The Star-News

His name lives on

Sat, Nov 05 2011 12:00 PM Posted By: Carlos R. Davalos

My first contact with him was years ago under suspicious circumstances.

He had sent a letter to the editor that was mocking a Republican policy of the time. It was signed Ted Kennedy of Chula Vista.

Knowing the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port, Mass., was as far removed from Chula Vista as tax increases are from GOP platforms, I wondered if someone was goofing on me.

When we finally made contact Kennedy assured me he was the real deal, though he wasn't that other Ted Kennedy.

Our Ted Kennedy was a prolific writer. He'd often submit three or four letters a week and tell me to print which ever one seemed most appropriate. Given that they were often funny and insightful, the task was more daunting than it might seem. Kennedy had a loyal following and I was often told his letters were the only reason The Star-News was worth reading.

When two years ago Kennedy's political namesake Sen. Ted Kennedy died he wrote the following:

"Ted Kennedy is dead. I have wondered if I would write this letter for over a year now - ever since he started undergoing treatment for his brain tumor.

...It has been an honor, privilege and an often amusing adventure to share this name. It has led to many questioning looks and in some cases even outright hostility or disbelief when asked my name and I reply, Ted Kennedy.

...Jump ahead a few years and now I am out in the real world but still under the Kennedy shadow. On the first vote at the Salina, Kansas, Elks Club I was "blackballed" when I applied for a membership. On the next go round I was welcomed with open arms after my sponsor made it clear that I was one of the Kansas Kennedys and not related to the Massachusetts clan.

...A few years back I MC'd a small political gathering and had the opportunity to introduce the keynote speaker, Rep. Bob Filner, whose opening remark was, 'I always like to be introduced by Ted Kennedy.' That got us quite a laugh...

So, Teddy, I am sure going to miss all the fun we had but I will do my best to carry on the traditions even knowing that in just a few more short years no one is going to remember either one of us. So long, Ted. It's been a half-century hoot."

Yes, sir. It was. Thank you, Mr. Kennedy, for the laughs. Hope you and the senator are having fun wherever you are. Rest in peace.

© 2009 The Star-News