I am so happy my mother was able to campaign for me in my first race for public office when I ran for City Council in 2004. She loved campaigning here. Door to door, the phone bank, the events. She called them all “teas” because that’s what they called them in Boston in the ‘40s and ‘50s when her brother Jack ran for Congress and in the ‘20s when her grandfather John Fitzgerald (known to one and all as “Honey Fitz”) ran (and won) for mayor of Boston.
I tried to tell her that we called them coffees; it did not work. Santa Monica was going to have teas, no matter what!
And we were gong to have a lot of signs. I think that was her favorite part: ringing doorbells and asking people to put up signs. After she had finished a particular area, she would make me come with her to review the results. She liked to point out the people who had refused, and she remembered their reasoning.
She briefed me and then waited in the car while I went to ring their doorbell and tried to change their minds.
“You need every vote,” she said with absolutely no humor in her voice.
In general, people were not amused to have a second Shriver at their door. Ouch!
And she had no humor in her voice when, at one “tea” she told Councilmember Bob Holbrook he should run for the U.S. Senate. Bob, charmed by the thought, replied that he would need her to be his mother before he could win.
“Well then,” she said. “I will adopt you.”
She really liked Bob and his smart wife Jean Ann and could not understand why he had not run for the Senate.
“He’d be good,” she said to me.
Bob persisted in trying to get her to follow through on the adoption idea.
I hate to think what might have happened if she had not gotten sick shortly after the election!
Yet even after she was sick, she would always ask me what I was doing on the issues. She chastised me more than once for not “getting it done” for homeless veterans. She called their situation a “damn outrage” and threatened to start calling people herself. She was happy when special ed parents won their rights but, naturally, asked me to do more. She was “very cross” that the Santa Monica Bay water was not clean and that I had done “nothing” about it.
Finally, I told her to call Bob Holbrook.
I think she did so. I am not kidding!
She knew I loved Santa Monica and that I had found my home here. She felt grateful to the people of the city for welcoming me.
Bobby Shriver is a Santa Monica City Councilman. His mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, passed away Tuesday.