“I don’t Care If You Are The Damn Kennedys! You Can’t Do Whatever You Please!”
When I was growing up, my family spent every summer on one of those quiet little New England islands the Kennedys have always invaded and the Obamas crash in an effort to look like people who actually enjoy island life they would never be caught dead among if not for all that money they need to fund their campaigns and phony life.
If you vacation on any of the islands off Massachusetts and Rhode Island, you are bound to run into a Kennedy sooner than later, and it’s always interesting to see how bootleg with money behaves in public—it’s not unlike the movie “Deliverance,” there’s just a lot more money and Harvard involved.
In other words: Their bratty kids behave far worse than yours!
Yes, this is a true story, and it involves one of the Kennedy wives and her hoard of kids. I won’t give names—did I mention it was a Kennedy— or the Island, but the incident happened around 1971 in a local island shop…and my mother and my aunt still don’t care that they disciplined and shamed a Kennedy mother and her bratty children.
After all, “who the hell do they think they are?”
How I wish the American people would have felt that way about Ted Kennedy’s reign of power…or the government’s reign of abuse over the American people: “Who the hell do they think they are?”
You can’t make this stuff up (or any of the nutty things that have happened to my family and give me so much material I could write a book) and you never forget it. I’m sure that hoard of Kennedys never forgot that day.
My mother and my aunt took my brothers and cousins and me shopping in the little town on the island. Salt water taffy was the treat we kids looked forward to, and still do, and that day we went to town to get taffy, beach supplies and clothing needed for the summer that we could only find on the island: Sturdy clothing mother called it—basically everything is made of canvas and it is all virtually indestructible: Canvas hats, pants, jackets and sneakers. In other words: nothing attractive.
I still remember the moment it happened. I was looking at the pretty clothing, the stuff not made for boats and worn by people who think what their boats are outfitted with should also decorate their bodies.
“Mommy, I like this sweater, it’s pretty.” And it’s not made out of canvas and rope!
“We’ll get something nice for going out, but you need something sturdier for playing.” My mother said. In other words, I needed to be overhauled into a human schooner.
“Mommy look,” I said, “This sweater is pink!” And it was cashmere mommy!
“Dear, come here and try on these Topsiders. I think you need a larger size so you can grow into them by July.” My mother said, assuming, like all mothers do, that children grow an entire foot size in one month. Never mind that we wear those big shoes for six months before they start to fit and then our mothers start sizing us for a new pair.
My mother and my aunt outfitted us kids, all the while letting us stuff our faces with salt water taffy that prevented our jaws from working so we could not protest any clothing we did not like.
It was at that moment that the shop door opened and a woman, and what seemed like 50 children because of the noise they were making, entered the shop. They were completely undisciplined and converged on the shop like starving maniacs converging on food festival at Bedlam.
Everyone in the shop stared at the woman and her noisy out-of-control pack of children who were tearing through the shelves of clothing like ransacking Barbarians entering Rome…or the Clintons leaving the White House.
Now my mother and my aunt were the quintessential queens of manners and good behavior. We kids were always told that our manners and behavior reflected on our family, and we were never to behave “unruly,” and “never fight in public,” and never under any circumstance were we to “scream or talk loudly in public: Not even if you are on fire!”
“What do I do if I am on fire mommy?” I asked once.
“Act like a lady—just like Joan of Arc. She never screamed, even when she was on fire, and even then she handled it with grace. And look how admired she is today.”
Yeah, that was the way to be remembered—barbequed by a bunch of bastard priests…and without a fight.
Joan of Arc would have cut herself from the staked and tied these brutish brats to it.
Cloths were being ripped from shelves, pulled on in a tug-of-war between some of the children, while others were opening up shoe boxes and trying shoes, they left on the floor, without asking the shopkeeper’s permission. And the mother of the ransacking mob acted as her children had every right to do this.
The shopkeeper did nothing, my mother and aunt seethed with annoyance at the disruption and the lack of discipline: “Who do they think they are?!” My mother asked her sister-in-law who was poised with her hands on her hips and look of outrage on her face.
Other customers complained: “Would you just look! Why I would never!”
Store shelves were no longer neat, clothing was everywhere but on the shelves and racks, and still, the woman did nothing to control her loud-mouthed, obnoxious children.
