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Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
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November 23, 2022 3:02 am

Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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November 23, 2022 3:02 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, Joe and Rose Kennedy’s strikingly beautiful daughter Rosemary Kennedy—the younger sister of President John F. Kennedy—was intellectually disabled, a secret fiercely guarded by her powerful and glamorous family. Here to tell the story is Kate Clifford Larson, author of Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter.

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Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there. This is Lee Habib and this is Our American Stories, the show where America is the star and the American people. And to share your stories with us, send them to ouramericanstories.com. Our listeners' stories, your stories, they're some of our favorites. Joe and Rose Kennedy's strikingly beautiful daughter Rosemary Kennedy, the younger sister of President John F. Kennedy, was intellectually disabled, a secret fiercely guarded by her powerful and glamorous family. Here to tell the story is Kate Clifford Larson, author of Rosemary, the Hidden Kennedy Daughter.

Let's take a listen. Back in 2005, Rosemary Kennedy died. It was January and there was a beautiful obituary of her in the Boston Globe. And it was like two or three paragraphs, lovely picture. And I read it and it just touched me. And of course, as a New Englander, I knew about the Kennedy family and, you know, they're like New England royalty.

And I knew about Rosemary, but I didn't know much. And at the time I was starting work on another book. So I knew that I didn't have much time, but I felt that I needed to go to the Kennedy Library and see if there was material that I could write an article for, like the Boston Globe magazine section or something. But in 2008, I finally went to the JFK Library thinking, you know, again, I would just write an article because nothing had been written about her in the three years between 2005 and 2008. And I happened to arrive at a time when they were opening up Rose Kennedy's, some of her collection of diaries and letters and journals and things like that. They were part of the Joseph P. Kennedy papers, the Kennedy father, and the family had gifted his voluminous papers back in the 1990s. But the gift came with restrictions that certain portions of the archive would be opened on a timetable.

And that timetable goes out to like 2030. Well, this was the time that it was OK to open up Rose's papers. And so I started going through them and there was Rosemary in Rose's diary entries, in letters back and forth between she and her husband with the other children and Rosemary's own letters that she had written as a young girl and adult woman. And I knew then that I could write a biography, not just an article, because I had a little bit of Rosemary's voice. And because I was so focused on Rosemary, it appeared to me fairly quickly that by putting Rosemary at the center of the Kennedy story, that family looks a little different.

Actually, it looks a lot different. And so I just knew that her story was important to tell because no one had really told it before. I felt so lucky to be able to do that. So I started the project going through those voluminous papers. And as I would go to the library over the years, more and more papers were being opened up, which just kind of extended the length of the project. At the same time, as I was trying to figure out how to write this biography and learning about Joe and Rose and what they were doing to try to help and treat Rosemary's disabilities, which I will talk about in a minute.

My son, who was a freshman in college, developed schizophrenia, very serious, debilitating schizophrenia. And that put our world on hold and turned it upside down. And so my book project had to go on hold while we sought treatment for him. And fortunately, he's doing very well today, but it was it was quite a long, painful journey for us. So going through that made me look at Joe and Rose a little differently and the way they sought to take care of Rosemary.

I decided I couldn't be quite as harsh as I was going to be. So to give you an idea of what they did and what Rosemary's life was like. She was born in September of 1918 in the middle of the Spanish influenza epidemic that was sweeping across the country. Millions of people were dying. Millions were sick and surviving. And it was hitting Boston for the second time. And thousands of people were dying.

Thousands were in the hospitals and sick. Rose was blessed that their family was not touched by it at the time. But she went into labor on September 13th and Joe was already becoming a successful businessman.

They had two little boys at home, Joe Jr. and Jack, who would go on to become our president. They had arranged for a nurse to be living with them at the time, knowing that Rose would go into labor at any minute. Sure enough, Rose went into labor and the nurse who was staying them called the doctor, Dr. Frederick Good, to come and assist in the birth.

But he couldn't come quickly because he was at the hospital treating patients with influenza. So the nurse did what she could to make Rose comfortable. And nurses at the time were trained to make the mother comfortable and actually to help forestall the birth until the doctor could arrive to deliver the baby.

