Theodore's World: Her Name Was Rosemary and She Was Ted's Sister

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August 27, 2009

Her Name Was Rosemary and She Was Ted's Sister

She was born in September 13th, 1918, her name was Rose Marie Kennedy, but she became known as “Rosemary".

In his book, “The Kennedy Women,” Lawrence Leamer describes her as “painfully slow… a pretty child with green eyes that peered out on life directly.”
Leamer: “As Rosemary grew into a teenager she desperately wanted praise. She was happy for hours with a mere scrap of approval, and forlorn and discouraged at the hint of criticism…. Rosemary was slow, but she was not stupid and sometimes she would erupt in an inexplicable fury, the rage pouring out of her like a tempest from a cloudless sky.”

Perhaps she was angry at being treated as if she were somehow inferior to her siblings. At most, Rosemary was “mildly retarded,” as her obituaries would one day describe her.

Shortly before World War II broke out in Europe, FDR appointed Joe Kennedy as ambassador to the Court of St. James – at the time the most important diplomatic post any American could hold. Joe of course moved to London, along with Rose and his two oldest daughters – Rosemary and Kathleen. As the American ambassador, Joe and his family would move in the highest circles of British society. And a decision was made: both daughters, the charming and brilliant Kathleen, and the “slow” Rosemary, would be “presented” to the King and Queen at Buckingham Palace.
Rosemary spent endless hours practicing her curtseying – the bow she would have to make to the King and Queen. On the appointed evening, with the cream of British nobility (and the press) watching, Kathleen and Rosemary were presented. Everything went off without a hitch, until the very end.
“Suddenly,” Leamer wrote, “just as Rosemary was attempting to glide off, she tripped, nearly falling. It was a debutante’s worst horror, at the most important social moment of her life, in front of the king and queen, to make a public spectacle of her awkwardness, her ineptness. The kind and queen smiled as if nothing had happened, and there was not even a murmur from the assembly, and indeed, it was all over in a few seconds. Rosemary recovered and followed Kathleen out the door.”

But although no one ever mentioned when Rosemary triopped, her family took it as an embarassment.

Increasingly, the problem was simply that Rosemary was too good-looking, even more striking than Kathleen, who was herself a knock-out. As long as older brothers Joe Jr. and Jack had been around, to arrange her dance card and to scare off the potential suitors “who took her cryptic silences and deliberate speech as feminine demureness,” she was okay. Later, in London she was often squired to social events by a young Embassy employee named, of all things, “Jack Kennedy,” who became known as “London Jack,” to distinguish him from JFK.

But as war clouds gathered, and Joe was recalled to the U.S. after his disastrous pro-Hitler remarks to the Boston Herald, Joe, Jr. and Jack joined the Navy. There was no one left to escort Rosemary. She was packed off to a Washington convent, which she quickly figured out how to escape from.

“At night she walked out into the dark streets looking for the light and life of the city… The family feared that she was going out into the streets to do what Kathleen called ‘the thing the priest says not to do.’… There was a dread fear of pregnancy, disease and disgrace.”

Joe Kennedy began talking to a quack physician from George Washington University named Walter Freeman, who was experimenting with a new form of brain surgery that would come to be known as a pre-frontal lobotomy. He sold Joe Kennedy a bill of goods – the biggest drawback for a female patient, Freeman wrote, was the fact that her head would have to be partially shaved, preventing her from going out socially for several weeks. Joe Kennedy had it done while his wife was out of the country. She knew nolthing about it till she returned home.

Not everything in the family was convinced, though. Kathleen Kennedy sought out a reporter friend of hers who had done research into the new procedure. The reporter told Kathleen that the whole procedure was “just not good” and that post-lobotomy, the patients “don’t worry so much, but they’re gone as a person, just gone.”

Freeman and his associate drilled a hole in her skull and inserted a sort of spatula into her brain and began digging. They asked her to sing simple songs and perform basic addition and subtraction. As long as she could recite the doggerel, and handle third-grade arithmetic, they kept digging. Finally, though, Rosemary Kennedy fell silent, and the operation was over.

