The children, Oppenheimer writes, were afterthoughts. Bobby, the third-eldest, was a sensitive boy who turned to animals for company. “It was incredible,” a former nanny told Oppenheimer. Bobby wasn’t even 15 and was already using drugs heavily. Only her dead husband, his legacy and her privilege as a Kennedy widow existed.
“There wasn’t anybody to say, ‘Don’t do that.’ It was hard to control them.” Ethel was 40 and three months pregnant with her last child, daughter Rory, when her husband was assassinated. was 14, and one week after his father’s funeral, the family celebrated his brother’s 13th birthday. He insisted each school allow his pet falcon to stay in his room. Nothing Bobby did got her attention for long, and that attention was usually negative.
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Kennedy, Douglas Harriman Kennedy, Kerry Kennedy, Rory Kennedy, Michael Le Moyne Kennedy, David Kennedy, Joseph P.
She just gave her life over to them.” They married in June 1950, and by July 1951, their first child, Kathleen, was born.
Ethel spent much of the decade pregnant, but that didn’t stop her from traveling extensively with Bobby in pursuit of his political future. “Her moods could swing drastically,” Oppenheimer writes, and soon after, she “literally beat Bobby with a hairbrush.” Unable to cope with her grief — let alone her children’s — Ethel shipped Bobby off to a series of boarding schools, each less prestigious than the last, each forced to expel the namesake son of a martyred political icon.
The dogs pooped under the table during dinner parties. Kennedy, who tried to cover up the mess with her foot,” Fell told Oppenheimer.
“But everyone could smell it.” Yet Ethel could be abusive when it came to her kids’ messiness, according to the 1984 People article.
She was content to be the other Kennedy widow, the domesticated antidote to the glamorous, globe-trotting Jackie. and the Dark Side of the Dream,” author Jerry Oppenheimer delves into Bobby’s upbringing — or lack thereof — to understand why the scion of our greatest political family has never accomplished much.