That was the protocol. Even though the nurses were trained how to deliver a baby in an emergency, they were taught also how to keep things going slowly, which is what she did for Rose. But this is Rose's third birth and the baby's coming quickly. So she wants to push and the nurse is like, don't push, don't push. Well, any woman who has gone through childbirth knows that you can't help but push.

It's just that biological thing. So the nurse told her to cross her legs and it was like, that doesn't work. So she held Rose's legs together.

That didn't work. The baby is crowning and the nurse held the baby back in the birth canal until the doctor could arrive two hours later. And you've been listening to author Kate Clifford Larson tell the story of Rosemary Kennedy. And as she said, by putting Rosemary at the center of the Kennedy family, the family looked a lot different. More of the story of Rosemary Kennedy, the Kennedy no one knew much about when we return here on Our American Stories. Lee Habib here, the host of Our American Stories. Every day on this show, we're bringing inspiring stories from across this great country, stories from our big cities and small towns.

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That's betterhelp.com slash black effect. And we return to our American stories. On September 13th, 1918, while Rose Kennedy went into labor with baby Rosemary, her doctor, Dr. Good, was busy attending patients stricken with the deadly Spanish flu. Although the nurse was trained to deliver babies, she nonetheless tried to halt the birth to await the doctor's arrival. By forcing the baby's head to stay in the birth canal for two hours, the nurse's actions resulted in a harmful loss of oxygen to Rosemary's brain.

Let's return to Kate Clifford Larson. He delivers little Rosemary, who seems to be the perfect little child. She barely fussed.

She barely cried. She was just, Joe and Rose thought it was a gift from heaven. And Rose was so happy because she had this little girl. She had sisters who she loved and she had these two little boys, but she really wanted a girl. And here's beautiful baby Rosemary, the sweetest baby.

So this lovely little family in Brookline, Massachusetts, they're very happy. And as Rosemary ages as an infant, they begin to notice that her development is different than it was for the boys. She rolled over much later. She sat up much later. She crawled much later and stood up much later and walked much later than the boys. She had difficulty feeding herself, as the other boys had learned, you know, when they were toddlers.

So they just assumed that, well, boys are faster and develop faster and smarter and it's OK. Little girls do things slower, which I don't know where they got that idea, but that's what they thought. In the meantime, Rose gets pregnant again. She delivers Kathleen or Kick in 1920. And then immediately after that, Eunice is born in 1921. And they notice that Rosemary still seems developmentally slow, but then Kick comes along and she develops just like the boys did. And Eunice advances even faster. She's like, you know, talking as she's a year old, you know, typical Eunice.

As we came to know, she was quite a powerful woman. So Rose and Joe started to become concerned. Rosemary was having a difficult time learning how to ride a tricycle. She couldn't figure out how to steer and pedal. And then they enrolled her at the local elementary school. And the teachers recognized even in the early 1920s that there was something different about Rosemary, that she was not at the same place as her five year old cohort. And so they kept Rosemary back at least once, possibly twice in kindergarten. So Rose and Joe were frustrated, but they kept moving along and having more children. And Rosemary just was part of it. And Joe was becoming more and more successful. And eventually they moved to New York.

And so his career on Wall Street would blossom more. And they enrolled Rosemary and all the children in local public schools and the older boys in private schools. But it was just becoming more and more of a struggle for Rosemary.

She was frustrated. Kick went to kindergarten and first grade and eventually she advanced beyond Rosemary in grades and then Eunice. And Rosemary was noticing this.

It was like, you know, hey, what's going on here? And one thing I have to say about the Kennedys is they raised their children to be each other's best friend. That their siblings came first and foremost and that they were to look out for each other and the older ones especially were charged with looking out for the younger ones. But they were a community. They were a family unit and they came first.

And so the kids learned to accommodate Rosemary. You know, she was slow on the tennis court. Well, they congratulated her for whatever she could do on the tennis court. When they'd go sailing, she didn't know how to sail, but she would be their sailing partner. And when they won a race, they would congratulate her too. They were really good about that. And I credit Joe and Rose for making sure that Rosemary was always included.

