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Wednesday, 08 July 2009

A Very Historical Dinner Party

By George J. Measer

It was a dinner party never to be forgotten! It was a night an important national decision was made! It was a night, I believe, that Bobby Kennedy decided to run for the presidency of the United States.

Six members of the New York Press Association attended the annual March meeting of the National Newspaper Association in Washington, D.C. As the six publishers and wives checked into the convention, an unexpected invitation was handed to us. Dinner at New York Senator Bobby and Ethel Kennedy’s home at Hickory Hill, McLean, Virginia. The date was Thursday, March 16, 1968.

I immediately called my wife Joan in Buffalo, but because of a family obligation, she was unable to join us.

Our group arrived promptly at 6:00PM at the Kennedy’s beautiful and historic home. Three round tables of ten each where set up in the spacious living room. In one corner stood the presidential flags of his brother, John F. Kennedy.

As we met other attendees, I saw a lady with a deep tan. “You must have been in the Caribbean,” I small-talked to her. “Such a beautiful tan.”

“Nope”, she replied, “I am the wife of the senator from North Dakota and a full blooded Indian.” My first gaffe of the night!

Standing around before dinner, someone knocked on the front door. Since no one else seemed to have heard the knock, I answered the door. Standing there was a very tall, good looking man and his wife. “I don’t recognize you,” I said. “But I probably should. Come on in.”

With a smile on his face, the gentleman held out his hand and said, “Glad to meet you, George. My name is Roger Mudd. Maybe you have seen me on TV!”

Wish I could have sunk into the door frame.

The round tables looked elegant with lovely bouquets of fresh flowers and gold flat wear. The lady sitting next to me had just come back from climbing Mt. Everest. Many prominent people attended the dinner party but unfortunately, I didn’t record their names.

Our New York group asked Kennedy why, as the senator from New York, he served French wines. No answer! During dinner, two of the children, one being Bobby Jr., came down the living room stairs with water pistols and asked their mother for money to go to the movies. Just like home!

All during dinner, Kennedy received phone calls urging him to run from across the country. Also, one of our publishers was invited by a server to look at the basement tables. He said there were 30-40 wicker baskets filled with telegrams urging Kennedy to run while only a few on another table in the negative.

The evening, written about in books and national magazines, was most pleasant and, we discovered, quite historical. The Kennedy’s were gracious and charming, making each one very comfortable in this historic home and at dinner.

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Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


George - Interesting story!

Your run-in with Roger Mudd reminds me of an instance when a family friend, Dave, was on a double chair ski lift in Switzerland in the late 1950's. He didn't know his chair mate, who sensing Dave was American, asked him where he was from and what he did. Dave replied, "I'm from Concord, Massachusetts and I'm a pediatrician."

Then, hanging in the air above an Alp,with no door frame to sink into, Dave asked the same question. His companion replied, "I'm from Belgium and I'm the King!"

WE have all made gaffe's that we will never forget, but yours made an excellent topic of conversation to relate for years to come.

How exciting to be on the beginning of Robert Kennedy's decision to run for the presidency. It is so sad that his assassination made that impossible. Our world might have been much different now had he lived to become president.

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