The Racine Journal-Times Sunday Bulletin from Racine, Wisconsin on July 4, 1965 · Page 39
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The Racine Journal-Times Sunday Bulletin from Racine, Wisconsin · Page 39

Racine, Wisconsin
Issue Date:
Sunday, July 4, 1965
Page 39
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Page 39 article text (OCR)

Flannel Package By FLORA RHETA SCHREIBER S&rge said yes, and soon he was oft to Chicago to become assistant general manager of the Merchandise Mart, then the world's largest commercial building. Kennedy had just bought it. _ But there were other Kennedy interests, and before long Sarge was in Washington assisting Eunice in her juvenile-delinquency work. He stayed 16 months. "Juvenile delinquency wasn't the only thing that kept me," he says. Eunic* and Sarge became familiar figures on the Washington social scene. But her capacity for hard work probably interested him as much as her beauty and her social grace. "I was greatly impressed to learn that she worked in a penitentiary," he recalls. "Some people belittled it by saying she was rich and could aiford to be charitable. But think of all the rich women who do nothing but develop neuroses." It took Shriver seven years to get Eunice to marry him. "It was hard to break through the Kennedy phalanx," he told me. "It seemed impenetrable. None of them was married at the time. The four sisters —Kathleen, Jean, Pat, and Eunice —did things together and wanted no outsider to break it up. After Eunice and I finally married in 1953, Jack promptly followed suit, and the others did so later. But I had to break through first. "If Eunice hadn't married me, she probably never would have married ; we have great respect for the single life of dedication. I pity childless couples, though. Their lives are so empty." Today, at Timberlawn, the Shriver farm near Rockville, Md., it is a familiar sight to see Sarge walking with his five-year-old son Timmy or playing on the lawn with Bobby, 10; Maria, 9; or Mark, 1 (Eunice Shriver expects another baby this month). The Shrivers enjoy a marriage of equal partnership—a free-wheel-, ing relationship in which the wife is no clinging vine. "Eunice," Sarge told me, "is the most strong-minded, intelligent woman I know. She has the same kind of critical mind that her father has and her brother Jack had. She also is the closest you'll ever come to seeing Jack again. She has Eunice and Sargent Shriver show their youngest, Mark, to the other children: Robert, left; Maria; and Timothy. Eunice expects another child soon the same facial bone structure, the same gestures, the same voice rhythms, even the same sense of humor and restless energy." For Sarge, Eunice and the children are his main contact with warmth and affection. Shortly after President Kennedy's assassination, he told a friend: "I'd rather be with my kids just now than with anybody in the world." When he comes home at night carrying two or three briefcases of work, the kids always grab him for a few minutes of roughhousing before he disappears into the library. But although they know their dad can be a lot of fun, they also know he can be a strict disciplinarian. When the roughhousing gets out of hand, Sarge will suddenly say, Thank you, we've had enough." And that's that. Sunday is Sarge's day for the family. The conversation at dinner is likely to range from how to get the children to drink their milk to the history of volunteer service in America. The youngsters always join in with-bright chatter. One day after young Bobby had refused to do a chore, Sarge began a lecture with "When I was your age, I used to . . ." But be­ fore he could finish, his son countered : "When Uncle Jack was your age, he was President!" Marriagie ta a Kennedy brought Sarge quickly into the political arena. He worked full-time for JFK in the 1960 presidential campaign and was of great importance in recruiting such talented men as Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. It was not until January, 1961, however, that he himself received ah appointment—as the man detailed to organize the Peace Corps, a program that Washington pundits predicted would be a fiasco. Sarge expected JFK to help launch the Corps, but the President told him: "It's your baby." Shriver went to Congress on his own, introduced himself, and almost singlehandedly sold his idea to the legislators. It was almost as if the President wanted to test Sarge to see how he would make out without the assistance of the White House. A good deal later, Eunice was visiting the President, and he asked: "How is Sargent getting along with the Peace Corps?" "Fine," she replied. "No thanks to you." JFK burst into a grin. Like John Kennedy, Shriver enjoys getting on with a job and bridles at criticism (his war- on-poverty program has had more than its share of this). But like Kennedy, he has learned patience. The President's death seems to have changed him in this way. When news of the assassination reached Washington, Shriver was placed in charge of the funeral arrangements. He tackled the job, determined that everything would be in impeccable taste. He stayed up through the day and night.of Nov. 22, overseeing every detail. He even went to the trouble of having the White House electricians line both sides of the road leading up to the front door with lights. When Jacqueline Kennedy returned from Dallas, he wanted everything to seem warm, not cold. "You've had no sleep, Sargent," warned his mother, who had come to Washington immediately upon hearing the news. "You must promise me to get some sleep," Sarge nodded, but as he worked through the night and the next day, he brooded over the Presidenfis death and God's purpose. Finally as the funeral cortege wound its way toward Arlington Cemetery and Shriver's last chores were fin- Sargent Shriver and his youngsters kneel at the grave of John Kennedy. ished, he resigned himself to the bitter irony of Jack Kennedy's life and death. "You work as hard as you can, and then you have to have faith," says Sargent Shriver today. "I've been so lucky. And those who have must give." Shriver, a man of great gifts, is determined to share them. Family Weekly, July 4,1965

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