And of course, that speaks to Eunice as an adult becoming this head of Special Olympics and the issue of inclusion and accommodating people with different abilities. So that was like the magic of what the Kennedys did. But Joe was becoming very frustrated and so was Rose and they were concerned because they wanted their children to excel at everything and Rosemary just wasn't. And by the time she was 11 years old, they decided that they would send her to a special school outside of Philadelphia called the Devereux School. And it was like one of a kind in the country. It was developed by Helen Devereux, who had devised this program for children with intellectual disabilities in Philadelphia. And she created a private school out of it. So it was a boarding school. Unfortunately, an 11 year old Rosemary was sent to this boarding school away from this family cocoon that loved her and nurtured her and accommodated her and made her feel whole to this school far away.

And she fell apart. Another issue that the Kennedys had to confront and deal with is because they were devout Catholics, particularly Rose, who was deeply, profoundly invested in her faith. The Catholic Church had a very, it was not a very enlightened view of people with disabilities, particularly intellectual disabilities, and they had a policy to not give First Communion to, confirmation to young people with intellectual disabilities. They argued that they were not cognitively aware enough to accept Jesus into their lives and understand what being a good Catholic was all about. So they routinely refused to give the sacraments to children with Down syndrome and other people with different intellectual disabilities.

And that practice continued through the 20th century. So Joe and Rose, whatever they did, they made sure that Rosemary was able to, quote unquote, pass those tests. And she did. I mean, she could, as a young girl, she could, she was giggly, she could talk. But as she aged, you know, she probably was like an eight year old, but she was 20 years old. So she could do those Catholic requirements and those sacraments given her particular intellectual level. But it certainly must have been a concern for Rose and Joe at the time. For many children with intellectual disabilities, they are also emotionally immature as well. So she really could not handle being in the school. But the school had these rules and two of them were they had to behave and they had to do well in school.

And if they didn't, they would not be able to go home for Thanksgiving. For Rosemary, that was an impossible requirement. And so her letters in the library are so touching. She's writing her letters. So she's 11 years old and there's lots of punctuation errors, spelling errors. But she gets the message across, particularly to her father. Oh, Daddy, guess what? I'm getting A's in all my classes and I'm doing really well.

Like, you know, I basically can't wait to come home for Thanksgiving. In the meantime, the teachers and the administrators are writing him and telling him she's getting C's and D's. She doesn't understand that, of course, they're going to tell her parents what the truth is. I do not know if she went home for Thanksgiving. I would imagine that she did, knowing Rose would have wanted her to come home anyway. Until she was 18, for the next seven years, she went to five different boarding schools. The goal of the parents was to get her educated and they felt that all these different schools were failing her.

Well, of course, they weren't equipped because they didn't know how to do that. And Rosemary, they didn't want to accept that Rosemary was intellectually disabled. And Joe went on this campaign interviewing doctor after doctor, taking Rosemary to so many different doctors to cure her. And you're listening to the story of Rosemary Kennedy, as told by Kate Clifford Larson, author of Rosemary, the hidden Kennedy daughter. And Rosemary is clearly having troubles learning and clearly by almost any standard as cognitive disabilities. But Joe and Rose simply refused to accept that and they keep pushing her to excel like her siblings.

And that's just not possible. Five more boarding schools after the first in Philadelphia. And of course, this had to create tremendous emotional discord for the girl who, well, her real family that took care of her and loved her like none else. Well, she was separated for them. Add to that the burden of her cognitive disabilities and the burden of having to be what she couldn't be.

When we come back, more of this remarkable story, the story of Rosemary Kennedy and the story of so much more, particularly how the world and the Catholic Church viewed cognitive disabilities here on Our American Stories. OK, so you never became a professional soccer star, but you could still show out during the FIFA World Cup 2022 with cool soccer swag from your friends at Frito-Lay. Frito-Lay, the official USA snack of the FIFA World Cup 2022, is giving you the chance to win custom swag and amazing prizes by joining their pass the ball challenge. Just grab a specially marked bag of Lays, Cheetos or Doritos, scan the QR code and look for the Golden World Soccer Ball. Be part of history by adding your picture to the Golden Ball. Explore the ever growing soccer community, find friends on the ball and receive a one of a kind collectible NFT.

