Remembering Ted Kennedy

Bill Warren

In the fall of 1962 I had taken employment at FAO Schwartz. One evening after the store closed some friends and I went to Locke-Obers for dinner. The restaurant was a favorite place of the Kennedy family men, Jack, Bobby and Ted.

If you have ever been to Locke-Ober's you will know that it is a small dining area with lots more tables than the space really permits. With chairs around each table the backs of the chairs all scrape into the backs of the chairs at the tables nearest where one sits. My friends and I were in the midst of some meaningless conversation when one of them said to me, “Hey there is Teddy … the guy you look like."

I looked over at the table to which he was pointing and, yes, there was Teddy. With urging, but not very much from my friends, I went over to his table and introduced myself and told him I had a confession to make. He shook my hand and indicated I should tell him my confession.

The Confession

I told Teddy that so many people had thought that I looked like him and had asked me for my autograph, and I had gotten tired to saying that I was not Ted Kennedy, that I began handing out “Ted Kennedy” autographs that I wrote on the spot when asked. I told Ted that probably more than 100 people had gotten autographs written by me, and I hoped he did not mind.

Ted and his brothers laughed at my story. Ted agreed that we sort of resembled one another. Then he said that I should continue offering my autographs in his name. When I returned to my table, my friends were all laughing along with everyone in the restaurant who had been listening to my story.

From that day until this one, I have told most of the people that I know about meeting Ted Kennedy. Some people believe me and others tell me it is just another of my almost real tales. My wife thinks it is real because of the way I looked in 1962, and she knows I still talk to strangers everywhere I go — to dinner, to the grocery store, in line to anywhere, etc.

My opinion was then and still is that Senator Ted Kennedy knew how to be an "everyman's guy", and he could see the humor in my writing autographs in his name. So, if you have an autograph that looks not quite like his, perhaps you have mine in his name.

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September, 2009