Things You Probably Don't Know About Ted Kennedy
Ten Things You Probably Don't Know About Ted Kennedy
Ted Kennedy was the 9th of nine children -- now, only one member of that generation survives -- Jean Kennedy Smith. Those nine children produced 30 offspring (including Patrick Bouvier Kennedy who only lived 2 days.) Rose and Joseph P. Kennedy are the great grandparents of 69 people. (Visit ABC News' special section on Sen. Ted Kennedy)
As a child his family called him “Eddie” and some of his sisters continued to call him that as an adult
His brother Jack -- the future president -- wrote a letter to his mother at the time of Ted’s birth asking if he could be godfather of the new baby. Senator Kennedy kept that letter framed in his office
His family moved often during his childhood -- including to London in 1938 when his father was named Ambassador to the Court of St. James. Ted went to ten different schools by the time he was 11 yrs. old
He gave a moving and memorable eulogy at his brother Bobby’s funeral -- including this quote: “As he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched, and sought to touch him, some men see things as they are and say why, I dreamed things that never were and say why not?” That quote was a paraphrase from a George Bernard Shaw play “Back to Methuselah.” (Watch video of historic Kennedy moments)
According to Kennedy’s office by 2008 some 2,500 bills were proposed under Kennedy’s direction -- more than 300 became law -- as had 550 bills that he co-sponsored.
Senator Kennedy took his Portuguese Water Dog “Splash” to work with him at the Senate. In 2006 they co-authored “My Senator and Me: A Dog’s Eye View of Washington D.C.” Splash has been with Senator Kennedy since March 2000. Sunny is Splash’s niece. Kennedy gave the Obama family a Portuguese Water Dog -- First Dog “Bo”.
The Kennedy family has had a long battle with cancer: Ted Kennedy Jr. lost a leg to bone cancer in 1973. Patrick Kennedy had a non cancerous tumor removed from his spine in 1988. Kara Kennedy Allen (Ted’s daughter) was diagnosed in December 2002 with lung cancer. Doctor’s told her it was inoperable -- but she had surgery and chemotherapy and is healthy today. Joan Kennedy (the Senator’s first wife) was treated for breast cancer in 2005.
Kennedy has been the family’s patriarch since 1968. In addition to Bobby he has eulogized his parents, his nephews (including John Jr.), his sister-in-law Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and brother-in-law Stephen Smith. He also was there for numerous happy events -- escorting nieces Caroline, Kathleen, and Courtney Kennedy, Kym and Amanda Smith and his own daughter Kara on their wedding days. (See photos of Sen. Ted Kennedy's life)
In 2006 Vanity Fair magazine asked Kennedy “What is your idea of perfect happiness?” His response: “Sailing on Mya with Vicki at my side and my dogs, Splash and Sunny, at my feet. And, of course, a Democrat in the White House and regaining our majority in the Senate.”