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Find that right plan for you. Visit UHCMedicareHealthPlans.com. And we return to our American stories and the story of Rosemary Kennedy and her father's unwillingness to accept his daughter's intellectual disability. Let's return to Kate Clifford Larson. I recall notes from one particular doctor in Boston. He was a specialist in endocrinology. He was famous at the time and he wrote Joe that he was thinking he would give Rosemary hormone injections every week for like a year.

And he guaranteed that she would be 100 percent OK. So here's this 14 year old girl already going through puberty. And this doctor in the 19 early 1930s is injecting her with hormones. And Rosemary starts becoming emotionally unstable. It's sort of like she's developing bipolar. She has these tremendous highs and lows. She lashes out at people.

She has these rageful events where she hits people and screams and kicks. And life is very difficult for Rosemary and for the people around her. In the meantime, all the other kids are growing up and they're doing well in school and they're the pride and joy of their parents.

Rosemary is now 20 years old. The family moves to Great Britain because Joe, who's been involved in FDR's administration during the Great Depression, and he has been appointed to several positions in the government and for a reward for doing so well. He is appointed the ambassador in Great Britain and they go and Rose is just thrilled to be on the world stage. And she's such a political human being. She just loved all that attention and the politics and the pomp and circumstance. But they decided to bring all the children.

They do everything as a family. So everyone goes over, including Rosemary, but they have to protect Rosemary. They don't want her out in public because they realize that if people or reporters talk to her within a few minutes, you figure out there's something different about Rosemary. So they protect her and they hide her.

They have her presented to the king and queen of England during the debutante season, along with her sister, Kick. She's the rave of London newspapers because Rosemary is so beautiful. They just can't get over how beautiful she is. And because she has been taught by her parents not to say much in public, she appears coy and shy. But her smile is so captivating.

The press just can't get enough of her. And interestingly, Rose was disappointed in this. She wanted them to pay attention to Kick.

But Kick was outgoing and friendly and all of that. But she wasn't quite as beautiful as Rosemary. But they struggled and how to keep her busy and learning.

And it was up against Rosemary wanting independence. She sees Joe and Jack, her older brothers, going out and partying. Her sister, Kick, going out with them and partying. And she resented that she wasn't allowed to go out. And in some of her letters, she mentioned she likes boys and she wants to go to dances. And her family is so frightened of that. And her brothers, you know, whenever they went to functions, her brothers would fill out her dance cards so that they would always be dancing with her.

And she resented that she wanted to dance with other young men. So the family was always on high alert. So, you know, I think we can underestimate the stress that the Kennedys were under in trying to keep Rosemary with them as much as possible. In the Kennedy Library, in the letters, there are so many people that are advising them to put her in an institution and just leave her there.

And Rose and Joe were adamant that she was not going to be committed to an institution and live out her days there. But they were very concerned. You know, during the Great Depression, there was the kidnapping craze.

I'll put, you know, quotation marks around that. But they were afraid because they were one of the wealthiest families in the country at the time of the Great Depression, when so many people lost so much money and they were afraid that someone like Rosemary would be kidnapped because she was so trusting and she would walk up to people. And so they worried she might be kidnapped.

They started practicing in the United States. But when they got to England, they really doubled down on this. They hired young women, British women or Irish women, to be Rosemary's companion no matter where she went so that she always had someone with eyes on her and she viewed them as her girlfriends. And, you know, it really was very effective because they wanted Rosemary to travel around Europe like all the other siblings were. And sometimes they'd allow her to go separately on short little trips with these young women that they hired to travel with Rosemary. A lot of times they connected her with Catholic nuns in different communities around Europe. But she went everywhere with them when they did big trips together like skiing in the Swiss Alps or going to Cannes or going to Italy, going to Rome to the Pope's coronation.

