I was very sad to learn that Mary Kennedy, wife of Robert Kennedy, Jr., was found dead yesterday at his home in Bedford, New York.
I met them years ago on a plane, and liked them both very both. So the loss seems very personal.
Below is the blog entry I wrote in 2010 about my Kennedy encounter.
I read today that Bobby Kennedy, Jr. filed for a divorce from his wife Mary. That’s too bad. They seemed like such a nice couple…
When I met them.
Yeah, you read it right. I met Bobby and Mary Kennedy. They sat next to me on a flight from Denver to Aspen. We were all en route to the 2nd Annual US Comedy Arts Festival. I was on a research trip for Hallmark Cards; Bobby was going to introduce Garry Trudeau, his good friend and creator of the “Doonesbury” comic strip, who was being honored at the festival.
The small jet had no first class; that’s why they were seated next to me. I recognized them immediately when they boarded just moments before take-off — my mother loved the Kennedys like most Catholics of her generation — but I didn’t let on.
They were very friendly and chatted with me during the short flight. When they realized I was going to the festival as well, they mentioned their friend Garry — by first name only — and said ‘perhaps they’d see me there.’
It was a great story to share with my co-workers, who were seated elsewhere on the plane.
I attended the Doonesbury retrospective and only made the ‘Kennedy connection’ when Bobby stepped up to the podium to introduce ‘his friend Garry.’ After the event was over, attendees were invited to a gallery next door exhibiting framed “Doonesbury” cartoons.
As I was milling around with my co-workers, I suddenly heard shouts of “Carla! Carla!” There across the room were Mary and Bobby Kennedy, smiling and waving. Garry Trudeau stood at their side.
The rest of the evening was kind of a rock star moment for me. I got to hang with the Kennedys for a while. I met Garry Trudeau, whose comic strips helped Watergate make sense, and I was able to get his autograph for my brother Kent.
And best of all? The look on my co-workers’ faces.