I met Uncle Teddy twice. At least that is what I remember. When I tried to track down the dates, and confirm that I was not fabricating anything, I found little to support my memories. First, I know I went to the funeral, in Dorchester, for his brother, the non-famous one, whose name I cannot find anywhere. There were three brothers: Teddy, the journalist; Robert, the scientist; and some dead guy I went to mourn with my ex-husband a life-time ago. Teddy’s obituary references Robert. Robert’s references Teddy. The third brother, the one I mourned that miserable day in Boston, died first and is not mentioned. So I say I met Teddy at a funeral that I cannot confirm for a brother I cannot name on a date I do not recall. Teddy spoke at the funeral, of that I’m sure.
The second meeting, in the spring of 1982, was at an engagement party before my first wedding. Mavis and Bob threw the party for their fancy Washington friends and family, who could not be bothered to attend the actual wedding in the outback of upstate New York. I know I had at least a passing conversation with the famous man, after all I was supposedly one of the celebrated engaged people, but I don’t remember anything about it. I wore a typical 1980s dress with poofed sleeves, made from a lovely silk madras plaid. Teal, silver, and fuchsia. Years later I donated it to a community theatre for their costuming department.
And there was a summer week, during one year of our brief marriage, when my ex-husband and I vacationed at Uncle Teddy’s cottage in Fire Island. The mosquitoes were horrific, the cottage was basic, and I thought that we’d vacation there again someday, and be better prepared for the whole experience. We never did. Teddy died suddenly of a stroke, and the cousins were not inclined to offer.
So why then, do I have this book on my shelves? I’ve never read it; and doubt that I will suddenly want to understand the presidential election of 1960. Why didn’t my ex grab it up, and claim family privilege? Today, on a lark, I checked to see if it was worth anything on the used book market: it’s worth less than it cost when published, even with the pristine book jacket and the slipcover. Oh, dear Uncle Teddy, what will I do with you now?