Rosemary was always there with them. She traveled with them. And, you know, she was part of all those pictures and movies that the news media would take of all the kids traveling around in Pompeii, you know, sightseeing. And they would show that film in movie theaters around the United States.

You know, they'd have these news clips before the films would start and there's the Kennedys, you know, walking around Pompeii. So she was part of their life, but it was very choreographed and very tightly controlled, which, again, she resented. But they worried constantly that she would be lured away or, you know, some man would lure her away because she was anxious to meet young men and party and have fun like her siblings. And they just knew that intellectually and emotionally she would be taken advantage of. They felt the danger was lurking and they could not afford that any longer.

At least Joe felt he had to put a stop to it. Eventually, Rose, who had a strong relationship with the Catholic Church, enrolled Rosemary in an Assumption Academy School in London. The head of the school, Mother Eugenie, had been trained by Maria Montessori in Italy and she brought the Montessori Method to this Assumption School in London. And it turns out she decided to bring Rosemary into the school and tell her that they were training her to be a preschool assistant teacher, because Rosemary could read magazines and children's books and so, you know, she could do that with little children. And she used Montessori Methods with Rosemary to teach her things like math and they would have dishes that she would have to do after dinner. So they'd have her count the dishes and the silverware. That's just a simple example of what Sister Eugenie would do.

It worked miracles with Rosemary and she felt so important and useful. But World War II was knocking on the door of England and the Kennedys felt they needed to evacuate the kids in the fall of 1939 as Hitler was starting to march across Western Europe. So Rose left with all the other children except they decided to leave Rosemary because she was so happy and the school moved to the outskirts of London so it wouldn't be in danger of being bombed, etc.

And she thrived there throughout the winter and into the spring of 1940, but it was getting too dangerous. So they brought her back to the United States. And you've been listening to Kate Clifford Larson, author of Rosemary, the Hidden Kennedy Daughter. And what a story she's telling about this daughter of Rose and Joe Kennedy. And my goodness, at the time they are practically superstars, the Kennedy family.

And this is long before, of course, President Kennedy. Joseph is ambassador to the United States in Great Britain. The whole family is along with him.

Their lives are captured in movie reels. Joseph Jr. is a superstar in his own right. And young Patrick is dashing and handsome and capturing the world's attention too. And then there's Rosemary, whom the Kennedy family worried about tremendously.

And Joseph, he just simply refused to accept his daughter's cognitive disability, at one point injecting hormones into her body in her mid-teens in an effort to just, well, see if he could save her from her disability. When we come back, more of the story of Rosemary Kennedy, the Hidden Kennedy Daughter, after these messages, here on Our American Stories. Frito-Lay, the official USA snack of the FIFA World Cup 2022, is giving you the chance to win custom swag and amazing prizes by joining their Pass the Ball challenge. Just grab a specially marked bag of Lay's, Cheetos, or Doritos, scan the QR code, and look for the Golden World Soccer Ball. Be part of history by adding your picture to the Golden Ball. Explore the ever-growing soccer community, find friends on the ball, and receive a one-of-a-kind collectible NFT.

Then, pass the ball to fellow soccer fans and play daily games for a chance to score custom swag, like limited edition jerseys, duffel bags, scarves, and balls. Visit FritoLayScore.com or scan the QR code on specially marked bags of Lay's, Cheetos, or Doritos to pass the ball. And you could win amazing Frito-Lay prizes. No purchase necessary.

Open to legal residence at 50 USDC, 18 plus C rules at FritoLayScore.com. Our 2022 iHeartRadio Jingle Ball, presented by Capital One. Y'all ready to have some fun? Starring Zua Lipa, Lizzo, Charlie Puth, The Backstreet Boys, The Kid LeRoy, AJR, and more. The biggest holiday party of the year, Jingle Ball!