And so, for all practical purposes, was Rosemary Kennedy’s life.


“She had regressed into an infant like state,” Leamer wrote, “mumbling a few words, sitting for hours staring at the walls, only traces left of the young woman she had been, still with flashes of rage. This was a horror beyond horror, an unthinkable, unspeakable disaster. Rose and her children had repressed so much, and now they repressed what Joe had done to his daughter, repressed it all and pretended that it had never happened and that Rosemary no longer existed.”

She lived in a series of private institutions, including years in the Craig House, a private hospital north of New York City. In the 1970’s, she somehow escaped once more, from a Midwestern psychiatric home, into the streets of Chicago. The wire services carried photos of her in a wheelchair, being hustled into an ambulance by Chicago cops.

But Rosemary’s story, so horrifying in its casual, callous brutality, was never forgotten by millions of Americans, and certainly not by any members of the Kennedy family. In the late 1970s, Bobby’s doomed son, David, was reading a copy of the pro-drug magazine High Times when he came across a story on lobotomies. Naturally enough, one of the illustrations was a photo of his beautiful aunt Rosemary, pre-lobotomy.

“She had a new pair of white shoes on,” David recalled later for the authors Peter Collier and David Horowitz. “The thought crossed my mind that if my grandfather was alive the same thing could have happened to me that happened to her. She was an embarrassment; I am an embarrassment. She was a hindrance; I am a hindrance. As I looked at this picture, I began to hate my grandfather and all of them for having done the thing they had done to her and for doing the thing they were doing to me.”

David died of a drug overdose in 1984. His aunt ( Rose Marie Kennedy) outlived him by almost 21 years, finally dying in January 2005 in Fort Atkinson, WI, where she had been institutionalized for more than a quarter century. She was 86.

The evidence from documents written in Rosemary's hand, and from contemporaries outside the family, suggests that she was probably not clinically retarded. She happened to have slightly subnormal cognitive abilities -- within one of the most competitive families.

Joe Sr., concerned with the family's moral reputation and Rosemary's possible vulnerability to fortune-hunters, decided that a lobotomy was the answer. Contrary to the implications of Eunice's story, he seems to have regarded this as an alternative to institutionalization. Ignoring widespread Catholic and secular opposition, he doctor-shopped until he found someone willing to perform the still-experimental psychosurgery.


Wild Thing's comment......

This just rips at a person's heart how they did this to this young women. One can just see the Dad, Joe Kennedy on his search for a doctor that would do such a thing to a person that truly did not need it done. I would be willing to bet that the other doctors he spoke with were shocked at what he ( Joe ) wanted done.

It is an evil family and an evil health care bill no wonder Kennedy has been pushing for a socialized medicine bill for a long time. If he was a better man and with the experience he has had in his own family, what they did to his sister, he should be the opposite, he should be against the pro death parts of the bill at least and demand they be taken out. But he wanted it in there obviously.

Washington, DC. yesterday, Aug. 26th, Senator Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., issued the following statement upon learning of the passing of his dear friend Senator Ted Kennedy:

" In Ted Kennedy's honor and as a tribute to his commitment to his ideals, let us stop the shouting and name calling and have a civilized debate on health care reform which I hope, when legislation has been signed into law, will bear his name for his commitment to insuring the health of every American.”

On Rush Limbaugh's show on March 9, 2009. He was discussing the death care bill . Rush Limbaugh predicted this and the Dems were terribly upset about it at the time.

“Before it’s all over, it’ll be called the Ted Kennedy Memorial Healthcare bill,” Limbaugh said on his show.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee quickly launched a petition drive urging Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele to denounce Limbaugh.

It doesn't matter what they name the bill, no mater what it is it needs to be thrown out for good and never again suggest socialized medicine in our country. There are so many other ways to fix things with medical care and insurance companies that would have nothing to do with government involvement, and this bill is not the answer.

