Tales about Ted Kennedy, in case anyone’s actually interested
I got an email this week from a former bow-tied bum kisser at the Globe about a book he’s writing on Fat Boy — the late Sen. Ted Kennedy.
“My editors have asked me, in this Me Too era, to make sure that I have done a thorough search for incidents in which Sen. Kennedy’s behavior caused injury or harm to women.”
Wow. Talk about an open-ended order. The hagiographer, er biographer, mentioned that the usual incidents — Chappaquiddick, Palm Beach, La Brasserie — will “of course” rate chapters in his tome.
Of course they will.
“I am writing to see if you had been sent, or collected, reliable information on other incidents of untoward behavior that you believe I should pursue.”
First of all, pal, get copies of my two books on America’s “First Family,” “Kennedy Babylon: A Century of Scandal and Depravity,” Vols. 1 and 2, for sale at howiecarrshow.com/store.
When it comes to Kennedy behavior, I’d describe those volumes as “seminal,” except for that word’s derivation, if you get my drift. Kinda like describing the JFK presidency as “Camelot.”
Anyway, I forwarded the email to Gayle Fee, the last gossip columnist at this newspaper, who broke innumerable scandals about the family in general and Fat Boy in particular.
“The problem I always found,” she said, “was that you could never get anyone to go on — or off — the record about his bad behavior because they were either afraid or paid off or both …”
Exactly, Gayle. We all had that same problem.
Here’s one I never wrote about, until now. It’s second-hand, so it’s hearsay. But I believe it. A woman I went to college with had a close female friend who after Bobby’s assassination in 1968 worked briefly one summer as one of Ethel Kennedy’s nannies.
Teddy was often lurking around, playing the role of caring uncle, but at the same time, usually drunk as a skunk.
One afternoon in the early 1970’s, this young woman was down in the basement at Hickory Hill, rummaging around for a toy or something for one of the kids. Suddenly she heard a noise behind her. She turned around and saw the Liberal Lion, a drink in one hand, his swimsuit down around his ankles, swaying a bit, with a full … well, you know.
Horrified, she ran upstairs and immediately quit. Ethel lost more nannies that way.
How about the conversations on the Nixon White House tapes about Teddy’s alcoholism, and his abominable behavior at the Carlyle Hotel in New York, the site of so many Kennedy family orgies, some documented in FBI files.
At one point, Henry Kissinger tells Nixon how Teddy drunkenly chased an heiress up to her room and began beating on her door, demanding to be let in. She finally asked through the locked door, what happens if the newspapers find out about your behavior.
Kissinger told Nixon that this is what Fat Boy, drunk and in heat, responded: “No newspapers are going to print anything about me. I’ve got that covered.”
He was right about that, wasn’t he? At least when it comes to the Boston Globe.
Since the guy says he’s going to do a chapter on Chappaquiddick, he might include a little more background on Mary Jo Kopechne than most of these worshipful tracts dare to print.
Her first employer in Washington was Sen. George Smathers of Florida. Pre-Castro, Smathers and JFK used to travel to Havana together and patronize the Mob’s brothels, owned by gangsters Meyer Lansky and Santo Trafficante Jr. The hoods used to watch the senators in flagrante delicto, on the other side of the two-way mirrors they had installed in their bodello.
This is all on the record in T.J. English’s book, “Havana Nocturne,” easily available online. English is still around.
When Mary Jo was working for Smathers, her landlord was Bobby Baker, a longtime fixer in the Senate for Lyndon Johnson who later went to prison.
In addition to his, uh, duties for LBJ, Baker ran a “club” out of a D.C. hotel that offered an array of his own high-end ladies of the evening, one of whom was a gorgeous Elizabeth Taylor lookalike named Ellen Rometsch.
Baker introduced, shall we say, Rometsch to JFK. The president was so impressed with her services that he called Baker and thanked him for providing the hooker who JFK said had given him the best, uh, Lewinsky he had ever enjoyed.
A couple of months later, the suspected East German spy was deported. They had to get rid of her because Senate Republicans were sniffing around. RFK begged FBI boss J. Edgar Hoover to shut down the probe, and he did, in his usual way, threatening to release his XXX-rated blackmail material against senators of both parties.
I mention this only in context of the social circles in which Mary Jo Kopechne ran before Ted Kennedy drowned her, the first confirmed kill in the War on Women.
Any honest biographer of Ted would certainly want to recount all of this, I’m sure.
One last point: to put the whole Palm Beach scene into context, perhaps the scribe should mention how segregated PB was back in the days when the Kennedys were running amok.
Here’s a direct quote from National Review, in the April 10, 1962 issue, which no one has ever disputed: “No Negro is permitted to own a home in the President’s winter town.”
One more point, germane to both Palm Beach and Chappaquiddick, now that I think about it. After killing Mary Jo, one of the first calls Teddy made the next morning was to another of his girlfriends, Helga Wagner.
He needed the phone number of his brother-in-law, Steve Smith, the family fixer, who happened to be the father of William Kennedy Smith.
Willie was Teddy’s nephew, who was accused of raping the blue-dot woman at the family mansion in Palm Beach, Comfortably Numb
by the Sea, in 1991.
Helga Wagner is still around. She’s given interviews to People magazine. Her West Palm Beach jewelry shop has a listed phone number.
I hope this has been helpful to the bow-tied bumkisser emeritus. It’s the least I could do for a fellow hack.