Our iHeartRadio Jingle Ball, coming live from New York to the CW app and CWtv.com on December 9th. Everything is more expensive these days, with inflation rising, Medicare beneficiaries living on a fixed income, are concerned about increasing costs. Make your Medicare dollars go further by picking the right plan. Start by looking for a plan that gives you more. For example, many Medicare Advantage plans include dental, vision, and hearing benefits. While original Medicare doesn't. Learn more about plan costs beyond premiums, such as deductibles, co-pays, and drug coverage. Find that right plan for you.

Visit UHCmedicarehealthplans.com. And we return to our American stories. Rosemary Kennedy was thriving in Britain during the winter and spring of 1940, but Hitler's march across Western Europe was making her stay too dangerous. Let's return to Kate Clifford Larson. She was heartbroken, really heartbroken. And she struggled deeply, and it was a struggle for Rose, too, who was not used to having Rosemary around all the time. Eventually, she was placed back into a convent school. You know, she's 22 years old, and she's back at a convent school in Washington, D.C. She's angry and frustrated, can't understand why this is happening to her.

She escapes from the convent at night, and the nuns find her at 2 o'clock in the morning, and she's been drinking, and her clothes are all disheveled. And so the Kennedys were desperately afraid that something tawdry was going to happen, and so Joe investigated what was being touted as a miracle cure for brain diseases and issues, and that was the prefrontal lobotomy. And the experiments were going on at the George Washington Hospital there in Washington, D.C. And the two doctors, James Watts and Walter Freeman, were experimenting on people, and they were telling the public that these surgeries were a miracle, that most people came out of the surgery with their frontal lobes cut off, basically, and they were able to live happy, healthy, independent lives.

But when I looked at their research, it was the exact opposite. Most people came out of the surgery not able to live independently. Sixteen percent of them died. The lobotomy was such a scary thing. So there was a European doctor, he was from Spain, who developed the technique in the 1930s. Eventually he won a Nobel Prize for the procedure, which is shocking today, and I think doctors are just, they can't believe that this man was given this honor. It did, so don't get me wrong, it did help some people with very specific brain issues, but it was used on far too many people. And in the United States, it started to be used a lot on women who they viewed were out of control, quote unquote. Prostitutes were lobotomized, teenage boys were lobotomized if they seemed wild.

Any person that's kind of straight out of the norm at the time could be subject to a lobotomy. So Rose apparently learned of this surgery that Joe was interested in having Rosemary undergo, and she talked to Kick about it, who was then a reporter for a newspaper in Washington. Kick investigated them and told her mother, you know, Mom, this is not good. We shouldn't have Rosemary do this.

The results are just not good. She knew, but Joe went ahead and had Rosemary lobotomized anyway. And the doctors cut too much, and she came out of that surgery unable to walk, basically talk coherently. She was incontinent.

She was actually quite disabled on her left side. And so and sometimes when I tell this story to audiences, people say, well, why didn't Joe go back and sue those doctors? Well, that didn't happen back then. It just and first of all, he didn't want anyone to know that she was lobotomized. So he wasn't about to sue them.

And that's what happened to Rosemary. And also, when I looked for her records there, I could not find them. So whether they had been sealed because of the HIPAA laws that were passed back in 2000, I don't know. But I could not find a trace of her in the records. And she certainly was not able to live independently. She was now requiring 24 hour care. So they placed her in Craig House, which was a psychiatric facility in Beacon, New York. Famous celebrities went there, but it was not an appropriate facility for Rosemary. She didn't have psychiatric issues at that time. She needed physical and occupational therapy.

She didn't get it there. And who knows what kind of treatment she received there. Nobody saw Rosemary, apparently, except maybe Joe did after the surgery in November of 1941. Rose stopped including Rosemary in her round robin letters that she would send out to all the children. She would list all their names at the top of the letter and send copies to all the children. But Rosemary's name was no longer on those letters.

She just was dropped. Ted Kennedy said in one of his memoirs that he remembered that Rosemary just disappeared. He was never told what happened to her.

And so he thought to himself at nine years old that he better behave or he might disappear too. Joe and Jack and Kick did correspond with their father about Rosemary's health. I do not know if they knew that she'd had a lobotomy.