Posted by Wild Thing at August 27, 2009 06:50 AM


What the Kennedys did to Rosemary was unthinkable, disgusting, horrible. So she was a little slow-so what? Every family has their bright spots, slow pokes, challenged, rebels, etc. That poor young girl never had a chance for her moment to shine like the other kids had. Just looking at her, I would have been friends with her. Intelligence is not the most important thing in being pals with someone. She had the warmest heart of the Kennedy clan and Joe took that from her. He turned her into something she wasn't--a cripple and a burden. So she tripped at her coming out party, big whoopie doo. You laugh it off. It happens, even to Miss USA, who fell on her butt in Mexico! Not a big deal.

Posted by: Lynn at August 27, 2009 08:14 AM

This whole procedure was barbaric and most of the time unnecessary. It makes you wonder what kind of demented bastard would do something like this to his own daughter. This whole family is like this

"IN 1945 The Freeman-Watts prefrontal lobotomy still required drilling holes in the scalp, so surgery had to be performed in an operating room by trained neurosurgeons. Freeman wanted to simplify the procedure so that it could be carried out by psychiatrists in mental asylums

Inspired by the work of Italian psychiatrist Amarro Fiamberti, Freeman at some point conceived of approaching the frontal lobes through the eye sockets instead of through drilled holes in the skull. In 1945 he took an icepick from his own kitchen and began testing the idea on cadavers. This new "transorbital" lobotomy involved lifting the upper eyelid and placing the point of a thin surgical instrument at the top of the eye socket. A mallet was used to drive the ice pick through the thin layer of bone and into the brain. The ice pick was then swept from side to side, thus severing the nerve fibers connecting the frontal lobes to the thalamus. The ice pick was then withdrawn, and the procedure repeated on the other side."

This is what Joe Kennedy wanted for his daughter. This will be the typical care we will get from the government if this bill is allowed to proceed.

Freeman and Holdren(Obama's pseudo-Science Czar) are two peas in a pod, same philosophy, get rid of the burdens on society, the weak, Sick. the infirmed and the Elderly. This slippery slope can only lead to worse atrocities.

We must stop this madness.

Posted by: Mark at August 27, 2009 08:39 AM

"Joe always found great favor in Hitler. He would have loved to see him succeed."- Morton Downey Jr

Doesn't seem like the offspring fell too far from the family tree. One look at the grandchildren of John, Robert and Edward reflect their upbringing and their undying scorn for all things American. They revere the likes of Hugo Chavez, they've supported the blatant terrorism of the IRA and now are behind their new Hitler icon - Obama.

"- In 1917, with World War I already in progress, the United States government announced that young men would be drafted into military service, and that draft resisters would be executed. Although most of Joe's friends from Harvard had already volunteered to serve, Joe had no intention of fighting.- Joe had already been placed in Class 1 and was subject to immediate call-up, when his father-in-law, Mayor Fitzgerald, acquired a job for him at the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation in Quincy, Massachusetts. Although Joe knew nothing about shipbuilding, he was made general manager, a job which effectively kept him out of the war. Daniel Strohmeier, vice president of Bethlehem Steel, said, "Joe was accommodated to skip the draft during World War I because of a lot of pressure from his father-in-law."- Seven months after the armistice was signed to end World War I, Joe left the shipyard. Having avoided the draft, he had no more need to work there."

"- On January 29, 1919, the Eighteenth Amendment was ratified. It prohibited the manufacture, sale, transportation, or importation of "intoxicating liquors" for "beverage purposes." For Joe, the law represented an opportunity to make huge profits.- He formed alliances with crime bosses in major markets, among them Boston, New York, Chicago, and New Orleans. These would come in handy years later when his son was running for national office. Among his mob associates was Frank Costello, former boss of the Luciano crime family, who bragged, "I helped Joe Kennedy get rich." Sam Giancana, who would later figure prominently in Jack's presidency, called Joe "one of the biggest crooks who ever lived."- Joe bought liquor from overseas distillers and supplied it to organized crime syndicates that picked up the liquor on the shore. Frank Costello would later confirm that Joe had approached him for help in smuggling liquor. Joe would have the liquor dumped at a so-called Rum Row - a transshipment point where police were paid to look the other way - and Costello and other mobsters would then take over. They distributed the liquor, fixed the prices, established quotas, and paid off law enforcement and politicians. They enforced their own law with machine guns, usually calling on experts who did bloody hits on contract."

