50 Years After the Death of John F. Kennedy | A Hometown Remembers
A former Hyannis Port resident and longtime friend of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, McKeag lives in South Carver.
“In 1974 I was on my honeymoon in Europe. Before I left, a friend of mine had told me that the Italians loved John Kennedy. I had saved all these Kennedy half-dollars, so I threw a bunch into my bag, thinking we might meet some people who would get a kick out of them.
“We were in this little fishing village outside Naples, on the beach. One night we ended up at this party, and when people found out we were Americans, we got invited to all these homes. The first house we go into, there’s a picture of the pope on one wall and John Kennedy on the other. We go to another house, same thing. The next house, it’s the same. So now I remember those half-dollars. I went back to our room and grabbed a handful and brought them back for the wives. I’m telling you, when I gave them those [coins], they cried and cried, and just held them tight. You’d have thought I’d given them a million dollars.
“Years later, my neighbors told me how Rose Kennedy used to walk uphill to the golf course and walk the nine holes. Sometimes she’d play. Every now and then a car with tourists would pull up. They’d say, ‘Mrs. Kennedy, how are you?’ And if she liked them, she’d say, ‘Would you like to see where the President spent his summers as a young man and then as president?’ And she’d take them down to the house and give them a tour. Isn’t that amazing?”