I was saddened to read the news that Mary Richardson Kennedy died of an apparent suicide at age 52. Mary was the husband of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the son of the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy. As I read the news, my heart sunk. Prior to entering into private law practice in New Britain, I had worked for RFK Jr and his partner in his New York office for several years. I have many fond memories of my experience that I will treasure for a lifetime.
As such, I was surprised to see the New York Times portray the Kennedys as a private aloof family living on a private gated compound shunning the world. They had interviewed a neighbor who stated she had never interacted with the family and several no trespassing signs lined the property. The New York Post was worse. They tried to place the blame of Mrs. Kennedy's death on her husband. There is talk of a Kennedy curse as countless publications recount various tragedies in the family. I only hope their kids have the common sense not to buy into the tabloid fare.
I saw what the family went through upon the death of John F Kennedy Jr. I recall one particular incident when a tabloid publication called the office and tried to persuade me to give out Mr. Kennedy's private cell phone so he could call him at the funeral for an exclusive. I dealt with a myriad of individuals calling with Kennedy conspiracy theories about grassy knolls, second shooters, CIA hit squads and even alien abduction. The family is like catnip to these nuts.
As you can imagine, I hesitated before writing on this tragedy. Bobby and Mary were tremendously helpful in my personal and professional life. As a law professor, he wrote my recommendation for law school. As an employee, half of my law tuition was covered. He recommended me to the Connecticut bar. I was welcomed into their home.
Despite what the New York Times reported, the Kennedy home was very welcoming. It was not a gated compound as one would imagine. Each year the couple even hosted an annual picnic benefitting the Hudson Riverkeeper. Made up mostly of local blue collar fisherman, the event eventually outgrew the Kennedy home.
People seem to forget that the Kennedys are like any other family. Because of their "celebrity" status, their problems are brought to the forefront. What family doesn't deal with tragedy? I am sure many of us have relatives dealing with divorce, battling depression or even substance abuse. To people who met them, the couple was not Mr. or Mrs. Kennedy. They were simply Bobby and Mary. Mary was a devoted mother to six children who would always greet you with a smile. I only hope that the family finds some comfort in this time of tremendous sorrow.
A partner in the New Britain law firm of Podorowsky Thompson & Baron, Attorney Adrian Mark Baron is a nationally recognized, award winning legal writer. Adrian was recently named to the 2012 Superlawyer New England Rising Star list, a distinction given to less than 3 percent of attorneys in the state. For more information, please visit him on the web at hardwarecitylaw.com or contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Podorowsky Thompson & Baron is located at 202 Broad Street, New Britain.