My mother and aunt, along with other shocked mothers, stood mouth agape. Some could be heard saying “It’s her!” and “Why doesn’t she control her children?”
My mother whispered to my aunt: “I’ll bet Jackie would never allow this!”
Oh my…the queens of good manners and good behavior brought the high holy queen of propriety into this one. You knew it was bad when Jackie’s name was mentioned with “would never do that!”
We kids were shocked over the fact there were children in existence, on this planet, who were allowed to do that without being “beaten within an inch of your life if you ever do that!”
Wow, I had never seen undisciplined human beings in action! So this is what “unruly” was like…and no wonder my mother and my aunt would have beaten us within an inch of our lives if we dared act like that—it was appalling!
Alfred Hitchcock would have been in awe at this fiendish spectacle of horror come to life; it was like that scene in “The Birds” when Tippie Hedren was being mauled by birds…only without the style and manners.
And that’s when it happened.
“Oh this is ridiculous!” My mother said loudly as she threw a pair of Topsiders back into a box. “Isn’t anyone in charge around here?!”
That was all the encouragement my “Patton in high heels” aunt needed to do what she and my mother never had a problem doing—disciplining unruly people in public.
Suddenly all eyes were on my mother and my aunt who were walking over to the woman with the hoard of obnoxious kids.
“Excuse me!” My aunt said, “Who you think you are letting your children come in and ransack this place? Some people control their children and don’t let them behave like brats in a public place. If those were my kids, they would get a good beating!”
“Well I never!” Replied the woman.
“Then maybe you’re the one who needs the good beating!” My aunt said. “You certainly never have trained your children to behave like anything other than animals!”
“Your children should to be disciplined,” my mother interjected, “they are tearing this store apart and making it difficult for the rest of us to shop. And you’re letting them do it! Aren’t you embarrassed?” my mother said.
That was followed by my mother saying “They’ll only wind up in prison someday if you don’t correct them now. You know what they say: Spare the rod, spoil the child!”
On that note, my brothers and me would never have to worry about seeing the inside of a prison!
I wondered if my mother and aunt were going to start tanning the rear ends of other people’s children. By-the-way, in those days, other people actually did do that. And no one thought anything of it.
The woman looked at my mother and aunt stunned, mortified, embarrassed; she didn’t know what to say now that my mother and aunt pointed out her failure as a mother of spoiled brats.
The “embarrassed” woman looked over at the other shoppers with embarrassment I once felt when my mother tanned my hide inside of Saks Fifth Avenue after I pulled on a dress on a mannequin. Both fell off the display.
“Is this your shop?” My aunt asked the woman, “Because, if it’s not, you have no right to come in here and act like a bunch of animals, tearing everything apart like its feeding time at the zoo!”
Wow, my mother and aunt were disciplining the other kid’s mom!
“Look at this mess!” My aunt said with one hand on her hip and the other pointing to the strewn clothing all over the store. “Look at this store! How can any of us shop now? Look what you people have done to this lovely store! Who the hell do you think people think you are?”
And with that the very embarrassed woman and her shocked and mouths-opened children started picking up everything they had “messed up” and put every, single piece of clothing back where they found it…neatly folded. And then the woman and her children quickly, and very quietly, walked out of the store.
“Honestly,” my mother said looking at my aunt, “who do they think they are, the damn Kennedys?!”
And that’s when we heard it: “Madame,” the shopkeeper said to my mother and aunt, “do you know who that was?”
“Madame,” my aunt replied with both hands on her hips, “I don’t care if those were the damn Kennedys; they have no right to come in here and do as they please, or behave like wild animals!”
The shopkeeper, who looked like she was about to pass out, replied in a sheepishly shocked voice: “Madame, those were the damn Kennedys.”
And without a single hesitation, my mother, who was not embarrassed by what she and my aunt had just done to a Kennedy, looked at my aunt and said: “Well, no wonder Jackie keeps her children away from those Kennedys!”
And that was that!
It would not, however, be the last time my mother, or my aunt, would discipline—or insult—a celebrity in public. I would spend my childhood witnessing my mother’s and my aunt’s drive-bys with awe.
If only people did things like that today, we wouldn’t be so messed up politically and culturally.