August 27th, 2009
06:18 PM ET

Saying goodbye to a neighbor

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Kay Jones
AC360° Coordinating Editorial Producer

The streets were starting to fill up around 11: 45a.m. this morning, as residents of the Cape Cod area came out to pay their respects to Sen. Ted Kennedy's family as they brought his body to Boston.

I've spoken to many of the locals over the past few days and very few were willing to go on camera, but they were all willing to talk about their lives on the Cape, and their experiences with the Senator.

One woman I met last night told me that she and her husband are one of a small number of people who live here year round. She gave me a history of the area, including the street where the Kennedy compound stands and how the property was designed.

She actually laughed at me when I asked about the compound because she said it's really just four houses on land that is adjacent. She went on to tell me who owned what house and when.

I wish I'd had a tape recorder to get it all down because it was so fascinating, but unfortunately the notes I took now look like chicken scratch and I cannot begin to tell you who bought what house when.

She also pointed out other homes in the area, including one owned by Kennedy's sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who passed away just a few short weeks ago.

While walking around the neighborhood where the Kennedy's have spent so much time over the years, I could see why they love it so much. Children were barefoot on their bikes, looking like they were about to go to – or just got out of – the ocean. Men and women were walking dogs around the block, and stopping along their path to say hello to neighbors. And everyone smiles and waves at you as you drive by – a mark of a great, small community.

One man David Gergen and I met this afternoon told us of growing up just two houses away from where JFK lived. He told of the helicopter coming in to drop JFK off, and of watching the various children and grandchildren grow up. He moved out of the area several years ago, but told me he felt like he needed to come back, just to say goodbye.

During the processional today, as the family left the compound, scores of residents lined Scudder Avenue and waved, smiled, clapped and cried as the hearse carrying the senator's body passed by. In the limo directly behind the hearse, Kennedy's widow, Vicki, waved to well wishers and mouthed "Thank You".

And the line of cars made its way down the street and up to Boston, where Sen. Kennedy's body will lie in repose and the family prepares to say a final goodbye.

Filed under: Kay Jones • Sen. Ted Kennedy
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. lee johnson

    Dido to Chery's note/ blog before mine. I too remember when our former Pres. John Kennedy passed and I was just 11 years old. When I saw my 6th grade teacher cry and his attempt to explain to the class what a great loss this had been, and as I walked home from school everyone including my parents were crying. It was if the world had stop and all life was destine to cease. Then their were other "Greats" passing, MLK, Robert Kennedy and now Ted Kennedy. I feel in my "hearts of hearts" that Senator Kennedy was solely instrumental in the election and execution of the office in which the now President Barrack O'bama seats and occupies. We the minorities in this country as other countries, Thank him and love him for the faith and belief for change. Please and Blessings to the remainder's of the Kennedy's clan!

    August 28, 2009 at 2:20 am |
  2. Jan

    Hi Anderson,
    Maybe the best comment about Ted Kennedy is nothing in regards to the other brothers in terms of overall success. No doubt he made a tremendous accomplishment in Congress. But, accountability and other human life values has to be a factor within our society. Longevity and wealth does not change actions that he is responsible for such as loss of life.
    Here is a thought...Maybe we need Icons that can make a better example rather than elitism that negates accountability. Then, the global community will respect us based on those of us that make every day contributions as members?

    August 28, 2009 at 1:05 am |
  3. ann in kensington

    As I remember it, in the beginning of his career, Edward Kennedy was the least impressive of the Kennedy brothers...but he certainly proved what type of man he was...he was able to build himself an impressive reputation as a public servant ,and the respect that goes with it. He was also a wonderful, caring human being. It is the unknown stories about his good deeds and empathy for others that are being told in the hours since his passing by so many whose life he touched that prove the true measure of this giant of a man...I believe that we have not felt the real impact of the empty chair he has left in the senate. I, for one, will miss his voice in politics greatly. I am truely saddened that my grandchildren will not have him in their world.