"-Joe Kennedy's oldest son, Joe Jr, absorbed his father's virulent anti-Semitism. During a break from school in 1934, Joe Jr traveled to Germany. By then, public eating facilities, theaters, and shops in Germany displayed signs saying "Jews Not Welcome." Jewish mothers could not buy milk for their infants. Jews who were sick could not obtain prescriptions.- Joe Jr wrote to his father that Hitler had taken advantage of a widespread dislike of the Jews, a dislike which was "well-founded." He told his father that Hitler was "building a spirit in his men that could be envied in any country." The brutality, bloodshed, and marching were necessary, he said, and the sterilization law was a "good thing." "I don't know how the church feels about it but it will do away with many of the disgusting specimens of men who inhabit this earth," Joe Jr wrote."

" To be sure, anti-Semitism in the United States at the time, particularly in Boston, was not uncommon. But while many were passively anti-Semitic, Joe Kennedy was rabidly so. Repeatedly and aggressively, he attacked the Jews, even suggesting to his son Jack that he incorporate a campaign against the Jews as part of his political platform."

The above is from a website that has gone by the wayside or has been removed by our foes.

I agree with Lynn and Mark, there is something horrible ingrained in the entire family.

Posted by: Jack at August 27, 2009 09:51 AM

I always thought it odd that Jackie would take up with Aristotle Onassis. But the more you learn about the family, the more you understand that Jackie would look to divorce herself from the Kennedy's as much as she could. Rose Marie, MaryJo Kopechne, Marilyn Monroe. They seem to leave a trail of tragedy.

Posted by: Jim at August 27, 2009 10:20 AM

Money does not buy class.
Can't wait for the Muslim's eulogy.
Do they allow Teleprompters in The Cathedral? Better yet. Why are they holding the service for a Pro-Abortion,Philandrer in a Cathedral?

Posted by: SEAN. at August 27, 2009 12:13 PM

Joe's love in all it's 'glory'...... Love of MONEY, POWER, and STATUS.....oh and then MAYBE his kids........fucking disgraceful. Being a history buff, with a major focus on the Vietnam War, I have often wondered what we'd be like through the decades since JFK's death if Lee Harvey Oswald had missed...(alternative history conjecture et al).... and how the war would have played out... also, how his personal social policies might have developed. I was 6 months old when it happened. Although I read his biograpghy when I was a kid, I don't know enough about his deeper politics , I do know that the country was profoundly changed on the December day in Dallas. That said, we know what a piece of work (shit) Teddy was......

Posted by: pontiff alex at August 27, 2009 03:02 PM

There is nothing remotely kind that I can say about the entire Kennedy clan. Thank God they are finally disappearing.

Posted by: Eddie (Locked & Loaded) at August 27, 2009 03:57 PM

Hey do you think they will let the Skekles out of jail to go to the funeral ?

Posted by: Mark at August 27, 2009 07:13 PM

pontiff alex-- Think how much history would have changed had "Landslide Lyndon" not been able to phony up enough votes to win his first run at U.S. Senator.

Do you think any of the Kopechnes will be at the funeral?

Posted by: Rick at August 28, 2009 01:13 AM

I would think the Kopechnes would have had to forgive Tedward in some way long ago or risk losing their marbles, but this has to have felt like a relief to them knowing that he's no longer sucking air.

Just these two acts alone, against Rosemary and Mary Jo, were enough for me to long ago think WTF? is the big deal about these people? Especially after you dig past the media fluff on their real records.

Posted by: Eden at August 28, 2009 06:53 AM