I'm sure Kick surmised that she did. But Jack didn't see his sister until 1958 when he started on the exploring in the campaign trail for the presidency. He took a secret side trip to Jefferson, Wisconsin, which was where Rosemary was eventually sent to a St. Coletta's Catholic facility for children with intellectual disabilities and adults. And what he saw shocked him. I imagine that Eunice saw Rosemary for the first time about the same time. Rose did not see her daughter until 1962. That was more than 20 years later. That was stunning to me when I learned that she did not see her daughter for more than 20 years, knowing what had happened to her. According to the nuns that were taking care of Rosemary at St. Coletta's, when Rose finally arrived at some point in 1962, this is after Jack had become elected president, Rosemary saw her and hit her.

Screamed at her. The St. Coletta's did provide really great care. They provided physical therapy. Different doctors and nurses worked with her so she was able to walk again. She could say a few words.

She could make her needs known to people. She hadn't lost her memory. She knew who she was and she knew who her family was. So when Rose walked in the door after 20 years, you can imagine the anger that had built up in her daughter.

Joe did not see her again. He had a stroke that left him unable to walk or talk in 1961, which seemed rather ironic to me. He died in 68 and then Rose started bringing Rosemary home to Hyannis Port where they had their summer home and their Palm Beach residence for a week's vacation, one in the winter and one in the summertime. The nuns would bring Rosemary and she would get to know her siblings all over again, who also started visiting her at St. Coletta's. And her nieces and nephews got to know their aunt and all of them loved her and adored her and she affected them too.

Some of them really have been committed to helping change the world for people with different types of abilities and disabilities. So she had a huge impact on that family. Rose lived with tremendous regret for the rest of her life. And Rosemary died in 2005 as a result of her atrophying muscles and her inability to eat by the time she was 86 years old. But there can be no denial that Rosemary's legacy really lives on in her siblings, not only because of legislation that was passed by her politician brothers, but Eunice with the Special Olympics. That's a direct line to Eunice growing up, being very close to Rosemary, helping to accommodate her disabilities. And then Jean, a youngest sister who established Very Special Arts, which is an arts program for people with intellectual and physical disabilities, still going strong today. Eunice, Kennedy Shriver's son, Anthony Shriver started Best Buddies, which is a program to match high school and college educated students with same age young people with intellectual disabilities. And that's going strong.

And there are other things that family members have done and have felt committed to. And it's a huge testament to Rosemary and the impact that she had personally on her siblings and her nieces and nephews who are carrying on her memory in their work. And a terrific job on the storytelling, editing and production by Greg Hengler and a special thanks to Kate Clifford Larson, author of Rosemary, the Hidden Kennedy Daughter. And what a tragic story this is, having to do that frontal lobotomy, thinking it was the best thing to do. And Joe Kennedy was not alone. The overuse of frontal lobotomies at the time. It was just tragic. Indeed, Tennessee Williams' greatest regret was authorizing and okaying the prefrontal lobotomy on his sister Rose.

And the story also of triumph in the end and Rosemary getting to know her siblings and in the end, the effect and impact Rosemary's life had on her siblings. Eunice, of course, leading the charge on the Special Olympics. And what a history lesson for all of us. We tell a lot of stories of how far America's come on the racial front, how far we've come on the gender front. And now we find out that, my goodness, what a different place this is for the disabled or people with special needs in this country.

The story of Rosemary Kennedy, the story of America itself as it relates to disabilities and the disabled here on Our American Stories. Everything is more expensive these days. With inflation rising, Medicare beneficiaries living on a fixed income are concerned about increasing costs. Make your Medicare dollars go further by picking the right plan. Start by looking for a plan that gives you more. For example, many Medicare Advantage plans include dental, vision, and hearing benefits, while original Medicare doesn't. Learn more about plan costs beyond premiums, such as deductibles, co-pays, and drug coverage. Find that right plan for you. Visit UHCmedicarehealthplans.com. And watch Friday, Saturday, and Monday too.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-23 04:34:23 / 2022-11-23 04:51:19 / 17

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