly. I can only say they were graphic, some very complimentary and others not so.
This time of year I always think of that “lunch” and on the 50th anniversary of JFK’s death, I thought I would share that special day with you.
Please remember our veterans and when you come across a World War II veteran go out of your way to thank them for their service…for they truly are/were our greatest generation.