    August 27, 2009 at 11:55 pm |
  4. Mary Frangos

    Born in Western Massachusetts many years ago, I grew up with the Kennedys – the good old days are gone now and I miss them all and forever will.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:59 pm |
  5. davey71

    I would like to see a program done on the houses in the Kennedy compound. We all grew up with this great family and have heard all the stories of their lives there, it would be fascinating to actually see where this history too place

    August 27, 2009 at 10:21 pm |
  6. Cheryl Schopff

    I am from Saskatchewan, Canada and since I was a girl in high school I admired the Kennedy family, starting with John F Kennedy, whom tears flowed freely at his passing, then along came Bobby and the feelings were the same.........then Ted, these men had such charm, strength , I think what struck me the most about Ted Kennedy was his love for his country, love for the common people and his strength and ambitious nature. When he wanted something he went for it and never looked back. I think the country has loss a great person, great politician.
    I sent him well wishes some time ago when he first got sick and he replied with " thank you for your kindness", which I never expected. He will be missed by all who knew him.......May God keep him in the palm of his hand and may his family find peace knowing that he is alright.

    August 27, 2009 at 9:58 pm |
  7. vicente calderon

    Mr Ted Kennedy was a great man, we lost a good person god bless him and his family.

    August 27, 2009 at 9:46 pm |
  8. Annie Kate

    It sounds like a great neighborhood, a neighborhood that Ted Kennedy would enjoy and fit right in. Didn't Jackie Kennedy own a house there before her death? I wonder who will now own the main house of the compound that used to belong to Rose and Joe. I hope they keep it in the family and do not sell it. It would be strange to think of some other family living in that house where the Kennedys spent so much time and experienced such happiness and sometimes such grief.

    Great article Kay – thank you for doing this one.

    August 27, 2009 at 9:08 pm |
  9. Moses

    I wish more politicians were as passionate as the senator from Massachusetts. How often do we read stories about how much a politician touched his or her neighbors, and I mean in a good way!
    Great article.

    August 27, 2009 at 8:38 pm |
  10. Lori, IL

    Kay, I visited the Cape and the Kennedy "compound" years ago. I, too, was surprised by the by the lack of security - or the need for it. It seemed to be just another small town, albeit a beautiful one. I understand why the Kennedy's loved to spend time there.

    The John Kennedy Memorial Library is a fitting place for Senator Kennedy to lay in repose - a beautiful and inspiring building right on the bay.

    Thanks, Kay, for sharing your experience.

    August 27, 2009 at 8:14 pm |
  11. nitpicker

    Either say 11:45 am or 11:45 this morning – to say both is redundant and wordy.

    Other than that – nice article. Shows the more human side of this last Kennedy son....

    August 27, 2009 at 8:07 pm |
  12. Dona

    As they say thanks for the memories.. I remember I was going to math class and they told us JFK had been killed... Man that was one time I wish i was not living in CA.. so many problems...
    We had so many problems back then.. but now some how seems worse.. Our children need to be back with Mom at home.. back to the 50's... (Even tho my mom worked then.. but in the 60's she was home and it helped alot.).
    Its such a shame he can't be here to see the Health issures throw... He was a wonderful man who has made a few bad turns.. but all young people do... Maybe he was not ment to be Pres. he was ment to do all the good he did in the seneate.
    Thanks for your wonderful reporting... Lots of people for prominate families have children with problems and they get better or they start out good and get better... Just look at yourself.. what a wonderful young man you are and what good work you do... Keep up the great work you do... love watching you...

    August 27, 2009 at 7:57 pm |
  13. Wynoma Hollis

    Senator Kennedy was one of a kind; he fought for the underdog. Jesus did to. I have no doubt, I will see him again in the resurrection. Until then, 'rest in peace'


    August 27, 2009 at 7:54 pm |
  14. michelle mundell

    Watched much of the footage as they got ready to leave Hyannis Port. Suddenly all of these people who were kids like me in the sixties and early seventies are all grown ups (like me). Good to see Chris Lawford, Rep. Patrick Kennedy and others. Very moving as they observed Senator Kennedy's body leaving the house for the last time. As someone who is 46, I have never known a world without Senator Ted Kennedy. What are we to become without his leadership in the Senate? The torch is truly now passed.

    August 27, 2009 at 7:44 pm |
  15. Tricia


    August 27, 2009 at 7:41 pm |